"I wish I had talked to you sooner"Jan 11, 2021
I talk with many people every day about their Medicare situation.
In most situations, the people I talk with are about to go on Medicare so they still have the opportunity to choose a Medicare plan that will give them maximum access to the health care they may need now or in the future while having their costs paid 100 percent.
However, I often talk with people who are already on Medicare and who may not have realized the fact that bad Medicare choices can be permanent and irreversible.
Such a situation happened last week. A gentleman named Roger called me from Atlanta who had left regular Medicare when he turned 65 two years ago and enrolled in a private, for-profit Medicare Advantage plan from Humana.
He had recently experienced a health scare with his heart. Because Roger was proactive with his health, he was anxious to have whatever tests were available to learn the details of his heart condition. Roger told me he was willing to take any actions necessary to improve his health and his longevity with his wife, his two grown children and his one-year old granddaughter Abigail.
Unfortunately, because Humana's Medicare Advantage plan is a private, for-profit insurance plan, they would not pay for the types of tests that Roger knew would allow him to learn what he needed to know about his heart condition.
When Roger called me, he told me he wanted to leave his Humana Medicare Advantage plan and return to Regular Medicare as soon as possible and get a Medicare Supplement that would pay everything Medicare does not pay.
Unfortunately, I had to tell Roger that although he could leave Humana's for-profit Medicare Advantage plan and return to regular Medicare on January 1, he would be declined for any Medicare Supplement because of his recent heart issue. This would mean he would have to pay an unlimited 20 percent of his health care costs.
Roger was furious. He was adamant that the Humana sales agent who convinced him to leave regular Medicare had not told him about the possibility he would not be able to return to regular Medicare and get a Medicare Supplement in the future. I am sure the Humana agent did not do this. They are not required to disclose this and usually do not.
However, I could not help him.
Roger then said the words I hear too often - "I wish I had talked with you sooner."
Roger is going to return to regular Medicare even though he will likely be responsible for an unlimited 20 percent of his health care costs the rest of his life. He will have to reallocate much of his retirement planning to pay these costs and he will still be at risk of spending tens of thousands of dollars a year if he needs expensive care in the future.
That is the price Roger is willing to pay to give himself the best chance for the longest and highest quality life with the family he loves.
The sad part is if Roger had simply enrolled in a Medicare Supplement when he first went on Medicare two years ago, all of his health care costs would have been covered the rest of his life by paying a affordable monthly premium of a little more than $100 per month.
When someone first goes on Medicare, they can enroll in a Medicare Supplement that will pay their share of Medicare without answering any health questions. They can keep this policy the rest of their life regardless of any health conditions they have at the time or develop in the future.
And by being with regular Medicare, they will be much less likely to be denied the health care they desire and need than with a for-profit, private Medicare Advantage plan.
Charles Bradshaw is the President and Founder of MedicareAnswerCenter.com.
p.s. If you know of someone who needs help with their Medicare, please share this with them.
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