I have been on Medicare since 2001. Since joining there have been some interesting developments. (Those on Medicare will "get" this, those of you that will someday be there, take notice.)
The first development was the addition of "Plan D" which is the medication plan. So there was Plan A, which all get for no cost, Plan B (supplements Plan A), which costs a minimal amount and is taken from social security, and then Plan D, which also costs and can also be taken from SS. When going on to Medicare one MUST sign up for the other "plans" immediately. If you try to sign up later it will cost you big time, if they will even let you on. (Believe me, Plan A covers less than nothing.) Most of the insurance carriers jumped on the Plan D thing and offered their services at varying costs. I jumped on a plan that was then the least expensive.
Every year the cost of the additional plans go up. My Plan D went from something like $14 to $38/month. Yesterday I got a flyer from the carrier of my Plan D. I had also seen ads on TV and was real curious. They offered what is now called "Plan C" for a monthly premiums between $49 and $79. This would also cover plan D. Basically I would get added help on Co-pays and out of pocket expenses for only $10 more than the Plan D that I have. I found this to be very exciting, and while sitting on the ferry began to check into it via phone. I have a couple of doctors that I am unwilling to give up, so my research carried me into the evening. I found the doctor's would not take that carrier's insurance. But they DID list the companies that they accepted. After another hour of research (I LOVE HAVING A COMPUTER) I found something very interesting. There were two companies that carried a similar "program' which would also absorb the former Plan D. However, they would take over for $0/month. That is right: $0. It is now 7pm and I have exactly one hour to get a representative and figure this out. Enter "Juan." My first question? "What the heck?" It seems this new "Plan C" is a fee for service thing...which is no big change. Next question? "What is in it for the companies, that they offer this for NOTHING, NADA, ZIP?" It seems that the companies get paid for each person that they sign up. While I still don't get it, it is truly free. Now I am a bit PO'd over my soon to be past Plan D carrier, who started out the least expensive and now is one of the most expensive. They wanted to get more bucks from me cleverly disguising their ploy with what I thought was incredibly cheap "Plan C" which ran only $10 over what I was already giving them. (Have I mentioned that I really love my computer?) It can be so confusing and I know that these shyster companies really count on folks just throwing their arms in the air and giving up. I basically have done the same by leaving my Plan D with the company I signed with originally. Each year there is a period of three months where we can all change companies or sign up for different coverages. That period closes back down on the last day of March.
So, that shyster company who spent the bucks to send the flyer to all of its contacts actually did me a huge favor. My eyes are now wide open, and I am bagging their services as of 4/1. I will actually be getting an "extra" amount on my Social Security because I won't have to fork out a premium for Plan D anymore; the government pays it through this Plan C thing. So, thanks, soon to be former carrier. I learned a lesson. I will figure in a few days at the beginning of each year to check on my "investment in my self." Most plans are available for study via computer.
I sure do love my computer...
Wow, you were telling me about this on the phone yesterday, but I didn't get it like I do now! I hope your post helps other people who are confused on this medicare thing, and I'm really glad I will have my medicare expert handy when I start using it :)