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Full Timers Not everyone can be a full timer. This is the place to discuss questions, concerns, and other issues affecting full timers.

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  #1  
Old 12-06-2018
Mikenjackie's Avatar
Mikenjackie Mikenjackie is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Full-timing
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Default Full timing Medicare question

We've just started full timing, sold the house, no fixed address. It's time to renew our Medicare, how do full timers normally handle this? I've retained a "street address" mailbox in our old home state (Utah). We have AARP Medicare Advantage HMO that allows us to travel up to 9 months out of the year, but that means our primary care physician (PCP) would have to OK any procedures. There are also PPO's that don't need PCP's, but then you're stuck with whoever is available locally. Or there's one of the Medigap options, which seem rather more expensive than the Advantage programs. I'm just wondering what other full-timers do.
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Mike & Jackie Williams
Fruit Heights, UT
385-477-9780, ibmfixer@msn.com
"Retirement Bird" 1997 43WB
"Silver Shadow"1988 PT-40 Concept Coach - Sold!
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Old 12-06-2018
hexspeed hexspeed is offline
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Haven't started FTing (yet), but spent a lot of time looking at plans offered in my zip code to determine the best options once I'm ready. As you indicated, the "safest" from a coverage POV, but more expensive, is traditional Medicare with a Medicare Supplement ("gap") policy. You can go into any medical establishment that accepts Medicare and know you will receive service and pretty much what it will cost you. That's not always true with Medicare Advantage policies.

When I turned 65, I signed up for an Aetna Medicare Advantage PPO that provides excellent coverage in my area. I have a Primary Care Physician (PCP) but don't need to consult with her prior to seeing any other medical professional. If the professional is in my local plan, I just do the copay; if they're not, Aetna and I split the cost 50:50. Obviously, once I'm more than about 50 miles from home, I'm on the 50:50 plan which is very uncomfortable.

In 2018, after consulting with Aetna, I discovered they offer a similar Advantage PPO plan that provides the same coverage locally PLUS lets me tap into Aetna PPO contracts anywhere in the country where they have them -- and they do have a lot of them IF you're in major population areas. They say there are no limits to using this feature, but can't prove that by real-world experience. If I get sick in a non-coverage area, then I just drop back to the same 50:50 as before.

I'll continue this in the next post because I don't want to bury important info at the end of this one.
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  #3  
Old 12-06-2018
hexspeed hexspeed is offline
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Default Going from Medicare Advantage back to "Traditional" Medicare

For 2019, I looked into moving back to traditional Medicare -- holy cow, what a cluster. In a nutshell, once you're on an Advantage plan, with some very specific exceptions, you're not guaranteed access to a "traditional" Supplement plan or to coverage at the standard rates.

To go back to traditional Medicare, you have to "quit" your Advantage plan during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period scheduled for January 1 – February 14 every year. Once you quit your Advantage plan and re-enroll in Medicare Parts A & B, you are eligible to apply for a Medicare Supplement plan. I'm quoting the following from the Medicare web site -- this is their words, not my opinion or interpretation:

"Once you’ve returned to Original Medicare, you can apply for a Medicare Supplement plan anytime you want – but your acceptance into a plan isn’t always guaranteed. For example, if you have health problems, the insurance company can base its decision on your health history in a process known as medical underwriting. The company can decide not to sell you a plan, or to charge you more because of your health condition."

The exceptions that provide "guaranteed-issue rights" if you want to move back are:
  • You enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan when you were first eligible for Medicare and you aren’t happy with the plan, which you’ve had for a year or less. You generally have a special right to purchase a Medicare Supplement plan if you return to Medicare Part A and Part B within 12 months of enrolling in the Medicare Advantage plan.
  • You move to an area your Medicare Advantage plan does not serve.
  • Your Medicare Advantage plan no longer serves the area where you live.
  • Your plan no longer has a contract with Medicare.
These situations generally have time limits; in most cases, you apply for the Medicare Supplement insurance policy within 63 calendar days after your Medicare Advantage coverage ends. In addition, you might not have your choice of any of the 10 standardized Medicare Supplement plans available in most states; your choice might be limited to certain Medicare Supplement plans.

Bottom line for those who haven't reached Medicare age yet -- make sure you know all the "gotchas" before signing up. I spent a lot of time and thought I did (duh). For those already on an Advantage plan, if you want to go back and are in good health, now may be the time to seriously consider that option. My fallback position is that once I do go FT, I'll just move outside of my Advantage coverage area so I can use that exception to get Supplement coverage.

I know this is more than most people wanted to know -- I've certainly had to learn more than I ever wanted to know about Medicare!!
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Jim Beeson
Westerville, OH
2004 M380 SS
hexspeed@aol.com
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  #4  
Old 12-11-2018
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Mikenjackie Mikenjackie is offline
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Jim, you've certainly done your homework on this one! Some of it I already knew from my own research, but not all of it. Guess we lucked out; we have one of the AARP Advantage programs, and could claim residence in South Dakota, which handles our mail forwarding, where AARP doesn't cover. But as we're pretty healthy (at least, for now), we're staying where we are. Thanks for sharing!
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Mike & Jackie Williams
Fruit Heights, UT
385-477-9780, ibmfixer@msn.com
"Retirement Bird" 1997 43WB
"Silver Shadow"1988 PT-40 Concept Coach - Sold!
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