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Medicare Advantage Premiums – Too High?

Will Medicare Advantage premiums continue to increase? Question Marks Above Head

How much is too much?  We have seen Medicare Advantage premiums increase year after year.  Some of the premium increases make you wonder whether you would be better off taking your chances with original Medicare.

In some cases premiums are approaching $200 per month and you may be wondering if  putting the premiums in the bank and hoping for the best would be better than paying too much.

But neither one of these options will give you the best protection should you require expensive medical care.

Medicare Advantage out of pocket maximum is one benefit not to over look

The annual out of pocket maximum is one benefit that many Medicare beneficiaries overlook. Annual out of pocket maximums range from the mid-two thousand dollar level to the $700 maximum for 2012 Medicare Advantage plans.

If you are enrolled in original Medicare only in 2012, the Part A Medicare deductible is $1156 and  covers hospitalization for the first 60 days. There are additional inpatient copays beyond that. In addition, should you stay with original Medicare you will also be subject to 20% of Medicare covered expenses.
If you choose to pocket the Medicare Advantage premiums by not choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan, you are potentially exposing yourself to some undetermined financial risk.

Better course of action

If you have decided that a Medicare Advantage Plan is right for you, it would be best to do your homework  during the Annual Enrollment Period. Compare plans and submit an application between October 15th, and December 7th,. You can start by looking at the Medicare and You publication, or visit Medicare’s official website to compare plans.

Don’t let the threat of high Medicare Advantage premiums deter you from exploring your options.

If you cannot find a reasonably priced Medicare Advantage plan for 2012, then maybe you should consider a Medicare Supplement policy. You will pay a higher premium and will need to select a stand alone Part D prescription drug plan, but you will generally eliminate much of the cost sharing associated with a Medicare Advantage Plan.

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  1. Jumping into Medicare from an employment aspect can be a very intimidating time given most of us are “laymen” when it comes to interpretating this complicated issue.
    I have been with Medicare since 2007 and have been enrolled with UHC AARP Medicare Complete however, several of my doctors have informed me they won’t be accepting it any longer and that I should consider other options. Having done some research, the answers are very vague but no doubt UHC is dropping something here in Florida…..either doctors that won’t cave to their demands or Advantage Plans altogether????
    I see this as a train wreck for UHC and a PAYDAY for Humana and others!
    One thing I did find in my research was the fact 75% of Americans are still using Original Medicare with other riders such as medigap etc. I suspect this is by far the best option given the total participants however, Medicare nor any other agency such as “SHINE” etc will acknowledge the fact. The only reason I would suspect generates this kind of “silence” is CORPORATE/WASHINGTON $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ related! Not a confirmed fact, just an observation/suspicion on my part!

  2. Dennis, You’ve definitely highlighted one of the downsides of joining a Medicare Advantage Plan, that being the fact that plans can either change (benefits, costs, provider networks) or not renew for the following year. The good news related to your specific situation (having a non-renewing plan) is that you are entitled to Guaranteed Issue Rights and can by a Medigap policy without medical underwriting being an issue.

    The corporate/Washington $$$$$ issue may be valid in some circles, but not in all. There are plenty of factions and special interest groups that would like to cut funding to the Medicare Advantage program. Although Medicare Advantage is not right for everyone, this would be unfortunate because there are plenty of people who cannot afford a Medigap policy and don’t want to be subjected to original Medicare’s high out-of-pocket amounts (i.e. Parts A & B deductibles and 20% for covered outpatient services).

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