In the US, an independent study held by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) reported that in 2022, 9500+ Medicare Advantage (MA) commercials aired PER DAY. Celebrities like William Devane, George Forman, Joe Namath, and JJ ‘Dy-no-mite’ Jimmy Walker presented many of these. Most of these commercials neglect to mention certain limitations of their plans, such as their network of providers or the hoops they may have to jump through to get the affordable care they were expecting to have.  

Two cases, in point, come from my parents. 

My father, a very intelligent man, is also very trusting. He purchased a Medicare plan based on a friend’s recommendation, but he didn’t know if it was a Medicare Advantage or a Medigap plan, what it covered, or what it didn’t! 

Not knowing the difference can result in a nightmare for some seniors. My mother, a retired NICU nurse of over 40 years, was having lunch with some of her former nursing friends. One of her friends was sharing how much extra work and unanticipated expenses there were now that she needed to use her health insurance due to enhanced medical issues. She is on a fixed budget and is concerned because she thought she was ‘covered’ without having her coverage and associated expenses described to her.  Due to her original selection and her healthcare needs, she cannot switch to the plan she would have likely selected if she had known what options she had and the pros and cons of each. 

Medicare Advantage plans can be an excellent fit for many people, and there are methods for supplementing a Medicare Advantage plan with support/coverage for health-related things that may concern you as an INDIVIDUAL rather than a blanket policy. What is most important is knowing and understanding what Medicare plan you are stepping into, the pros and cons, and how it will or may fit into your budget.  All plans are not created equally. Some may be presented as ‘of no charge to you,’ which in itself is a deceptive statement. However, some plans offer ‘extra benefits.’ 

 It’s about UNDERSTANDING what coverage you are selecting. There is no right or wrong answer, just a choice. There are people who genuinely care and are knowledgeable about Medicare plans and options and can guide you through securing the option that best fits your needs. I have nothing against ‘Dy-no-mite’ JJ Walker or Big George Foreman, but as you turn 65 or as questions arise throughout the year, finding a trusted Medicare Insurance Agent to discuss and review your options with you would significantly strengthen your choice in coverage. 

 

Lucas Richmond is the Medicare specialist at Premier Mountain Insurance.