In the upcoming weeks, retirees’ from the Special School District of Saint Louis County are faced with an insurance decision similar to an algebra exam, deciphering the Medicare world after years of relying on an employer for assistance.
This situation is becoming more common, as the employee/employer landscape changes, employers cut expenses, and retiree healthcare costs continue to increase faster than the rate of inflation. Over the years, we have helped many retirees choose the best possible plan when making this decision.
If you find yourself losing an employer retiree plan, here are a few things to consider:
1. If your employer terminates your coverage and you are on Medicare, you can purchase a Medicare Supplement without passing through medical underwriting. You are able to sign up for a supplement (which will pay the 20% that Medicare leaves behind as well as the hospital expenses) regardless of your health or pre existing conditions.
2. You will be able to sign up for a Medicare Prescription Drug plan in the middle of the year and without penalty. Having employer drug coverage that is credible drug coverage prevents you from having to pay a higher monthly premium when you sign up for Part D. Be sure to check out the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder to pick the best plan for your drugs, https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/questions/home.aspx
3. You will have the choice to pick either a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medicare Supplement policy along with Part D. You can learn about each here: https://steinlageagency.com/medicare-supplement-explanation/ and here: https://steinlageagency.com/medicare-advantage-explanation/
4. You may have the ability to switch your medical and drug coverage to an individual plan while continuing to use your employer dental and vision benefits. While each employer is different a general rule of thumb is if you are paying a separate premium for your dental and vision and/or you have a different insurer for the dental and vision you can keep your dental and vision while dropping the medical. If they are all offered by the same carrier and you only pay a single premium, chances are you cannot keep your vision and dental from your employer.
If you need assistance in picking the right plan for your needs, give us a call or email. We are a local, independent agency that only works with people eligible for Medicare. We handle all the major carriers in St. Louis and provide local, face to face support.