Wednesday, October 9, 2013

IBM Medicare Part D insurance - What if you already have a part D plan ? UPDATE & CONFUSION

Written on 10/30/13 ----Correction to what was written on 10/9/13
I just got off the phone with a friend who tried to "enroll" in the same drug plan he already has.  He was told that he cannot do that because then Extend Health will not be the insurance agent on record and he will not be entitled to his HRA subsidy.  He talked to three different EH people and they all said the same thing.  He now has to pick a new drug plan because it is still better to do that then to buy an EH medigap plan which is substantially more expensive than what he can get on the open market.
Even though I asked an agent before I enrolled if we could use the same part D plans as we already had and then I asked the enrollment agent again when we enrolled if we could just reenroll in the same plan - they both are wrong.  I am told that our enrollment will be rejected.  Now, when will they tell us this?  Beats me.  I was going to just let it go until they caught it but am not sure that is a good idea.  I just spent a couple of hours trying to sort through our alternative choices.  None of which are great. 
So, I called Extend Health and asked them if we had a problem with our enrollment.  The Benefits Agent checked our status and insisted we are enrolled and there is no problem.  I haven't a clue what else to do but wait and see what happens.  This is insanity --- just insanity.

Written on 10/9/13
My spouse and I already have part D prescription drug insurance and want to keep the plans we have.  I looked on Extend Health's website and those plans are on the list.  So, my question to them was how does that work since we already have the plans. 
The agent told me the enrollment call will just consist of us telling them the part D insurance plans we have and they will modify our profiles showing we have those plans.  She said that will then give us access to our subsidies (we are both IBM retirees).  I sure hope she is right!  We only will buy medigap plans through EH if they offer the cheapest F high deductible plan available in our zip code.  I will be surprised if they do as it is not listed on their website.
A reminder - not all Medicare Advantage plans include drug insurance coverage (part D).  If there is a Medicare Advantage plan in your zip code that does not include part D but it is a plan you want for your coverage - the rule change allows you to just buy the part D plan through Extend Health to get your subsidy.
The only people who will be locked in to buying a medical plan from Extend Health are people who want a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage.  Then you must buy the plan through Extend Health.

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