Episode #70 – Medicare Planning in Arkansas

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Jae Oh, CFP is back to discuss Medicare planning in Arkansas.

Arkansas is not as competitive as some of the larger states, like Arizona, but there are still a number of plans, Part C and Supplemental policies for you to choose from.

As always, go to Jae’s website at www.maximizeyourmedicare.com for Jae’s book and sign up for his weekly newsletter too.

Episode # 69 – Medicare Planning in Arizona

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Medicare Part C and Medicare Supplement policies are very competitive in the great state of Arizona.

Of course, with more choices there are also more considerations consumers need to think about.

This episode is a good place to start.

As always, go to Jae’s website at www.maximizeyourmedicare.com for Jae’s book and sign up for his weekly newsletter too.

How to Avoid Doubling, or Tripling, of Your Medicare Premiums

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Medicare is not free! I can’t stress this enough. Medicare is not free!

Medicare Part B and D Premiums

You have premiums for Part B and Part D. Yes, you could have a Medicare Advantage premium, or a Medicare Supplemental premium but those services are voluntary.

If you are on Medicare and you will have a premium to pay.

Now, here is where it gets interesting. What are those premiums? Well, for most Americans they pay $134 a month in Part B and $34 a month in Part D, per beneficiary.

Modified Adjusted Gross Income Affects Medicare Premiums

But once they breach a certain threshold with their MODIFIED Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI), those premiums can change, and drastically too.

Single taxpayers with MAGI of less than $85,000 pay the premiums stated above.

Single taxpayers with MAGI of over $107,000 pay double. $22,000 difference in MAGI and premiums increase by 100%.

How is MAGI Calculated?

What is included in MAGI? It’s ALL your income, to include tax exempt interest.

What is NOT included in MAGI??? Roth IRA distributions.

Thus, a Roth is the easy way to prevent huge increases in Medicare premiums.

Roth IRA Distributions NOT Included in MAGI!

Weird how no one talks about this, isn’t it? Almost like the less you know about the tax code, the less proactive planning you will do and thus the more revenue that goes from YOUR accounts to the IRS.

Hmmmmm….

If you want the book for FREE just click on the link below and put in your email, first name and state and you’ll be able to download it immediately.

https://mailchi.mp/7e528cd3cfb3/taxbomb

Medicare Planning In Alaska

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In this episode we bring back Jae Oh, CFP from MaximizeYourMedicare.com to review the various Medicare options in Alaska.

Listen to understand as Alaska has some interesting dynamics with Medicare.

Follow Up To Medicare Planning 102

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Follow Up To Yesterday’s Email…

I received a WONDERFUL response from a friend about the Medicare post I sent out yesterday.  She allowed me to share the entirety of it with you.  Which you can find at the bottom of this email.

First though, I want to point out that Jae Oh, author of Maximize Your Medicare, and I have begun a podcast series called State By State Guide To Medicare.

We recorded Alabama and Alaska yesterday. All my podcast episodes can be found here. The interesting thing is,and fits in VERY well with what my friend shared with me yesterday, is that it can be incredibly hard to find CARE under Medicare Advantage (Part C) if you are in a more rural area.

For example, Alaska has NO Medicare Advantage plans available.  The only plans are Medicare Supplements. In fact, when you read the email I sent yesterday you can see the real world caution signs about Medicare Advantage policies. No docs in the local network, no local CARE.  I can’t stress enough the difference between insurance and care.  Just because you have insurance does not mean you have care.

Those of us on the free-market side of the health care debate have been arguing for decades that insurance and care are not synonymous.

So, if you’re in a rural area, you may not even have a choice between Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplemental policies.

Now, be advised, Medigap, i.e., Medicare Supplemental policies, are not free!  There are monthly premiums and those premiums may be significant. Between your Part B, Part D and Medigap plans you could easily spend $300 a month on premiums. (I certainly hope you’re calculating that into your financial planning software!)

But, read on, and you may see what you may actually get for the coverage from a REAL PERSON who just went through all this over the past couple years.

This is a HUGE choice you’re making folks. I can not stress enough how important it is to seek professional guidance. If you want me to recommend someone to talk to, I’d just say reach out to Jae. Let him steer you straight.

However you proceed, do so with extreme caution because as you can see in the email below, we’re talking big bucks here. And you want to make sure you have the appropriate coverage.

Here you go. Such valuable information here. Feedback is always welcome.

Blessings,

Josh

Josh,

(Husband) had Medicare Part A and B, and a supplemental plan and a drug plan.  The supplemental was through (Insurance Company) and cost 200+/month.  It was a high end plan.

One month before his first heart attack he considered downgrading it but thankfully procrastinated  With that coverage, we incurred zero expense for that hospitalization and surgery, total cost of 100,000+.  Our big surprise on coverage concerned which part of Medicare covered what.

I had always heard that A was for inpatient stuff, B for outpatient.  But really A is for room and board as an inpatient.  Any test – lab, x-ray, cardiac imaging is a part B area and subject to the 20% copay which adds up in a hurry.  But, in his case, the 20% was fully covered by the supplemental plan.  Of course this is after they all play with the numbers and the hospital admits that they will take $500 for the test they originally charge $1200 for.

There were also quirks on the Part D, medication side.  (Hub) was on 1000 mg of Metformin 2x/day (diabetes drug).  He could get that for $1 if he got it in 500mg pills.  One time the doctor suggested he just take 1000mg pills to have less to swallow.  That prescription would cost $250.  Same med, same total strength.  Needless to say he stuck with the 500 mg pills.  In that case (Insurance Company), who he got his Part D from, had a deal, but only on 500mg tablets, not 1000 mg. tablets.  Crazy!  That plan cost less than $10/month.

As a provider the supplemental plans varied.  The biggest issue was the wait for everyone to send payment and trying to keep current as a recognized provider on everyone’s list.  When I worked in a private clinic each Physical Therapist had to fill out a pile of papers to become a recognized provider even though the clinic was the billing entity.  And THAT is part of the high cost of health care.  In fact I would suggest that we have created a monster and it is NOT all higher technology that is driving costs up.  Much of the cost is paper shuffling which has been made no better and seldom even faster with electronic billing.

To make health coverage look a bit easier to swallow, I think of it this way:  Few people leave this world without a major event that costs big bucks.  I am just making installment payments on my big event.

Medicare Planning 102

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Real World Medicare Advice

Wow!!! Just wow… I received the email below from a nurse friend/client regarding her knowledge of Medicare, Medicare Part C and Medicare Supplements.  She sent a second email too, which I’ll send under different cover because it’s so informative it also needs your undivided attention.  (She did give me permission to share the email too – just FYI).

Any personal info has been changed of course.  Words that have been put into bold are from me, not her, just to add emphasis.

“I just read your email about Medicare.  Just to throw my two cents into the mix, I would urge caution in going with a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan.  As a provider several years ago we saw many problems with people insured this way and a broad variety of coverage.  Two specifics that I remember were plans that limited access to a small number of providers.  That may be less of an issue in an urban area but around here(a small town) it could mean driving to a bigger city to have care fully covered.  The other issue involved moving from one state to another.  Sometimes there was quite a delay while the person figured how how there coverage worked across state lines. Sometimes they were charged out of network costs for moving.

And, in my opinion, in the field of medicine there can be a huge difference in competence amongst providers.  Insurance companies look only at licence but some doctors are better diagnosers, or have better communication skills all of which equals better care. 

If you are limited in the pool you can choose from that can be a problem.  I used to say, you can buy generic potato chips but if  you are buying a service (doctor, lawyer, carpenter) cost is not the prevailing factor to consider. Traditional Medicare is widely accepted and consistent from state to state.  True, it is not always understandable – but few health care plans are in all honesty.

I’m interested to hear what else you share about Medicare.  Maybe I should figure out how to get to those podcasts.”

Funny thing about this email, at least to me as a professional financial planner, is her comment that ‘better communication equals better care.”  Now, I don’t know how they do it in doctor school, or lawyer school etc.  but in financial planning school they do not teach communication skills at all.  It’s stupid, actually.
The world is littered with the failed careers of brilliant financial advisors who never learned how to relate to people.

Stay tuned for the follow up email to this as well.  I simply can not express my thanks for the lady who wrote this email to me(You know who you are!)  Just wonderful information to share.

Blessings,

Josh

P.S.

Anyone who wants to know how to get the podcast just go here.  You can listen directly from your browser even!

Medicare Planning 101

Do You Know Much About Medicare?

Unfortunately, I don’t either.

That’s one area of financial planning I have been grossly deficient. Which is odd actually given health insurance is actually a FINANCIAL decision.

I knew I needed to up my game and over the past month have been eating up as much information on Medicare as I possibly could.  But, man oh man, it’s like the Wild West out there.

Go to Youtube and there are a million different people, ALL it seems with a sales pitch.  (One of the reasons I started my own Youtube channel was because of this exact thing. Tons of people selling stuff, but few people actually offering financial advice.)

Anyway, so in my research I came across a guy’s podcast.  And I gave it a listen. This guy, Jae Oh, was different in every aspect because his content wasn’t just an informercial about his services and how he can help.

Turns out he also literally wrote the book on Medicare planning “Maximize Your Medicare“.

So, I figured I’d reach out to him to see if he’d be interested in being interviewed on my podcast.  More than anything, I wanted to learn more about Medicare myself.

He agreed and we had a wonderful discussion which you can find here.

Even better you SHOULD sign up for Jae’s free newsletter.  I’ve read some of the backissues and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’ve learned in just the 10 days or so I’ve been reading his content.

For instance, switching from Medigap to Medicare Advantage is not a problem.  But going the other way??? You need to go through underwriting.  Who knew? I certainly did not.

Oh, how about this… Medicare Part A and B have unlimited out of pocket potential.  But ALL Medicare Advantage plans, (Part C) must have limits to their customers out of pocket costs.  Again, who knew? I didn’t.

Yet, isn’t this important stuff for a financial planner to know? Out of pocket medical expenses are nothing if not a FINANCIAL issue, no?

So, I’ve taken it as my mission over these next few months to get educated on Medicare.  In fact, Jae and I are going to do a state-by-state podcast excursion, where we run down the ins and outs of each state and their Medicare options.

Stay tuned, you don’t want to miss out.  Don’t forget EVERYONE is affected by Medicare.  The more you know about it, the better your decision making will be.

Episode #65 – Medicare Options In Alabama

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Join Jae Oh and me as we discuss Alabama in our state-by-state analysis of the various Medicare options in each state.

Over the course of these episodes, we’ll discuss Traditional Medicare, Traditional Medicare with Part D and Medigap, i.e., Medicare Supplements, and Medicare Part C, i.e., Medicare Advantage.

Jae Oh, CFP, is an expert contributor on www.mymedicareanswers.com, a website powered by Humana, one of the nation’s largest carriers of Medicare plans. Mr. Oh is the author of a top-rated, top-selling book on Medicare, titled Maximize Your Medicare (2018 Edition): Understanding Medicare, Protecting Your Health, and Minimizing Costs, available in print and ebook formats.

I highly encourage you go sign up for his newsletter at www.maximizeyourmedicare.com.

 

 

Real World Medicare Advice

Medicare, Medicare Part C and Medicare Supplements

Wow!!! Just wow… I received the email below from a nurse friend/client regarding her knowledge of Medicare, Medicare Part C and Medicare Supplements.  She sent a second email too, which I’ll send under different cover because it’s so informative it also needs your undivided attention.  (She did give me permission to share the email too – just FYI).

Any personal info has been changed of course.  Words that have been put into bold are from me, not her, just to add emphasis.

Medicare Advantage Caution

“I just read your email about Medicare.  Just to throw my two cents into the mix, I would urge caution in going with a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan.  As a provider several years ago we saw many problems with people insured this way and a broad variety of coverage.  Two specifics that I remember were plans that limited access to a small number of providers.  That may be less of an issue in an urban area but around here(a small town) it could mean driving to a bigger city to have care fully covered.  The other issue involved moving from one state to another.  Sometimes there was quite a delay while the person figured how how there coverage worked across state lines. Sometimes they were charged out of network costs for moving.


Better Communication = Better Care 

And, in my opinion, in the field of medicine there can be a huge difference in competence amongst providers.  Insurance companies look only at licence but some doctors are better diagnosers, or have better communication skills all of which equals better care. 

Traditional Medicare

If you are limited in the pool you can choose from that can be a problem.  I used to say, you can buy generic potato chips but if  you are buying a service (doctor, lawyer, carpenter) cost is not the prevailing factor to consider. Traditional Medicare is widely accepted and consistent from state to state.  True, it is not always understandable – but few health care plans are in all honesty.

I’m interested to hear what else you share about Medicare.  Maybe I should figure out how to get to those podcasts.”

Funny thing about this email, at least to me as a professional financial planner, is her comment that ‘better communication equals better care.”  Now, I don’t know how they do it in doctor school, or lawyer school etc.  but in financial planning school they do not teach communication skills at all.  It’s stupid, actually. The world is littered with the failed careers of brilliant financial advisors who never learned how to relate to people.

Stay tuned for the follow up email to this as well.  I simply can not express my thanks for the lady who wrote this email to me(You know who you are!)  Just wonderful information to share.

Blessings,

Josh

P.S.

Anyone who wants to know how to get the podcast just go here.  You can listen directly from your browser even!

Medicare For Beginners – Myself Included!

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Medicare is NOT my area of expertise. Not in any stretch of the imagination. But after talking with Jae Oh from maximizeyourmedicare.com, I realized I really needed to up my game in understanding this most important issue.

Medicare for Beginners

After all, EVERYONE will use Medicare. And, unfortunately, if they don’t sign up correctly, their upside risk could easily bankrupt them.

So, in this video I look at a Blue Cross Blue Shield document which goes over some real basic Medicare information.

Medicare Definitions

Part A is the building you use for care, essentially.
Part B – The services you receive in that building, to include skilled nursing care.
Part C – is Medicare Advantage plans which MUST provide you an out of pocket maximum
Part D – prescription drug coverage
Medicare Supplements – Medigap coverage

Blue Cross Blue Shield

Blue Cross Blue Shield provides a nice example too that we go through to show you the risk and how a plan may minimize that risk to you.

If you are like me and completely ignorant about how Medicare works, this video is a good starting point.