Toni:

Thank you so much for taking my phone call this morning. My husband and I signed up in December 2016 for Medicare Part B with the understanding that once I retired I had 60 days to obtain supplemental insurance.  I just happened on your Medicare article in the Ft. Bend Sun regarding the two gentlemen who had been on Medicare Part B longer than 6 months having a hard time finding a Medicare Supplement due to pre-existing conditions. 

Boy did that send both of us into a tailspin! To make a long story short, I contacted Social Security this past Friday and had two different agents give me different answers. More stress!! I did research over the weekend on Medicare.gov…and still not completely clear on things.  I called SS early this morning and again the agent, told me she didn’t know a thing about when Open Enrollment was, or started, etc., and told me to contact Medicare.  

I then called Medicare immediately and that agent told me, we should get a Medicare supplement before the end of May so that we would not be penalized or rejected and/or not able to enroll at a later date.  She stated I could have both insurances at the same time: health insurance with my company, and “B” and a supplemental.  And that it was better to have a supplemental in place since I was unsure on an exact retirement date. What a mess! 

I am 66 and my husband is 69.  We are in good health, except for breast cancer that I had a few years ago, but I do not take any medications.

Thank you,

Sarah from Richmond.

 

Sarah:

America needs to understand that a Social Security representatives knows how to enroll one in a timely manner in Medicare and how to receive ones Social Security benefits.

Social Security does NOT know the specific underwriting guidelines or applying rules on various Medicare plans such as Medicare Supplements.

What the Social Security rep was describing is when leaving employer health benefits one has a 63-day window to enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.  If your employer group health plan has creditable prescription coverage, then you can avoid the Part D penalty by enrolling in a Medicare Part D plan within 63 days, not 60 days of losing employer health benefits.

Sarah, you and your husband have a special 6 month “Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment” window which began December 1, 2016 and ends May 31, 2017 to apply for whichever Medicare Supplement plan or insurance company you want without having to answer one health question.

Last week at the Toni Says office, we enrolled a 72-year-old and his wife into a Medicare Supplement Plan G without answering one health question because their Medicare Part B was beginning May 1st. His employer’s health plan had a $3,000 deductible and the premium for him and his wife was over $1200 a month.  They will be saving over $800 per month including their Part B monthly premiums and have a $183 medical deductible. He is part of a small group health plan (under 50 employees) and the affordable healthcare reform has raised the company premiums off the charts.

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