Best "part B" medcare plan

victory_tea2085October 10, 2012

I am 65 now and need to enroll in a medicare part B plan. My wife's family insurance will cover the cost of the premium for me, so i would like to get the best plan I can. I do not need prescription coverage. I am in fairly good health now but who knows what the future will bring. Please advise as to which insurer to go with. A few of my friends have Humana and like it. Let me know what you think- Paul

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Part B is not something you choose, it just is, unless you opt out with a Medicare Advantage program, which have their own problems, depending on where you live. Medicare part B will come out of your social security check or if you are not collecting SS, you'll get a bill. Are you talking about a Medicare Supplemental insurance plan that covers all or part of what Medicare does not cover? Those plans are sold by private companies like Humana. You don't choose the company first, choose your plan (A, B, etc, F is the best most-inclusive plan) and then shop companies for price. Not all plans are available everywhere.

And yes, you DO want to get a Medicare part D plan now. Perhaps you don't need medications today, but if you ever do, you will pay a premium penalty for not getting the insurance now. Get the cheapest plan (one with a good-sized deductible) now, but you're pound foolish to not get it now. I recommend that you call your local Area Agency on Aging program and ask about HICAP insurance and get a free consultation to clear up your misunderstanding of Medicare plans and supplemental plans.

Also check out I'd link it, but it seems to be down at the moment.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 1:42PM
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I forgot, you can also opt out of Medicare Part B if you are covered by an employee/company plan. My husband and I are still on his company insurance, for example.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 1:44PM
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My wife's company plan does cover me but (now that I,m 65 ) require that I get part b and they will pick up the tab. My wife's company plan also covers my medication- so do I need to enroll in medicare med plan? Paul

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 1:53PM
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You will automatically be enrolled in Part B, and sent a bill if you are not collecting SS yet.

OK, if your wife's plan covers you, but says that you must enroll in Part B, then I doubt you are covered. They're just offering to reimburse you. Yes, in that case, you will need a Rx plan, too.

I really suggest that you locate a local Area Agency on Aging and get HICAP counseling. You are telling me two different things, so I assume that you are not clear on what you need. AAA (maybe a slightly different name in other areas) is federally funded, and should be available everywhere. Google your county plus Area Agency on Aging.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 9:12PM
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How am I telling you 2 different things- just curious?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 10:16PM
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You are assuming that you are covered by your wife's employment policy when it appears to me that you are just being reimbursed for the costs. Which means that you are not covered by her policy. You need to get straight on that first of all, and then understand the various components of Medicare, the rules applying to each, supplemental plans, and costs of all.

Here is a link that might be useful: Medicare website

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 12:56AM
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thanks for your time and recommendations ,sushipup, I will follow your advice and pursue much more info- THANKS- Paul

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 2:49PM
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Good luck. It isn't easy and certainly not simple. But it's worthwhile to get up to speed and not make any mistakes now that can be expensive later.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 6:11PM
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"Part B is not something you choose, it just is"

Wrong. Medcare Part B is not mandatory, contrary to misinformation widely spread on the internet. In fact, the federal government does not mandate anyone enroll in Medicare at all, although many employers require their employees (and spouses) who are 65 and older to enroll in both part A (which is free) and part B (which is government-subsidized but carries a fee) because it lowers the employer's insurance costs.

And you don't have to "opt out" of part B. The Medicare application only asks you to check a box if you want to have it.

I suggest, victory tea, that you consult your wife's employer's benefits manager for advice on which Part B plan would work out best for you. You should also be able to find out whether you need to sign up for a part D prescription plan. It may be that the employer's insurance will continue to provide prescription coverage for you. In that case, you won't need to sign up for part D as long as that coverage continues.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 3:43PM
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To be clear: in "original" medicare, Part A is hospitals. Part B is doctors, Part D is drugs. (Part C is a medicare advantage plan, essentially an HMO that includes all 3.)

By a Part B plan, I believe you mean a supplement that pays for the 20% of doctors fees and the 20% of hospital fees medicare does not pay. Medicare only pays 80%. Right?

If you go with original medicare and don't want drugs, it's ok. Then you sign up for original medicare Parts A& B. But...if you don't sign up for a drug plan when you first enroll, and need one in the middle of the year you will be stuck paying full price for prescriptions. After you first enroll, you can only sign up/change drug plans at the end of each year for the next year. Currently, the enrollment for that ends Dec 7. You can sign up for a drug plan that has 0 premium and 0 deductible. So if you don't use it you won't be charged.

You must have Medicare Part A&B in order to buy a supplement plan. Declining Part B can create a world of problems.

If you do nothing about Part B you will not get it. If you decide you want it more than 4 months after your eligibility date you cannot sign up for it before the following January then there is a 6 month wait and a penalty on the premiums.

Medical supplement plans vary from state to state. They are private insurance. You are lucky the cost will be covered by your wife's family!

You can research them in Then you call and get costs for the ones you like.

What's confusing is that supplements are also labeled A-M. F.ex. I have supplement F with Blue Cross. But there are more than 20 to choose from in my area and prices vary.

For reference google "your medicare benefits booklet." It is a pdf you can download that explains everything. I can't link it here (perhaps someone else can).

With medicare make no assumptions -- check, check and double check. They are very helpful when you call but I always call more than once to verify that I am getting the right information.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 5:12PM
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Aren't there seminars all over the place right now given by the health insurance companies in everybody's areas? There are huge newspaper ads listing dates and locations here. I've gone to two of them this year--for the two main companies here. A lot of review but also a good way to learn what has changed and tips to figure your best options depending on health & lifestyle.

Each company offers several different plans and the plans and prices are specific to your location.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 7:30PM
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breebthumb, don't confuse Medicare Part B with either Medicare "C" (Medicare Advantage plans or HMOs) or Medicare supplement plans. Those two and Medicare Part D are offered by insurance companies. Medicare Part B is only a government plan and insurance companies are not involved. Again, if you sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, that replaces your Part B plan.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 12:12AM
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Medicare Part B isn't a plan. It's a Medicare coverage area -- doctors.

"Original" medicare includes Part A & B. You must enroll in both to get full coverage. Then you get a private insurance supplement which covers what medicare doesn't pay for in Parts A & B. Also, a prescription drug plan must be added, which is separate private insurance offered under the medicare umbrella. It's a mix n match system.

If you sign up for Medicare Advantage, which is an HMO essentially, that covers combines Part A (hospitals), Part B (doctors) and Part D (drugs) in one package. Advantage plans (Part C) are a one-stop shop and less costly because they are government subsidized to the tune of about $12K per year.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 8:13AM
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