Wife Enrolls in TRS Medicare…
Husband Loses Retirement Benefits…Why?
My wife is a retired teacher and we are both on her TRS-Care Plan and also on my company retiree health insurance which I use for services at MD Anderson since I am undergoing cancer treatment.
I have just found out that I’ve lost my retiree health benefits because TRS enrolled both my wife and I in the TRS Medicare Advantage plan. This happened when my wife was enrolled into Medicare Parts A and B.
My wife did not read the complete package and had no idea that when she enrolled in Medicare that I would lose my retiree benefit because I was enrolled in her group health plan. I am also enrolled in Medicare.
I am enrolled in a clinical trial that will only work with “Original Medicare” which I had with my company retiree plan. Not the Medicare Advantage Plan which is what this TRS Aetna Medicare Advantage plan is.
What should we do?? Please give us some guidance. I am sure others readers of your column will have problems similar to ours. Thank you, Jack from Sugar Land, TX
Good Morning, Jack:
TRS Care has definitely had its share of challenges because of the changes from a couple of years ago to more than 10,000 TRS retired teachers that have both Medicare Parts A and B like you and your wife.
And once your wife was enrolled in both Medicare Parts A and B, you both were automatically enrolled in the TRS Aetna Medicare Advantage plan”.
Many company retiree health insurance plans are like your retiree plan and if you enroll in Medicare’s Advantage with Part D or a standalone Medicare Part D plan, then you can lose your company benefits, which is stated in company’s creditability benefits letters which go out every October.
I would advise your wife to call TRS-Care at either 1/800-367-3636 or 866/217-2409 to inform TRS that she needs to disenroll both enrollees from the TRS Medicare Advantage plan and return to the Original TRS-Care plan with Original Medicare because you (her husband) are a patient of MD Anderson.
Jack, you may need to disenroll from your wife’s TRS retiree health plan and simply remain on your own retirement benefits because you are receiving care from MD Anderson for cancer treatment.
I am almost positive that this is not the first time; TRS has heard a story like yours.
Also, I would also talk with the Employer retiree insurance plan, which you lost and explain your situation. Ask them how you can go back to your retiree plan and explain to them about this mistake.
In the past few weeks, I have had numerous readers that are retiring teachers come to the Toni Says office for a Medicare consultation to understand the difference of TRS Medicare plans in comparison to “Original Medicare with a Medicare Supplement and a standalone Medicare Part D plan or Medicare Part C plans.
TRS is making changes to their plan effective this September. The new information about 2016-17 TRS Retiree plans should have already been mailed to your wife.
Retiree Employer health plans have special advantages for those who are enrolled in Medicare and have expensive prescriptions or medical conditions because there is creditable prescription drug coverage. There is not the “famous” donut hole in retirement group health plans.
Confused about Medicare workshops are returning in August. For more information, call 832/519-TONI (8664).
Toni King, author of the new Medicare Survival Guide®, which is a simple guide that puts Medicare in “people” terms, is on sale at www.tonisays.com Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 832/519-TONI (8664).