Saturday, October 6, 2018

IBM Medicare Via Benefits OneExchange Extend Health Fall Open Enrollment 2019 choices

I have said several times in this blog that Via Benefits (aka Extend Health or OneExchange) does not sell all the Medicare plans available in your zip code.  I decided to take a look at how many plans were available in my zip code on as compared to the plans offered by Via Benefits for 2019:

Plan Type            zip code offerings         Via Benefit offerings

Prescription              23                                   15

Medicare                   28                                   21
 with Rx

Medicare                    6                                     0
without Rx

I made this chart to emphasize how important it is to look at all the plans available to buy as you might find a better plan in your zip code than in the subset of the plans offered by Via Benefits.  If it turns out that is true for a Medicare Advantage plan, I suggest you call Via Benefits and ask them how you can get an exception to buying a plan from them because their offerings are inadequate for your medical needs.

As I wrote in my last post, I did change to a Medicare Supplement (aka medigap) F high deductible (aka F-HD or F+) plan.  The K plan was okay but the maximum out of pocket protection in the case of a catastrophic illness was too high, particularly if I was incapacitated unable to switch to something better.  I am learning as I age that I have to make insurance choices as simple as possible even if it means paying a higher premium.
I also wanted to harp on the fact that there is more and more propaganda as regards pushing seniors to Medicare Advantage plans.  Now is doing it.  This past week I was counseling a client who complained that some of the doctors she uses would not take her Medicare Advantage plan but would accept Medicare.  When I asked her why she kept the plan, she said because the premium was cheaper than buying a part D and a medigap to use with original Medicare. For some reason, the out of pocket costs  she paid to the doctors who wouldn't take her plan were not part of her cost calculations!

I have written this a bunch of times, but feel it is worth writing again.  This is INSURANCE.  You are buying insurance coverage but you hope like hell you never need to use it.  You buy auto insurance in case you have an accident.  If you never have an accident, it doesn't mean the auto insurance wasn't worth buying.  It means you are lucky.  Ditto house insurance and fires.  Ditto health insurance!


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