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

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Periodic Contributor

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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Periodic Contributor

  If You question practices or attitudes you will get 1,000 emails pointing about your mistake.  With that said, it is important you know that there is NO....ZERO... advocacy or advantage/benefit to using AARP vs any other commercially available coverage.  Also, this is not a not for profit org in the truest sense of the word...they return nothing material back to the members directly so the billion they rake in from the carriers they recommend do not make your life better as mar as your medical.  There is also influence from AARP on the medicare operations and the claim reviewers they contract out to.  So AARP is very much a part of the "deny, deny, deny they won't appeal" sector and nothing in their writings or relationships or advocacy or politics is of any effect on that being an issue.

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Robert, you are basically correct that all the commercial Medicare Supplemental plans are basically the same. Since I have had to have a supplemental plan since I turned 57 due to being disabled (therefore with AARP Medicare Supplemental for 17 years ) I can attest that My coverage is very good. Note: what I did find out from moving from NJ - to PA and now to Florida each state appears to calculate rates differently Plus some customer service experiences over the years have not been very good But for ME in general I have found that my bills get paid quickly, never denied. And yes you are also correct that AARP does push users into strongly suggesting their vendors ie phones, auto insurance, etc dental (note I never use the dental since I found those listed as in the network were terribel So one needs to be a savvy But one small thing is some of the negative reviews listed regarding the insurance is not for the AARP supplemental but rather the Advantage which is totally different  (yes a lot cheaper but much more restrictive)


@Robert0B wrote:

  If You question practices or attitudes you will get 1,000 emails pointing about your mistake.  With that said, it is important you know that there is NO....ZERO... advocacy or advantage/benefit to using AARP vs any other commercially available coverage.  Also, this is not a not for profit org in the truest sense of the word...they return nothing material back to the members directly so the billion they rake in from the carriers they recommend do not make your life better as mar as your medical.  There is also influence from AARP on the medicare operations and the claim reviewers they contract out to.  So AARP is very much a part of the "deny, deny, deny they won't appeal" sector and nothing in their writings or relationships or advocacy or politics is of any effect on that being an issue.


 

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Note AARP supplemental is great (read my text just from This year!) The Advantage programs are basically like HMO's with limited coverage, some with large deductibles, limited networks etc

‎01-17-2023 10:34 PM

 

First Medicare Supplemental is so much different from the Medicare Advantage plans. I have always always always heard horror stories regarding the Advantage plans with denials/ increases /doctor changes etc etc etc. But the Supplementals, I have had for years (since turning 65 as has my husband) So 4 years now! We never pay 1 cent for anything! True we have plan F (as now it is not offered anymore substituted with plan G)! Every other year our doctor tests All our heart arteries for heart issues/ stroke/ ekg's/eco's/ Cat scans of the tummy / MRI's for sciatic issues/shots for the sciatic issues and never ever ever have been denied or pay anything Ever!

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You more than likely have been not checking the correct AARP Medicare Supplemental reviews as the Advantage programs are not that great for coverage. I heard horror stories of denials limited network, long waits for appointments etc etc etc. ie look at my review from just Jan of 2023 (this year)!

‎01-17-2023 10:34 PM

 

First Medicare Supplemental is so much different from the Medicare Advantage plans. I have always always always heard horror stories regarding the Advantage plans with denials/ increases /doctor changes etc etc etc. But the Supplementals, I have had for years (since turning 65 as has my husband) So 4 years now! We never pay 1 cent for anything! True we have plan F (as now it is not offered anymore substituted with plan G)! Every other year our doctor tests All our heart arteries for heart issues/ stroke/ ekg's/eco's/ Cat scans of the tummy / MRI's for sciatic issues/shots for the sciatic issues and never ever ever have been denied or pay anything Ever!

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First Medicare Supplemental is so much different from the Medicare Advantage plans. I have always always always heard horror stories regarding the Advantage plans with denials/ increases /doctor changes etc etc etc. But the Supplementals, I have had for years (since turning 65 as has my husband) So 4 years now! We never pay 1 cent for anything! True we have plan F (as now it is not offered anymore substituted with plan G)! Every other year our doctor tests All our heart arteries for heart issues/ stroke/ ekg's/eco's/ Cat scans of the tummy / MRI's for sciatic issues/shots for the sciatic issues and never ever ever have been denied or pay anything Ever!

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Newbie

We're having a heck of a time trying to disenroll from UHC. We called to disenroll 12/7/22 and just now got a bill for January 2023. In trying to obtain some adovcacy from AARP through their chat, they just said call UHC. I wouldn't get this insurance if I were you.

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The best way to disenroll from uhc is to call medicare.  They do it over phone.

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Call customer service number on the back of your card...talk to a LIVE person not a chat because some chats are computers not people.  If it is a paper bill, write on it Canceled as of 12-7-23.  If it is a bank draft, they will refund the money.  Do not wait...Call  Advantage plans auto cancel when changed. SUPPLEMENTS DO NOT CANCEL TILL YOU CALL AND TELL THEM. 

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If you changed to a different plan the company that you switched to should of been the one to contact UHC Medicare. For us that was how it went smooth as silk! 

 

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Honored Social Butterfly

We have that supplemental now for a few years. and we love it. in Florida we don' have a montly fee just copays and hey have all the doctors that we need and want. we have a PPO complete and we really like it.

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Periodic Contributor

let me give a 2023 update.  I am in Florida.  These clowns turned down an annual prostate and pelvic MRI reimbursement for someone with prostate cancer.  Nuff said.

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@Robert0B 

There is NO ANNUAL prostate and pelvic MRI - 

If it was for screening there are only two ways and MRI isn’t one of t them.

CMS.gov Medicare National Determination of Coverage- Prostate Cancer Screening.

ANYTHING that Medicare covers - traditional program or Medicare Advantage - has to be (1) medically necessary and (2) founded in science as to BEST Practices.

 

It could have been a coding error on somebody’s part or it could have been that the test didn’t fit with the diagnosis code or the other  test for cancer weren’t done and this is just a step thing.

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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You do know that if Medicare (the GOVERNMENT) approved the MRI, then UHC HAS to pay ...they cannot turn down anything.  Now maybe you have a Medicare ADVANTAGE policy and that is very different from a Medicare SUPPLEMENT. 

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Aetna Medicare has been a positive experience for me the last 4 years.

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I have had plan for many years, utilized the wellness plan year after year.Now  to be told denied coverage of an additional mammographic view or ultrsound for a complete evaluation needed is so disheartening. Apparently, the yearly mammo received revealed concerns. I have to wait out another year to be authorized for this company to pay for that yearly exam ? I cannot afford the additional imaging, what can I do????

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@CarolynL684209 wrote:

I have had plan for many years, utilized the wellness plan year after year.Now  to be told denied coverage of an additional mammographic view or ultrsound for a complete evaluation needed is so disheartening. Apparently, the yearly mammo received revealed concerns. I have to wait out another year to be authorized for this company to pay for that yearly exam ? I cannot afford the additional imaging, what can I do????


 

All insurance plans, even Traditional Medicare, work the same in this regards.

 

You get:

 

  • A Screening mammograms once every 12 months if you’re a woman age 40 or older - that's the "Wellness" part or the "Preventative" test.
  • Diagnostic mammograms more frequently than once a year, if MEDICALLY NECESSARY.

If your doctor orders an additional mammogram because of something which needs to be reviewed, then it is a diagnostic procedure NOT WELLNESS. 

 

As long as it is medically necessary for a potential diagnosis, then your insurance company will cover it under the terms of your policy for diagnostic procedures.  Your copays and other related cost will apply.

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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OMG.  Medicare (the government) pays first.  UHC, BY LAW, cannot deny the claim if Medicare has paid first.  THAT IS IF YOU HAVE A SUPPLEMENT.  If you have an ADVANTAGE policy, that works very differently and your doc has to show medical necessity for an ADVANTAGE policy. 

 

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Newbie

This is a difficult question to answer coming from my wife and myself because thus far we have been pretty healthy. No major physical ills and no medications.

 

We have been AARP United Healthcare Medicare customers since 2011 and have paid them a total of $30,092.41 in premiums during this time. Here is our issue with UHC. After being together for 20 years my wife and I were married in 2013. She kept the married name she was using at the time. This past February my wife decided to change from the name she was using since being in elementary school to her birth name, which meant she needed to correct her name on her social security card, drivers license, investment account, credit cards, checking, and savings accounts. You know, the really important accounts. Lastly, she needed to get her name corrected on the AARP UHC Medicare ID card. They requested I send a copy of our marriage license with a note stated what we wanted her name to be change to for the correction. After a month, I called. The representative said they couldn't locate the information I sent. So I resent a copy of the marriage license, Florida Drivers License, and birth certificate as requested.  Again, didn't hear from them so after a month I called. The rep did find the documents she said, but that the marriage license didn't have the corrected name on it. I told her that was because we were married 7 years ago and my wife recently her name. No, the birth certificate (the Holy Grail for "what is your real name") wasn't good enough, nor the Florida drivers license. What was needed? The rep said we needed to go to the Courthouse and change the name on the marriage license. This was about the time that I lost it. I commented that my wife didn't have a problem signing up for insurance using her nominal name and now that she wishes to change it to her legal name there is a problem? Didn't make a lot of sense to me. Talked to a rep today and she commented that they sent my wife a letter on March 16th stated what they needed. We never received this letter. I checked emails ... nothing received. This rep stated they needed a "document", but I couldn't get what "document" they needed. She said that a passport would do it. So my wife found her passport of twenty years ago with her legal, birthname and married last name. But, no, the rep said it needed to state her present married name. Mind you, the passport was from 20 years ago, and my wife and I were married 7 years ago. 

 

Obviously, this is an outliner. But give me a break. I told the rep that my wife has her insurance card and providers know who she is so at the end of the year we can cancel our insurance and go to another company and have the correct, legal name on her insurance card. Unbelievable.

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Honored Social Butterfly

@GraceA541853 

 

Seems to me that they should have used the same supporting documents which were used to change her name with the Social Security Administration for Social Security AND MEDICARE which should have been the Court documents showing the legal name change.

 

Nowhere in your post did I see where there had been communication with Medicare (CMS) on this matter.  When the name was changed on Social Security, it should have been followed thru with a change to Medicare and a new Medicare card issued - from that point the Medicare Advantage plan info would be easy to change with the new Medicare card and the finalized Court documents on the name change.

 

SSA: FAQ - How do I change or correct my name on my Social Security number card? 

 

Medicare.gov - Your Medicare Card 

 

 

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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I had a similar situation happen (years ago when I went on soc sec disability at 55). Rather than go through a huge explanation of what I needed to do or why , bottom line I needed to go down directly to a Social Security Office to have them coordinate the name changes with Medicare and therefore having my case worker coordinate everything with an insurance company. Everything went smoothly but took some time with me constantly on the phone with my rep handling my case at social security! But as I said that was years ago . I know within the last number of years due to very very strict laws issued due to protection of privacy of one's health records, extra precautions , sometimes very restrictive , so I can appreciate your pain and stress with trying to change everything . Good luck trying to call anyone at the Social Security or even Medicare as even before the virus thing you could wait online up to an hour! Since your situation sounds even more complex than what I went through years ago, perhaps you need to go in person to the Medicare Admin office explain the entire situation with them, get a claim number and see if They will be able to contact AARP to process the name change. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have to say it really really is as as bad as the customer reviews say. I just got denied a cardiac stress test that my doctor ordered after I have had a stroke. My doctor said there's nothing he can do about it. That's about as bad as it gets. United Healthcare is endangering my health. I have to sign up with another provider. Their revenues last year were $226.2 billion because of cost saving moves like this. DO NOT SIGN UP FOR UNITED HEALTHCARE!

 

They'll take your money and let you die before they'll give you even basic healthcare.

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@JimL612564 wrote:

I have to say it really really is as as bad as the customer reviews say. I just got denied a cardiac stress test that my doctor ordered after I have had a stroke. My doctor said there's nothing he can do about it. That's about as bad as it gets. United Healthcare is endangering my health. I have to sign up with another provider. Their revenues last year were $226.2 billion because of cost saving moves like this. DO NOT SIGN UP FOR UNITED HEALTHCARE!

 

They'll take your money and let you die before they'll give you even basic healthcare.


I'm guessing that you have a Medicare Advantage plan rather than traditional Medicare with a Medigap plan.

 

Just a denial of service is useless to you in assigning where the blame may lie WITHOUT KNOWING THE REASON FOR SUCH A DENIAL.

 

Various test, therapies, treatments, even medications all work together under a diagnosis basis -

Strokes and Heart Attacks are different - bound together by  the overall heading of circulatory system.

Strokes = clot formation in circulatory system > gets to brain

Heart Attack or Heart muscle problem > problem with muscle itself

Could they be linked together, yes, but there would be other signs -

 

Find out WHY any physician recommended medical care is denied regardless of who is doing the denying.  It is the WHY that is important.

 

Once you find out the whatever logic for the denial and still think you are being slighted, you can determine whether or not to file a complaint against a Medicare plan -

Medicare.gov - Filing A complaint About Your Quality of Care

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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I have had AARP supplemental (F) for years and never ever once have been denied Anything, Plus never ever see any biills! Only one time , due to the wrong coding by a doctor's billing dept, was there an issue (but once it was coded correctly it went right thru).

Perhaps an insurance agent needs to discuss the different types of insurance plans as remember Not all supplemental plans are the same, plus the difference in the advanatge plans( which needs prior approvals and won't approve everything!). My suggestiion is if you are a sickly person or one with many health issues the plans F and C are the best as no matter how many hospital stays , urgent care visits or "procedures" you have without any primary care doctor approvals first You never see bills! Yes these plans are more costly but you have the peace of mind of being able to see any doctor, in any state, without the worry of having to pay sometimes thousands after the fact!! 

Also note that all Medicare insurance companies offer the Supplemental plans with very little difference in costs!


@GailL1 wrote:

@JimL612564 wrote:

I have to say it really really is as as bad as the customer reviews say. I just got denied a cardiac stress test that my doctor ordered after I have had a stroke. My doctor said there's nothing he can do about it. That's about as bad as it gets. United Healthcare is endangering my health. I have to sign up with another provider. Their revenues last year were $226.2 billion because of cost saving moves like this. DO NOT SIGN UP FOR UNITED HEALTHCARE!

 

They'll take your money and let you die before they'll give you even basic healthcare.


I'm guessing that you have a Medicare Advantage plan rather than traditional Medicare with a Medigap plan.

 

Just a denial of service is useless to you in assigning where the blame may lie WITHOUT KNOWING THE REASON FOR SUCH A DENIAL.

 

Various test, therapies, treatments, even medications all work together under a diagnosis basis -

Strokes and Heart Attacks are different - bound together by  the overall heading of circulatory system.

Strokes = clot formation in circulatory system > gets to brain

Heart Attack or Heart muscle problem > problem with muscle itself

Could they be linked together, yes, but there would be other signs -

 

Find out WHY any physician recommended medical care is denied regardless of who is doing the denying.  It is the WHY that is important.

 

Once you find out the whatever logic for the denial and still think you are being slighted, you can determine whether or not to file a complaint against a Medicare plan -

Medicare.gov - Filing A complaint About Your Quality of Care

 

 


 

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@alexiss12 wrote:

Also note that all Medicare insurance companies offer the Supplemental plans with very little difference in costs!



Medigap plans can vary in cost greatly - sometimes by your attained age or by your age when you get the supplemental policy.  Cost also vary by state and area of a state. 

 

On the other hand, a lot of Medicare beneficiaries can't afford a Medigap plan.  They are financially wedged between not being able to afford a monthly premium for a supplemental plan (Medigap) to pick up that 20% of their Medicare cost and making or having too much to qualify for dual coverage with Medicare and Medicaid.

 

So they may pick a Medicare Advantage plan that works in their area.

 

Traditional Medicare can deny services.  Have you never had to sign a Medicare ABN in a doctors office?  It actually might mean that if you have [whatever] done, Medicare might not pay for the service and if Medicare doesn't pay, your supplemental won't pay either.

Medicare.gov - Advanced Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage

 

When something medical is denied by Medicare, the care is usually already done and thus the provider tries to get the beneficiary to pay or if a hospital, it might be covered by Medicare's Bad Debt Fund.

 

Some beneficiary's might file an appeal for coverage- a long process of going back and forth with them about covering something.  Medicare.gov - How do I file an appeal?

I filed one about a specific thing years ago and it took over a year with lots of correspondence, proof and medical info to get it paid.  There are 5 different levels in the Medicare appeals process -

Medicare.gov - Filing an Appeal if you have original Medicare

Kind of like a property tax appeal, it goes from one level to the next if you keep appealing it.  Finally, they did reimburse me - $ 250 - was it worth it in time and energy - NO - it was the principal of the thing, know what I mean.  I usually go down fighting - only had to get to level 3..  Woman Wink

 

There are a few things that have to have prior approval under traditional medicare - durable medical equipment and a few doctor services and of course, traditional Medicare does not cover all care but sometimes the beneficiary finds out about it after the fact - best to check or watch for those ABN's in a doctor office setting. 

 

I haven't checked in a while but at one time in late 2016, Medicare had about 300,000 appeals in process -

 

One of the really BIG areas of appeals is when a beneficiary goes to the ER, doc keeps them but under an "observation status" - not a true "admission".  Then they are sent to a skilled nursing facility without being ever officially admitted to a hospital for 3-consecutives days.

The rule states you need to be admitted as an inpatient for three consecutive days to qualify for a stay in a skilled nursing facility. ... Even if your hospital stay is longer than two midnights, those days cannot be converted to inpatient status after the fact.

So what happens is the SNF is not paid by Medicare.

 

The rule is still there - but in the last few years, the hospital now has to give you some written notice of your status in 24 hours.  Still some people get caught in this debacle cause everybody doesn't understand it or have an advocate present.

 

I've learned to Never say Never and situations change between people.

Medicare.gov - Inpatient or outpatient hospital status affects your costs

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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In the wake of perusing your remarks and those on that shopper issues board that you connected, I can see that there is a decent piece of perplexity.

I don't have a clue to what extent you or those analysts have been in the Medicare program however it is comprised of a wide range of parts.

Your post heading says "supplemental" protection which is Medigap inclusion and there isn't a lot of a private back up plan in such a program as Medicare Medigap (supplemental) protection can do to wreck since every one of the plans are carefully characterized by their letters in order title and inclusion by Medicare in spite of the fact that state protection controllers can watch premiums and how those premiums are set in their state.

There is NO model medicine inclusion in a supplemental arrangement.

The main prescriptions which spread the part that Medicare doesn't pay are the ones portrayed in Medicare Part B or as depicted in the event that you are hospitalized or organized for recooperation for a timeframe.

Typically with customary Medicare, you purchase a supplemental strategy to increase it and after that dependent on your medicine needs, you purchase a different Medicare D approach.

Obviously, seniors additionally have the decision of taking an interest in Medicare Part C or s Medicare Advantage plan rather than support in conventional myaarpMedicare, a supplemental approach and a physician recommended tranquilize plan.

Inside a Medicare Advantage Plan the private safety net provider has some space with regards to the arrangement configuration yet should in any case spread fundamentally indistinguishable things from Medicare. No Medigap or supplemental approach is required with a Medicar Advantage plan. Physician recommended Drug inclusion could conceivably be incorporated into the Medicare Advantage plan just as some different advantages which may likewise be incorporated into these Medicare Advantage (private safety net provider) plans.

Everyone needs to pick and pick the kind of Medicare which is best for them in inclusion and in cost.

a portion of the general population reacting on that buyer undertakings site additionally appear to be confounded.

Keep Calm!!
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I have AARP United healthcare and am afraid to go to a specialist. My Rheumatologist was also my primary for over 15 years but I had to find a new primary because I can't afford the high copays of being out of network. Speaking over the phone with United healthcare, once I was told my doctor was in network while my doctor let me know he wasn't and when calling uhc again I was inform that he was only in network at my specialist yet when i try to look him up to be sure I'm not able to find him at all. So I had to find a new primary and still see my Rheumatologist. But now he wants to send me to a surgeon for a turn meniscus that hasn't healed within 8 months but I decided to try and live with it because the surgeon is also out of network and I'm afraid to even ask if that's what i did to my ankle too? AND ... That sales agent that came to my house to sell me this policy has trouble finding him but managed to after a while of looking. I now how he found him now. And the agent told me that I couldn't get on plan F because I was under 65. My husband lost his job due to company closed and I had no choice but to get a supplemental. A few days later I decided to call Medicare and they told me I did qualify since I had just lost my private health insurance and had been on disability. I called and left messages with the agent and even spoke with AARP United healthcare and they refused to change the policy or even try to send the application through. They refused my eyedrops for severe dry eye caused by radiation treatment to my brain tumor causing me to develop psoriasis on the white of my eye on which my eye doctor informed me is going to cause me to go blind. Choose very carefully and study up on the different groups.

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You do know that Supplements HAVE NO NETWORKS...RIGHT?  any doctor that takes Medicare has to take a Supplement with no referrals....NO NETWORKS.  IF you have to stay in network, you do NOT have a Supplement.  You have an ADVANTAGE plan.

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@Momsbigger

 

Diana, after reading your post I have determined that you need some specialized help to

1.   explain the various ways which you can get your Medicare benefits - Traditional Medicare with or without a Medicare Supplemental plan OR a Medicare Advantage plan

2.  from that point, they should be able to take your specific information and circumstances and make sure you have what you need, including, depending upon which way you are getting your benefit, a list of doctors that take that type of coverage.

3.  You also need to make sure that the benefit that you have is the best one for you now and/or if you should change to something else at open enrollment or when you turn 65, since I believe you said you are younger than that now.

 

From the way you are describing your AARP UHC plan - it sounds like a Medicare Advantage Plan which does work with networks of doctors. 

 

Most States have a volunteer counselor program under their SHIP program (State Health Insurance Assistance Program).  They are suppose to be well versed in Medicare and all its options and choices. 

 

Here is how you can find one in your state because I believe you need help in your understanding of your current coverage - understanding it should help with using it.  Or maybe you need another option when and if available..

Medicare.gov - State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) - Find Your State Contact

 

Do you have anybody assigned with Medicare that can act on your behalf with Medicare - they would help you understand your options based on your specific needs.  They would help you pick what is best for you.  Ask you SHIP couselor about how you could find or pick someone to help you and the paperwork you need to complete with Medicare for them to talk to Medicare about your benefits or you Medicare Advantage plan provider or even agent.

 

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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If your husband lost his job, he should be able to go onto Cobra, which lasts for up to 18 months! That is what I did when I went on disability at 57. I paid a higher premium but was covered for the 18 months and then went on the AARP United Healthcare Supplemental. I decided to go onto plan C which is pretty good like F where you can use any doctor who accepts Medicare. (Plan F pays a little more if the doctor charges over what is customary whereas with plan C one Can be charged the difference, but that never happened to me at all and I had the plan C for almost 7 year years until I went onto Medciare at 65). The Advantage Plans ypu appear to be suggesting are mostly all like HMO where you are forced to go in network (or pay higher co pays)Basically you should check out Cobra first, then if for some reason your husband can't get Cobra(although he should be able to for the both of you), then ask AARP reps (I did mine over the phone) to explain the differences in the Advantage verses Supplemental Insurances :if you have other questions

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