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Old 12-28-2017, 05:17 PM
 
756 posts, read 999,961 times
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I’m confused on an issue that I’m finding here. DH turns 65 soon and we will sign him up online for MC this weekend. However, I’ve called several insurance agents for their help on supplemental plans. We’re in SC and the only ones I’d consider are Mutual of Omaha, BC or AARP. Agents will only give info and sign you up with MOO or BC. When I ask what the problem is with AARP they state it’s run by UHC and not reliable.

My 90 year old mother has had AARP for 25 years without a single issue. I’ve asked local drs and they state they have no issue either with AARP. Yes, they cost more, but might be worth the difference. I know many people have issue with their political policies, but we just want a plan that will pay the claims and not be a hassle.

My big concern is Plan D. The agents don’t handle that. I’m between Silverscript and AARP. Again, mom has had AARP. More expensive, but DH isn’t on any meds so we should maybe go with cheapest plan

I also heard it’s hard to switch companies even at open enrollment.

Any advice is appreciated. Thank you.
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Old 12-28-2017, 05:35 PM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA
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What is it you're asking? either get a plan through an agent, on your own, or contact AARP.
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Old 12-28-2017, 06:35 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
24,037 posts, read 51,901,907 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saralvr View Post
I’m confused on an issue that I’m finding here. DH turns 65 soon and we will sign him up online for MC this weekend. However, I’ve called several insurance agents for their help on supplemental plans. We’re in SC and the only ones I’d consider are Mutual of Omaha, BC or AARP. Agents will only give info and sign you up with MOO or BC.

When I ask what the problem is with AARP they state it’s run by UHC and not reliable.

My 90 year old mother has had AARP for 25 years without a single issue. I’ve asked local drs and they state they have no issue either with AARP. Yes, they cost more, but might be worth the difference. I know many people have issue with their political policies, but we just want a plan that will pay the claims and not be a hassle.

My big concern is Plan D. The agents don’t handle that. I’m between Silverscript and AARP. Again, mom has had AARP. More expensive, but DH isn’t on any meds so we should maybe go with cheapest plan

I also heard it’s hard to switch companies even at open enrollment.
First, there is no "annual open enrollment" for Medigaps. Open enrollment applies only to Advantage and Part D plans - both of which are considered "health plans." Medigaps can be bought/switched at any time during the year. Normally, any changes after the initial Medigap enrollment will require you complete a health questionnaire.

Second, AARP is VERY reliable on its Medigaps. Expect the same hassle-free experience your mother has had.

UHC Advantage plans, on the other hand, are an entirely different product with a strong profit motive and this may be why the agents said what they did. I had a UHC Advantage and dropped it because of payment hassles but would not hesitate to purchase a UHC Medigap with confidence.

There are some internet complaints on the drug benefits through UHC. I never take medication so don't have any coverage at all and will worry about it when and if the time comes. But, if you want to avoid a possible late enrollment penalty for Part D, yes, the cheapest plan should do the trick.

Relative to the Medigap, don't be sucked in by possible BCBS/MOO lower rates. They won't last. Their policies are attained-age rated. MOO is very aggressive in this respect. We've had reports of premiums well over $400/mo. for long-time MOO Medigap holders.

The reason AARP UHC may be somewhat higher initially is because it is a community-rated plan. But UHC does discount rates for those under age 77 (previously age 75). The community rating is a huge advantage as you age because UHC ties its increases to the actual costs of medical care for the entire group - not your age. For AARP UHC, after age 77, everyone pays the same rate regardless of age - whereas attained-age policies keep going until age 85 at least. Some companies have no age cap.

As an example, looking at 2017 rates for UHC, BCBS and MOO in WI for Milwaukee County which generally has higher premiums than the rest of the state:

Age 65 -
$1,778.64 - AARP UHC - Basic Policy without WI riders both male & female
$1,591.32 - BCBS - Basic Policy without WI riders - female
$1,714.68 - BCBS - Basic Policy without WI riders - male
$2,196.65 - MOO - Basic Policy without WI riders - female
$2,415,54 - MOO - Basic Policy without WI riders - male

Age 75 -
$2,795.04 - AARP UHC - Basic Policy without WI riders both male & female
$2,506.92 - BCBS - Basic Policy without WI riders - female
$2,700.60 - BCBS - Basic Policy without WI riders - male
$2,695.0 - MOO - Basic Policy without WI riders - female
$2,970.66 - MOO - Basic Policy without WI riders - male

Age 85 -
$2,795.04 - AARP UHC - Basic Policy without WI riders both male & female
$3,313.92 - BCBS - Basic Policy without WI riders - female
$3,570.12 - BCBS - Basic Policy without WI riders - male
$3,589.45 - MOO - Basic Policy without WI riders - female
$3,964.18 - MOO - Basic Policy without WI riders - male

As you can see, only the UHC rate has stabilized. You are not in a guaranteed issue state. If serious health issues develop, you cannot switch to another company without undergoing health underwriting which allows the company to deny you. You maybe forced to keep the attained-age policy.

If there are no UHC agents in your area, just apply with AARP UHC online. Apply for a Plan G which functions just like an F but does not pay the Part B deductible of $183. It is less expensive and rate increases going forward will also be lower. Plan F is being discontinued in 2020, anyway, although you would be grandfathered in - but might be subject to somewhat higher rate increases over time as the risk pool ages. If you choose an F now, UHC will allow you to downgrade to a G at a later time without health underwriting.
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Old 12-28-2017, 09:01 PM
 
1,593 posts, read 2,310,150 times
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I'm a doctor that used to be in the insurance world. The AARP plans from UHC in my area were the absolute worst (after the government plans of Medicare/Medicaid/Tricare). They had multiple plans and the worst was one called Secure Horizons managed by a 3rd party called Silverback. The games they played to avoid payment were amazing. I finally dropped them and their insurance rep came by my office to try to sign me back up. Turns out I was the only doctor in my specialty in a 200 mile radius on their plan. In other words, I was the only fool and the others in my specialty knew better.
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Old 12-28-2017, 09:53 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
24,037 posts, read 51,901,907 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toofache32 View Post
I'm a doctor that used to be in the insurance world. The AARP plans from UHC in my area were the absolute worst (after the government plans of Medicare/Medicaid/Tricare). They had multiple plans and the worst was one called Secure Horizons managed by a 3rd party called Silverback. The games they played to avoid payment were amazing. I finally dropped them and their insurance rep came by my office to try to sign me back up. Turns out I was the only doctor in my specialty in a 200 mile radius on their plan. In other words, I was the only fool and the others in my specialty knew better.
No one has trouble with the AARP Medigap.

The AARP 'plans' you refer to were Advantage plans. Secure Horizons is an ADVANTAGE plan - which is an entirely DIFFERENT animal than a Medigap,

OP is inquiring about a Medigap.

The AARP UHC Medigap is fine. Many people on CD are insured through AARP UHC Medigap with no issues whatsoever. Unlike Advantage plans, under a Medigap, Medicare remains the final payment arbiter - not the Advantage plan insurer.

Therefore, if Medicare approves and pays for the service, so must the Medigap pay its share - no questions asked.

Under an AARP UHC Medigap, OP will experience - as her mother has - none of the hassles described by toofache.
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Old 12-28-2017, 10:09 PM
 
1,593 posts, read 2,310,150 times
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The OP said nothing about Medigap vs Advantage plans. Just UHC and AARP.
I simply published my experience with the plans I have been exposed to.
Not sure why you're so defensive.
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Old 12-28-2017, 10:29 PM
 
11,584 posts, read 16,668,476 times
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Also, not every Agent/Producer is contracted with every carrier. So, they give some song and dance why they "don't" sell certain products versus just coming out and saying they are not contracted.
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Old 12-28-2017, 10:50 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
24,037 posts, read 51,901,907 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toofache32 View Post
The OP said nothing about Medigap vs Advantage plans. Just UHC and AARP.
Actually, she did, here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by saralvr View Post
I’ve called several insurance agents for their help on supplemental plans.
Supplemental = Medigap.

Secure Horizons is not a supplemental plan; it is an Advantage plan.

People unfamiliar with the difference may conflate the two, but I am taking OP literally - that when she says "supplemental," she means a Medigap.

UHC performs very differently in its administration of its Medigaps/supplemental plans v. Advantage. . The Medigap is hassle-free; the UHC Advantage plans can be a real headache, as you've learned.
Quote:
Originally Posted by toofache32 View Post
I simply published my experience with the plans I have been exposed to.
Not sure why you're so defensive.
Not defensive. Just clarifying an important difference between Advantage v. a Medigap aka "supplemental."

We've had too many believe because they've read about issues with UHC Advantage plans, that ALL products offered by UHC are problematic. This is not correct.

The difference is because under Medigap, Medicare is the overseer/approver/payor, with the Medigap/supplemental required to pay its policy-designated share of Medicare approved services.

Under Advantage, the patient is divorced from Medicare, entirely. Under Advantage, benefit administration, approval, payment lies with the private, for-profit insurer. Therein lies the problem.

For anyone reading, the Advantage insurer, is paid a capitation rate by the govt for every person enrolled - usually in the area of $700 or more a month. Out of that capitation rate, the insurer is to provide Medicare benefits. What isn't disbursed, is kept as profit. Profit is why UHC and other Advantage insurers - Humana and Cigna can also be notable bad performers - play their payment games.

Your experience is common with Advantage plans. I just wanted OP and others reading this thread to be aware that UHC is NOT unreliable on its Medigaps/supplemental insurance. It IS unreliable and problematic in the administration of its Advantage plans and some Part D plans.

Last edited by Ariadne22; 12-28-2017 at 11:19 PM..
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Old 12-29-2017, 06:56 AM
 
439 posts, read 624,105 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saralvr View Post
When I ask what the problem is with AARP they state it’s run by UHC and not reliable.
Translation: UHC Medigap commissions are lower than the industry standard so fewer agents contract with them. Their Medigap products are fine. As stated above, it's their Medicare Advantage products that can have issues. If you don't want to DIY, call their customer service number and they should be able to give you the contact information for a local contracted agent.
Quote:
Originally Posted by saralvr View Post
My big concern is Plan D....DH isn’t on any meds so we should maybe go with cheapest plan.
I agree with going with the cheapest plan and reviewing that choice annually. It is easy to switch Part D plans during annual open enrollment should the need arise.
Quote:
Originally Posted by saralvr View Post
We’re in SC and the only ones I’d consider are Mutual of Omaha, BC or AARP.
Avoid Mutual of Omaha if possible. They have a bad reputation of closing their books to new enrollees causing premiums to increase at a faster rate as those left behind get older and sicker. Ask for the MOO rate history. If the agent can't give you more than 3 years of data, MOO has closed their old pool of enrollees and opened a new younger, healthier pool to make their rates appear attractive for a few years.
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Old 12-29-2017, 07:47 AM
 
756 posts, read 999,961 times
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Thank you for your responses. Yes, I was solely referring to Medigap policies (supplemental). I will call AARP directly. I thought an agent would be more knowledgeable on the plans and I am entering unchartered waters here and wanted as much info as possible.

I appreciate the knowledgeable people here willing to take the time to guide newbies in the MC world!
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