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1. Medicare Decoder    2. Basics    3. Advantage vs. Original    4. Compare Plans    5. Via HP or HPE    6. Trouble; Contacts

Advantage vs. Original Medicare. "Place your bet."  (Whether or not receiving benefits from or subsidized by HP or HPE.)

Advice and reference info from members. (Updated Nov 14, 2022.)  Website operated by volunteers. Not officially endorsed or supported. Comments: info@hpalumni.org

The major decision is between Medicare Advantage vs. Original Medicare + Medigap + Drug.

"With an Advantage plan, they make more money if they give you less care. You are betting against the house. With Original Medicare + Medigap + a drug plan, they make more money if they give you more care. Your risk is paying higher prices for more care than necessary." --member

The primary source on this issue is the official "Medicare & You 2023" book. It is well done.

Even if you are only interested in Advantage or Medigap plans, go through the sections in order.

You can download the "Medicare & You 2023" book from the official Medicare.gov site. https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/10050-Medicare-and-You.pdf 

Even if you have a paper copy, download the current file and use Adobe Reader's search feature to find specific words or phrases. (Press "Ctrl" and "F" together on a PC -- or "Command" and "F" on a Mac.) The pdf file is very well done --terms, phrases, and issues are hotlinked to sections in the book or to other articles on the site.

Official Medicare articles on Advantage vs. Original Medicare:

"Things to know about Medicare Advantage Plans"

Medigap: "How Medicare works with other insurance" COBRA, "4 things to find out about your retiree coverage"  "Buy a policy when you're first eligible" "Medigap & travel"

"Guaranteed issue rights" -- when insurance companies "...must sell you a Medigap policy, must cover all your pre-existing health conditions, and can't charge you more because of past or present health problems."

Changing between Medigap and Advantage plans

AARP article: "The Big Choice: Original Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage"
https://www.aarp.org/health/medicare-insurance/info-2020/original-medicare-vs-advantage.html  [AARP membership not required.]

Consumer Reports article Nov 3, 2022: "Popular Advantage plans come with some risks. Here’s how to weigh your options."
https://www.consumerreports.org/medicare/pros-and-cons-of-medicare-advantage-a6834167849/  [Consumer Reports subscription not required.]
Note that the references to "Kaiser" in the article are to the KFF, the nonprofit healthcare research foundation endowed by heirs of industrialist Henry J. Kaiser. (No connection with Kaiser Permanente. Often criticizes Kaiser's current practices as not being in line with the founder's intentions.)

Member advice

Original Medicare + Part D: "For Part D plans, do your research on the official Medicare site: https://www.medicare.gov/plan-compare/ -- and on the web sites of the plans that interest you. Always generate a drug cost for the pharmacy that you prefer to use. Take Aon's drug costs with a grain of salt. If they happen to agree with Medicare and the plan, then trust them. Otherwise, ignore them. If you run the numbers early in the enrollment period, consider rerunning them later, because things can change."

If you have found an especially helpful article on the medicare.gov site, please pass the word to info@hpalumni.org

Next step: Compare plans

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