That same agent also said all the plans you listed in your zip code on the Extend Health website might not be ALL the plans they can offer. It makes no sense to me why they would do that - maybe they are only putting the plans online that pay the most commissions? I am becoming paranoid about how this whole process is designed to befuddle us. There probably is a legitimate reason.
That confirms to me that you need to KNOW WHAT YOU WANT BEFORE YOU ENROLL. In addition to looking at what plans are offered in your zip code on the Extend Health website before your enrollment call you must do additional research.
- Go to www.medicare.gov on or after October 15 and find out what insurance companies sell medigap plans in your zip code by going to the top of the home page and clicking on supplementals and other plans. Decide what kind of medigap plan you want. Then call your local state agency (the state SHIP which can be found at www.shiptalk.org ) to find out what the insurance companies charge for those plans. Make a list of the insurance companies that sell the plan you want from cheapest to most expensive.
- Go to www.medicare.gov on or after October 15 and find out what insurance companies sell part D prescription drug plans in your zip code by going to the middle of the home page and clicking on plan finder. Enter your drugs and pharmacies and you will see a list of plans arranged from least expensive to most expensive. You also should look at the rules for pre-approval of the use of a drug such as what tier it is in (the higher the tier the higher the copay) and whether any of your drugs will require step therapy. That means try a cheaper drug first. Make a list of the plan names and the insurance companies that offer them you would buy in order from the most preferred plan to least preferred plan.
- If you want a Medicare Advantage plan do not do step 1 & 2 above as you have decided to not use the government insurance pool know as Original Medicare and instead use private insurance. I believe that the only kind of Medicare Advantage plan Extend Health is going to sell is one that includes prescription drugs. That is indicated by all their literature and in their briefings. Go to www.medicare.gov on or after October 15 and find out what insurance companies sell Medicare Advantage + drug plans in your zip code by going to the middle of the home page and clicking on plan finder. Look at the detail descriptions for the plans you like and make a list of the plan names and the insurance companies that offer them you would buy in order from the most preferred plan to the least preferred plan.
- When you call Extend Health for your enrollment TELL THE AGENT what you want generally and specifically! You and your spouse only have to enroll in a medical plan (medicare advantage or medigap supplemental) OR a part D prescription drug insurance plan to qualify for your HRA subsidy.