3-in-30 Webinar Series: 3 Mistakes When Turning 65 & Still Working

It used to be that, at age 65, people would retire and get Medicare. Not any longer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 9 million Americans 65 or older reported being employed full- or part-time. And still working at Medicare age comes with costly and complicated traps.

The following video of the 3-in-30 webinar (3 Medicare tips in 30 minutes or less) presented on March 15, 2017 teaches you about the three most common and easy-to-make mistakes that your clients still bringing home a paycheck can make.

Session Objectives:

  • Identify one potential problem about contributing to an HSA after age 65.
  • Describe one Medicare enrollment trap for those who sign up for early Social Security.
  • Explain how a Medicare penalty situation relates to working past 65.
  • ...plus more!

3-in30 Webinar Series: 3 Costly Medicare Mistakes & How to Help Your Clients Avoid Them3

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In this recording of a live webinar hosted on February 15, 2017, nationally-recognized Medicare expert, Diane J. Omdahl, RN, MS, explains how you can help your clients avoid three of the most costly Medicare mistakes.

Why is it critical that you help your clients with Medicare enrollment?

  • 3.6 million people turn 65 each year and become eligible for Medicare.
  • For each of these people, Medicare enrollment is complex and scary. In fact, a single mistake can cost thousands of dollars a year for the rest of one's life.
  • These people want unbiased, individualized Medicare guidance from someone they trust—that's you.
  • Financial Planners Need to Know Their Medicare Stuff

    But, that does not mean that you have to have all those Medicare regulations memorized...

    If you're like most financial professionals today, you most likely get questions from your clients (or prospective clients) about Medicare.

    Unfortunately, these professionals tell us that they best they can do to help their clients is to refer them to Medicare.gov, a local Social Security office or an insurance agent. ...Not exactly an ideal way to handle questions from valued clients.


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    Watch Your Mailbox for Unrequested “Seamless Conversions”

    It’s a Baby Boomer’s worst nightmare: the deluge of information, both digital and analog, masks a single piece of Medicare-related mail that is responsible for costing you thousands upon thousands of dollars in unwanted costs. Forms sent by sanctioned Medicare Advantage plan providers—or if you’re lucky, a few separately-mailed items—throw a massive monkey wrench in your financial plans.

    It’s an all too common scenario, unfortunately. Medicare is a complicated system, and the urgent months leading up to a person’s 65th birthday make the service even more difficult.

    Here is one of many potential Medicare Advantage-related pitfalls to be cautious of as you approach the age of 65: “seamless conversion.”

    The importance of opting out

    The Medicare Manual allows Medicare Advantage plan sponsors to “seamlessly” auto-enroll people turning 65 in their programs, as long as the person was already enrolled in coverage through the same insurance provider—to “seamlessly convert”. The sponsor is required only to engage in “outreach activity ...including a written notice provided to each individual on how to opt-out, or decline, the seamless conversion enrollment.”

    Those turning 65 receive many mailings from many Medicare Advantage plan sponsors in the months before their birthday. It’s possible that these people discard much of this information, especially if they’ve decided on the Medicare plan they want. If they miss the chance to opt out, they will be enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan automatically. They may not know this has happened until their doctor or hospital bills are rejected because they went out of the plan’s network. All because of some missed mail.

    Approaching 65? On an individual plan? Pay attention to the mail. You don’t want to miss any opt-out communications from Medicare Advantage plan sponsors. It’s all too easy to miss a piece of mail, and even more so as we age.

    Though navigating the world of Medicare can be very confusing, i65 and 65 Incorporated are here to help. For more information about seamless conversion and other topics, head to the 65 Incorporated blog page, where Medicare expert Diane J. Omdahl, RN, MS shares her wisdom on the twists and turns of the service.

     

    Our biggest advice during this open enrollment season

    You probably aren’t surprised at this point, but signing up for Medicare can be very, very complicated. That’s why we’ve put together a short list of important things to be on the lookout for during this year’s open enrollment season. It’s no substitute for reading our other entries on the subject, or contacting us for a consultation, but if you remember these recommendations, it will go a long way toward making sure you don’t end up with thousands of dollars in unnecessary fees and bills!

    We recently spoke to TheStreet.com about what to avoid, what to watch and how to best navigate the Medicare open enrollment process. Here’s what they had to say about our biggest recommendation, to pay attention as closely as you can:

    The single biggest mistake when it comes to Open Enrollment: Not paying attention, said Diane Omdahl, CEO of 65 Incorporated, a Medicare enrollment assistance organization. Her point is this: many of us, in the crush of day-to-day life, never get around to closely eyeballing our coverage and how it meshes with our health needs. That's a mistake nowadays because insurers are especially jiggling drug formularies - what drugs they cover and at what rate - and drugs that had cost $5 per month may jump to over $100… Always look at exactly how your prescriptions are treated and change plans to get a better deal. A recent Medicare Choice and Impact study from eHealth claims that, had Part D enrollees optimized their plan choice for their personal drug needs, they would have saved an average of $898 in 2016. And that same study claimed only a tiny fraction of Part D enrollees are in fact in their optimal plan.

    The Street goes on to list several more recommendations, including the mistake of assuming your doctors are still in network, buying your plan based on the name of the insurer and more. You can read the entire article by visiting The Street online.

    Though navigating the world of Medicare can be very confusing, i65 and 65 Incorporated are here to help. For more information about open enrollment and other topics, head to the 65 Incorporated blog page, where Medicare expert Diane J. Omdahl, RN, MS shares her wisdom on the twists and turns of the service.

    Check for Sanctions Before Settling on a Medicare Provider During Open or Initial Enrollment

    Cigna plans sanctioned, check the Medicare.gov database for sanctioned providers

    It’s all well and good to secure your Medicare plan, but one of the many, many things you and your financial planner need to be aware of is the growing list of Medicare plan providers who are under sanctions from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This is complicated even further by a recent decision by the CMS to no longer automatically reduce the star ratings for contracts under sanction

    In the case of Cigna, which has been under CMS sanctions since January 21, this means hundreds of millions of dollars in bonus payments for some of its Medicare plans—the same plans that led to sanctions in the first place.

    The January 2016 sanctions were imposed for “mismanaging those plans in ways that federal officials said threatened seniors’ health and safety,” according to Kaiser Health News.

    Cigna’s Medicare plans cover around 493,000 members in 18 states and were sanctioned after a CMS announced that Cigna had received “numerous” notices of noncompliance, warning letters and corrective notices over the last several years. Cigna “had experienced widespread and systemic failures affecting Cigna enrollees’ ability to obtain medical services and prescription medications,” according to CMS and Kaiser Health News.

    Other Medicare plan providers that are under sanction can be found via www.CMS.gov, or by contacting i65 and 65 Incorporated.

    Though navigating the world of Medicare can be very confusing, i65 and 65 Incorporated are here to help. For more information about sanctioned Medicare plan providers and other topics, head to the 65 Incorporated blog page, where Medicare expert Diane J. Omdahl, RN, MS, shares her wisdom on the twists and turns of the service.

    In Medicare Part D Plans, Cheapest is Not Always Best: Copay vs. Coinsurance

    Several high profile cases in the last year have demonstrated how the cost for life-saving drugs or treatment can increase dramatically without warning. The narratives of Epipen and the anti-parasitic drug Daraprim tell the heart-rending tale of patients abruptly unable to afford a drug that they desperately needed.

    It’s advisable to keep these stories in mind when selecting or changing your health insurance, particularly during open enrollment season and any time you’re assessing your Medicare coverage.

    To help make sure you aren’t bearing the brunt of dramatic cost increases for drugs, treatment or other items, it’s very important to understand the difference between copay and coinsurance, and why you would want one over the other.

    The easiest way to understand copay vs. coinsurance is simply learn from the experience of another:

    While comparing her options for Part D prescription drug plans, 65-year-old Janice noticed that she had the option of paying a $50 copay for one of her brand-name medication or a coinsurance payment of 20% percent on another plan. Since the cost of her prescription at the time was $150, she choose the plan with the 20% percent coinsurance payment after calculating that she’d save $20 per month on this medication.
    Unfortunately for Jancie, just a few months after enrolling in the plan with coinsurance, the price of her medication spiked 300% to $450. With a coinsurance of 20%, the price of her medication increased to $90 a month. However, if she had chosen the plan with the copay, she'd still be paying just $50 a month.

    By choosing a plan with a copay rather than the one with coinsurance, Medicare beneficiaries can insulate themselves from unexpected increases in prescription drug costs. The cost savings could be dramatic.

    Take, for example, the case of Novalog, a diabetic medication. Over the course of one year, price of this brand name medication exploded from about $400 per refill to almost $1,300. Using Janice's choices of a $50 copay versus a 20% insurance, the difference in price would be $210.

    Those kinds of prescription drug spikes aren’t something you see every day, but they are certainly happening more often, particularly as the Baby Boomer population ages.

    Though navigating the world of Medicare can be very confusing, i65 and 65 Incorporated are here to help. For more information about coinsurance and other crucial Medicare topics, visit to vast library of Medicare-related topics at the 65 Incorporated website. You'll find free quizzes, infographics, articles and more from the consultative team led by Medicare expert, Diane J. Omdahl, RN, MS.