I posted an entry earlier this week of a email I sent to Dr. Rhee complaining about being forced to buy a medical policy through Extend Health to get my subsidy. How could I have not realized that IBM was doing this for my own good because I would not have been able to figure out what insurance to buy all by myself. How wonderful that IBM still cares about me and that makes it so worthwhile for me to have to pay about $50/month more for my medigap insurance than if I could buy a plan in the open market. I feel so loved.
Here is Dr. Rhee's answer:
I want to respond to your letter regarding IBM’s announcement that Extend Health will provide you with new health plan options for 2014.
IBM decided to require retirees to enroll through the Medicare Exchange because we consider the benefit advisor important to helping retirees through this transition. For most retirees, a plan is available on the Medicare Exchange that delivers equal or better value than under the current IBM group plan options, at a lower cost. You may have chosen a plan that costs more, or you may be in one of the few areas of the country where plans are more costly. Previously, IBM used a “national” pricing strategy, meaning regardless of where a retiree lived, he or she paid the same amount for their IBM plan option.
Since you are not satisfied with the cost of the plans you've reviewed on the Extend Health website, I encourage you schedule an appointment with an Extend Health benefits advisor at 1-855-359-7380 to explore these options and to ensure there are no other plans or other suggestions that they may have for you that may meet your needs.
Thank you for your past contributions to IBM, and for writing.