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Is AARP United Healthcare Medicare supplimental insurance as bad as the customer reviews say??

Hi,
AARP's Medicare Supplemental Medicare Insurance sounds great... but I decided that before I purchase it I should read the reviews.

I was astounded!

 

Consumer affairs reviews were the worst I have EVER seen for any product or service from any company. People were talking about outright misrepresentation of services, copays, non-existent customer service. Representatives simply hanging up on customers, drug formularies not covering many common medications. Increasing co-pays. A litany of misrepresentation and worse.


Now I understand the Internet. You will always find people more willing to badmouth a product or service than to praise it... but I looked for positive reviews and found none...

 

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/insurance/aarp_medicare.html

 

Is it really this bad? If so why does AARP tolerate this if they are, as they claim, an organization that exists to promote the best interests of senior citizens?

 

Have I simply been looking for reviews of AARP United Healthcare supplemental insurance in the wrong places?

 

Can anyone here describe their own experience with this insurance? I live in California... but will be moving to Arizona...

 

If not AARP/UHC insurance, can anyone here recommend a company for Medicare supplemental insurance with which they have had a positive experience?

 

Thanks

 

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Regular Contributor

Prescription drug copays differ from company to company and differ year to year. if you do not know how to check your coverage for the coming year, contact an independent insurance agent for help. The supplemental from UHC is great coverage and if you have to be underwritten to get it, AARP UHC is the easiest to get.
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Honored Social Butterfly

Gail  thank you for your response.
I wish that I had know more about Medicare and Medigap  than I even know today, I would have fought with the Dr.s  for not actually providing me with a Pre Diabetis diet mainly because my Diabetis 2 is and has always been extremely contained and very mild. Instead they put me inmediately on pills, creating a pre condition that has  had implications in the future. 
I wish that I had know about the injections for my Macular Degeneration and what they ask you in any questionair plan which is  if you actually receive injections.  and I would have probably delayed the process or applied for a supplemental before the diagnosis was made.
There are lots of things that due to ignorance that I have done, have had consequences probably my fault.
I do fully understand what you are saying about the doctors, I still think that they are also gaming the system in their favor and not in favor of the patients. Because they do want those supplementals and they have to accept the original Medicare patients. 
I guess that is life and the system that we have in the US.  more than ever, I feel that we really need a National Health Care system. too many things are done these days that are not right or fair.

 

no name
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Regular Contributor

There was a misunderstanding posted in a comment here.  Doctors DO NOT have to take Medicare.  If they take it, they also have to take a Medicare Supplement.  They do NOT have to take a Medicare Advantage. 

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@Roxanna35 wrote:


 


Now I have a question. supposed that my out of network  decides that they don't like my PPO. Why can't they simply bill  my Medicare?

You know, perhaps this change to Avastin may also change the cost exposure to the insurers and then can consider this as appropriate for their Supplemental I believe that they have stopped asking the Foundation and just bill my insurance.

@you wrote:

"Now I have a question. supposed that my out of network  decides that they don't like my PPO. Why can't they simply bill  my Medicare?"

 

YOUR Medicare IS the Medicare Advantage plan which you have chosen, I believe, a Medicare Advantage PPO.

 

A doctor can decide which insurer they want to deal with and how much they want to deal with them.

A doctor even accepting Medicare assignment in original Medicare can still limit how many of this type of patient they accept into their practice.  The doc makes the call.

 

Don't like any Medicare Advantage plan, go back to Original Medicare.

 

Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plan (Part C of Medicare) cover the SAME benefits just in a different way.  They are both under the umbrella of "Medicare".

 

@you wrote:

". . . . .perhaps this change to Avastin may also change the cost exposure to the insurers and then can consider this as appropriate for their Supplemental "

 

A Supplemental (Medigap) insurer has no cost exposure - they do not decide on the price or payment of anything !   They don't say what is covered or set any prices.   In General, they pay the 20% of the Medicare approved cost which Medicare does not pay.

Supplemental Insurance is NOT health insurance - it is "supplemental" insurance.

 

They can deny you coverage based on their own determination of the amount of services which you may use in original Medicare because you have a pre-existing condition and you do not have any Medicare determined rights that they have to sell you a policy at all OR sell you a policy even at the going price - they can deny you a supplemental plan, or underwrite you, charge you more and limit coverage for pre-existing condition for a specified amount of time..

 

At this point, we are waaaaaay off-topic and I am having my doubts that you understand Medicare and all its parts.  Nor do I think you understand what Medigap (supplemental) coverage actually is.

You seem to keep thinking that it is health insurance; it is not.  It does not work with a Medicare Advantage plan at all.

 

You have your choice of keeping a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C), any of them offered in your area, or going back to Original Medicare but perhaps without a supplemental plan or perhaps one that might be pretty costly, if an insurer will underwrite you.

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Regular Contributor

After reading some of the complaints of AARP supplemental plans not paying for things like Whooping Cough vaccinations, I am amazed at how many new enrollees (or maybe even ones who have had the ins for a while) don't understand how Supplemental Insurances work. It is Medicare that decides what is approved, how much to charge and then the Supplemental coverage like Plan F pays the difference since Medicare will pay 80% and the rest is the responsibilty of the indivdual (therefore the ins covering the 20%). Plus this is the key which is apparant is not understood.  MEDICARE DOESN'T APPROVE EVERYTHING LIKE THE WHOOPING COUGH OR SHINGLES VACCINE. It would be very smart before one gets such vaccines to ask if Medicare covers the shots, procedures etc.

Also one needs to know that when Obamacare was put into place, monies were taken out of Medicare to help pay for the tax credits etc under Obamacare, therefore reducing some of the benefits of us older people with our healthcare.So don't blame AARP or United Healthcare plans such as Plan F as they are controlled by Medicare guidelines that got more expensive when Obamacare went into effect. (This is not being political but only truthful) For me having Plan F for a few years has been a Blessing as you will understand once you have a Hospital surgery for over $100,000 and never see a bill. That's when it pays to get the great insurance AARP provides)

Periodic Contributor

There are not many Hospital Surgery Stays that will cost Insurance Company or Medicare 100k. Hospitals grossly over bill [$25.00 for Advil Etc.] so as not to miss out on anything and get Max out of Medicare or Ins. Co. A 100k bill will be reduced between 3k-10k[check it out] out of pocket 600 to 2k for Patient still less than yearly premium for Supplement. A couple could be paying 5000 yearly for Supplement policy premiums. If you just need 'Upkeep' with an occasional problem in 10 years Medigap Policy Might pay 3k to 5k on average total for excess cost after medicare pays but they will have paid 50k in premiums Thats why Insurance Buildingd have Italian Marble Floors in Bathrooms.
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Regular Contributor

Not true as a total shoulder replacement like the one I had where I was in surgery for hours ran over $100,000 and I am not talking for medications. This was very spcialized surgery which is becoming more and more common. This wasn't a car accident but where I simply feel in my house onto my shoulder and totally broke it! Yet thanks to plan F I never saw one bill at all!!!I I am very very happy with Plan F and when we travel I have seen other doctors Nationwide and always get great service and No Bills!

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Periodic Contributor

So us the bill.[I know better] If you check your Medicare the Hospital may have Billed 100k, like I said they Grossly over Bill but check what Medicare actually paid and that is what Medigap pays 20% on. Again its not what is billed it is what Insuance pays. Most people don't get this and Hospitals and Insurance companys like it that way. All Insurance Sales is based in FEAR. So again show us where the Insurance [Medicare and Supplement] actually paid 100k total NOT the Bill from Hospital and Doctor. You can find out what I am talking about with minimul research [most don't bother] also you can find out what Medicare actually on your Medicare Page online and Medigap claims page.

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Social Butterfly


@alexiss12 wrote:

 

Also one needs to know that when Obamacare was put into place, monies were taken out of Medicare to help pay for the tax credits etc under Obamacare, therefore reducing some of the benefits of us older people with our healthcare.So don't blame AARP or United Healthcare plans such as Plan F as they are controlled by Medicare guidelines that got more expensive when Obamacare went into effect. 


@alexiss12 

There was NO “monies”….”taken out of Medicare” NO “benefit cuts” because of Obamacare. This was disingenuous teaparty propaganda spread to discredit the ACA.

 

Obamacare achieved $716 billion Medicare savings through reduced physician and provider reimbursements. Just one example it required Durable Medical Equipment (DME) providers to be contracted with CMS to get paid from Medicare which helped to reduce a lot of fraud among the many DME providers. Waste and fraud were cut not benefits.

 

 Obamacares gave all Medicare beneficiaries, no cost preventative care and the gradual closing of the “donut hole for part D.
There were NO benefit cuts.
There were no “monies”…..“taken out of Medicare”.

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@ReTiReD51 wrote:

@alexiss12 wrote:

 

Also one needs to know that when Obamacare was put into place, monies were taken out of Medicare to help pay for the tax credits etc under Obamacare, therefore reducing some of the benefits of us older people with our healthcare.So don't blame AARP or United Healthcare plans such as Plan F as they are controlled by Medicare guidelines that got more expensive when Obamacare went into effect. 


@alexiss12 

There was NO “monies”….”taken out of Medicare” NO “benefit cuts” because of Obamacare. This was disingenuous teaparty propaganda spread to discredit the ACA.

 

Obamacare achieved $716 billion Medicare savings through reduced physician and provider reimbursements. Just one example it required Durable Medical Equipment (DME) providers to be contracted with CMS to get paid from Medicare which helped to reduce a lot of fraud among the many DME providers. Waste and fraud were cut not benefits.

 

 Obamacares gave all Medicare beneficiaries, no cost preventative care and the gradual closing of the “donut hole for part D.
There were NO benefit cuts.
There were no “monies”…..“taken out of Medicare”.


Retired is correct. There was no money "taken out" of the Medicare trust funds by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010 as amended. What PPACA did was direct that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) spend a large percentage less on acute care hospital benefits, skilled nursing facility (SNF) benefits, and home health care benefits than CMS otherwise would have if PPACA had not been passed. The number that hospitals, SNFs and the VNA will not get equalled around $400 Billion for the years 2011 to 2020 and will equal close to a trillion dollars for the years 2018 to 2027.

 

The money did not go anywhere. It stayed in the Medicare Part A Trust Fund. But absolutely crazy government accounting rules let Congress say that the money was "saved," thereby allowing the Congress to pass PPACA under reconciliation (meaing it could not be filibustered even though a Republican had won Ted Kennedy's Senate seat taking away the Democrats' previous filibuster proof margin in the Senate).

 

The theoretical effect on people on Medicare is that hospital, SNF and VNA services got worse in proportion to the amount their income was cut. Some people (reasonably in my opinion) claim this theoretical poorer service at hospitals, SNFs and by the VNA to be a benefit cut.

 

-- The DME example given by Retired was small potatoes.

-- A few additional preventive tests were moved from the category of having a co-pay to having no co-pay (but race, age and frequency limitations were added). This benefit was smaller than small potatoes because the major preventive service used by people on Medicare, by a wide margin, is a flu shot and that has been available without a co-pay since the Bush administration - Bush 41

-- The slow reduction of the co-pay for the relatively few people affected financially by the donut hole has simply moved drug policy premium and drug co-pay costs on to the 80% of us that were never affected by the donut hole and the 15% of us who enter the donut hole but whose donut hole expenses were/are paid for by Medicare, Social Security (but even that's really Medicare), state pharmacutical assistance programs, Medicaid, and donut hole insurance riders either bought individually or received as a perk for former employment 

Honored Social Butterfly


@alexiss12 wrote:

After reading some of the complaints of AARP supplemental plans not paying for things like Whooping Cough vaccinations, I am amazed at how many new enrollees (or maybe even ones who have had the ins for a while) don't understand how Supplemental Insurances work. It is Medicare that decides what is approved, how much to charge and then the Supplemental coverage like Plan F pays the difference since Medicare will pay 80% and the rest is the responsibilty of the indivdual (therefore the ins covering the 20%).

 

Plus this is the key which is apparant is not understood.  MEDICARE DOESN'T APPROVE EVERYTHING LIKE THE WHOOPING COUGH OR SHINGLES VACCINE. It would be very smart before one gets such vaccines to ask if Medicare covers the shots, procedures etc.

 

 


Yes, I find it rather concerning to read some of the post here about just basic stuff.

I also find that sometimes when a question is asked they do not identify how they are getting their Medicare Benefit - original Medicare or Medicare Advantage.

It makes a difference in how things are covered - Medicare Advantage plans cover the same thing as original Medicare, just in a different way.

 

Actually, Medicare does specify which "shots" are covered based on the recommendation from the CDC on this age group.  However, they ALSO specify which "part" of Medicare covers different ones.

Part B or Part D - special conditions of the individuals' health might even change this on some vaccinations/immunizations.  You are right, it is Best to look up each one on Medicare.gov or call Medicare on the one you are getting to find how the how, when and where so you are assured of proper coverage. 

 

If the "shot" is covered by Part D - your prescription drug coverage - normally, unless there is a specific health condition, you do not want your doctor to give it cause he does not file prescription drug coverage claims - the pharmacist does.

 

Yes, for those with original Medicare - Medicare (CMS) controls the prices of Part A and Part B services as long as you are using a provider that accepts assignment or can bill Medicare - If they don't accept assignment, they may balance bill you or bill you for the whole amount and then for the later you have to file a claim with Medicare to recoup the amount Medicare would have paid - which will not be the total amount even if you have supplemental (Medigap) coverage too.

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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@Roxanna35 wrote:

Gail!!!!!!!  I just want to see the eligibility questions. for a Supplemental. or are they secret to the general public?  just the questions Gail  just the questions.? 


Here is some more info on the application for Medigap coverage from Medicare 

 

 Medicare.gov - Buying your Medigap policy

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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@Roxanna35 wrote:

Gail!!!!!!!  I just want to see the eligibility questions. for a Supplemental. or are they secret to the general public?  just the questions Gail  just the questions.? 


These are private companies so there is no reason why the general public has to have access.  Medigap policies are sold by area to a select group of people - not the general public.

 

Do like john258 said and contact an independent agent in your area and he probably has access to all the insurers in your area that offer a Medigap policy.

 

There are qualifiers -

age and/ or other access to Medicare

original Medicare - Parts A and B

your status as an enrollee - Medigap Open enrollment period or Guaranteed issue rights - if neither, you health history and probably the right to get some medical records.

 

There Are also things that are illegal -

Medicare.gov - Illegal Medigap Practices

 

Why is what's on the application so important to you ?

 

Like I said, you are not being denied Medicare - you have Medicare.

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Honored Social Butterfly

AARP and UHC have an affiliation agreement.  No big secret there.

Same is true of their other affiliates.

As the Medicare link says additional benefits can also be added and these, if any, have to be weighed against a person's needs and cost.

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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NO...their Medicare Supplements are FANTASTIC.  Even docs comment on how great our insurance is.  It is the ADVANTAGE plans that have had problems...NOT the Supplements.  But even the Advantage plans are upgrading and more and more doctors and hospitals are now taking them again. 

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Newbie

Yes, it is. They gladly collect a premium and delay paying even a one-night stay claim.They'll ask for multiple examples of itemized bills and never pay. Avoid it-it's a waste of money and only will aggrivate you.

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Sorry, but a Medicare Supplement does NOT work that way.  Medicare pays first and if Medicare pays then, by law, the Supplement does have to pay...depending on what Plan level you have.  We have Full coverage Plan F.  In the last 8 years, we have had easily $600,000 in claims and NEVER have had a single instance of a claim paying problem.  Not sure what Plan you have or if you have an ADVANTAGE plan instead of a SUPPLEMENT, but I guarantee, Plan F is a Godsend. 

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@Arturistar

 

Keep paying your Plan F premiums on time cause there might be a time in the not so distant future when there will be no more Plan F - you will be grandfathered but no more Medigap Plan F will be offered.  Reason being according to the government is that it is too generous - people need some skin in the game to use their plan wisely.

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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@GailL1 wrote:

 

Keep paying your Plan F premiums on time cause there might be a time in the not so distant future when there will be no more Plan F - you will be grandfathered but no more Medigap Plan F will be offered.  Reason being according to the government is that it is too generous - people need some skin in the game to use their plan wisely.


Gail, when you say "there might be a time in the not so distant future" are you referring to the first-dollar-coveage changes in Medgiap law that happened in the spring of 2015 (effective 2019 I think for new enrollees) or some other possiblity?

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Periodic Contributor

Gail,

Thanks for the heads up about Plan F may be ending.   I had planned to keep the plan, and pay the cost.  Like I said, I have been happy.   Fortunately I have been very healthy and rarely go to the doctor and only take 3 Tier 1 prescriptions, so I am sure they are making money on me.   I do like the security Plan F provides though.   Best of luck to all those who are trying to make sense out of all the plans and options.

 

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GailL1 wrote:
Keep paying your Plan F premiums on time cause there might be a time in the not so distant future when there will be no more Plan F - you will be grandfathered but no more Medigap Plan F will be offered.  Reason being according to the government is that it is too generous - people need some skin in the game to use their plan wisely.

IMO this idea the government has about Plan F is ridiculous. And to make matter worse, should Plan F become too expensive, the good old government gives no option to a person who can not pass medical underwriting except to stick with it or have no supplement at all (except in certain states which give people better options than the Feds.) My Plan F is getting very expensive but  even if I wanted to change, I could not due to a surgery that I will have to have some time in the next few years. I wrote to my US Senators about the issue of being locked in to a MedSup plan after the first six months on Medicare. One did not reply and the other said thank you for contacting me about the Affordable Care Act. Duh!!! Just reinforces my thinking that Congress does not really understand the workings of Medicare except that it costs a lot.

Chris

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Honored Social Butterfly

.Chris, as with any other Medigap plan that is no longer offered, if a person has Plan F now and keeps their premiums paid, they will continue to have the same plan.  It will just be closed to any further enrollment.

 

not being able to change Medigap plans because of medical underwriting or whatever is more of a state issue, that is to say a state insurance regulatory process or rule.  

 

The feds only develop the plans, states set the insurance regulatory rule about how rating and premiums occur.  

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Honored Social Butterfly

Hassiman,

After reading your comments and those on that consumer affairs board that you linked, I can see that there is a good bit of confusion.

 

I don't know how long you or those commenters have been in the Medicare program but it is made up of many different parts.

 

Your post heading says "supplemental" insurance which is Medigap coverage and there is not too much a private insurer in such a program as Medicare Medigap (supplemental) insurance can do to mess up since each of the plans are strictly defined by their alphabet title and coverage by Medicare although state insurance regulators can watch premiums and how those premiums are set in their state.

 

There is NO formulary medication coverage in a supplemental plan.

The only medications which cover the part that Medicare doesn't pay are the ones described in Medicare Part B or as described if you are hospitalized or institutionalized for recooperation for a period of time.

 

Normally with traditional Medicare, you buy a supplemental policy to augment it and then based on your medication needs, you buy a separate Medicare D policy.

 

Of course, seniors also have the choice of participating in Medicare Part C or s Medicare Advantage plan instead of participation in traditional Medicare, a supplemental policy and a prescription drug plan. 

 

Within a Medicare Advantage Plan the private insurer has some leeway as to the plan design but must still cover basically the same things as Medicare.  No Medigap or supplemental policy is needed with a Medicar Advantage plan.  Prescription Drug coverage may or may not be included in the Medicare Advantage plan as well as some other perks which may also be included in these Medicare Advantage (private insurer) plans.

 

Everybody has to pick and choose the type of Medicare which is best for them in coverage and in price.

 

some of the people responding on that consumer affairs site also seem to be confused.

 

I suggest that you begin reading everything on Medicare.gov for clearer understanding and what type Medicare Plans are best for you and your health needs.

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Thanks.... It is totally confusing which is why I decided posting a question on the AARP forum might get me some clarity.

 

 Given your reply how exactly would you define the plans AARP/United Health Care offer:

 

https://www.aarpmedicaresupplement.com/medicare-insurance/find-a-plan-download.html

 

It is a supplement by their definition... they say that they allow you to choose your own physician if the accept medicare.  Do I need to subscribe to medicare Part B as well as this medicare supplement?

 

I believe that "Medicare Advantage" plans are far more limiting... and may not be portable should one move to another state.  Is that not correct?

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Regular Social Butterfly

".......It is a supplement by their definition... they say that they allow you to choose your own physician if the accept medicare.  Do I need to subscribe to medicare Part B as well as this medicare supplement? "

__________________________________________________________________

 

No offense meant,   Hassiman, but your knowledge of Medicare seems quite shaky.    At least based on that last question you posed. 

 

Yes,  you have to be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B. (paying the monthly premiums for Part B I mean)  

 

  This is true whether you are on Original Medicare with a Supplement (Medigap) or if you decide to enroll in Part C (Medicare Advantage)

You still have to pay (or have your state pay if you are poor enough) the monthly Part B premium.   Currently $104.90 for most people;  higher for higher income people. 

 

In Calif you have the state protection of what is called the "Birthday Rule".   If you move to **bleep** you will lose that.

 

Slick UHC reps love to tout the "Birthday Rule" to Calif customers in the rather disingenuous way of making it sound as tho it is a company rule (AARP endorsed UnitedHealth Care) rather than a state-specific reg exclusive to Calif.    The state of Oregon has something similar,  but not technically the same,  and is not named the "Birthday Rule".

 

So,  tread very carefully when making this move.  Research,   research,  and research again Arizona Medigap premiums.   You might be in for an unpleasant surprise,  as in another recent thread,  a UHC customer was led down the garden path by greedy and unscrupulous reps when making a move from Connecticut to Florida.  

 

Be careful !  And,  please,  do some homework in the meantime and bone up on Medicare and how the various parts work.  You seem to be very much in the,  er,   dark here on the fine points.

 

Lack of knowledge can hurt -  some mistakes cannot be "undone"      

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Regular Social Butterfly

Am really loving this AARP new software 

 

Apparently if you write the official USPS abbreviation for the state of Arizona it becomes   -

 

** B L E E P **

 

S T U P I D ,     S T U P I D,     S T U P I D   

Gold Conversationalist


@Hassiman wrote:

Thanks.... It is totally confusing which is why I decided posting a question on the AARP forum might get me some clarity. Given your reply how exactly would you define the plans AARP/United Health Care offer:

 

https://www.aarpmedicaresupplement.com/medicare-insurance/find-a-plan-download.html

 

It is a supplement by their definition... they say that they allow you to choose your own physician if the accept medicare.  Do I need to subscribe to medicare Part B as well as this medicare supplement? I believe that "Medicare Advantage" plans are far more limiting... and may not be portable should one move to another state.  Is that not correct?


The plans at the link you provided are private Medigap plans as described by Gail in her response to you in the second comment on this thread.

 

Medicare Advantage plans are both more limited and less limited. They are mostly HMOs and PPOs so the providers are limited to whomever is in the HMO or PPO. (This has nothing to do with Medicare; that's the way HMOs and PPOs work. Over 100,000,000 people in the U.S. not on Medicare are in HMOs and PPOs.) And you are right they are limited in a way to given counties in the U.S. (but almost every county has some to choose from) just as Medigap plans are limited in a way by state (although some Medigap plans let you take them with you if you legally change your residence). Public Part C Medicare Advantage plans are less limited in that they typically cover more services than and cost less (even though they have co-pays) than the combination of Original Medicare and a Medigap plan and all have an annual out of pocket spend limit (most Medigap plans do not)

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