Friday, July 17, 2009

To Medicare, or not to Medicare

The forms have arrived. After a two year waiting period, BR is finally eligible for Medicare. But how do I decide which is the best course?
  • Ignore Medicare, and continue with BR on my insurance through work? Blue Cross has been very good to us, but I'm paying a lot for BR's coverage, and what the company pays is not tax-free like it would be for a married couple.

  • Drop Blue Cross and put BR entirely on Medicare? It might save some money in the short term, but what about the long term? It would also be less complicated should something happen to me.

  • Do some combination of primary/secondary insurance?
I am so ill prepared to make this decision, and don't even know where to begin with the investigation. I know, I know. I've had two years to think about it. I should be ready.

1 comment:

Cranky said...

Steve - fortunately, if you choose one course of action and it turns out to be suboptimal, you will have opportunities in the future to change your elections.

Couple of things ...

BR's eligibility for Medicare should be a qualifying life event so that if you do decide to drop him from your medical coverage, you won't have to wait for open enrollment.

It would make sense to set up a comparison of costs/coverages so you can have an organized way to evaluate your options. This helped me decide if I should add Skip to my coverage at work when they made it available to same-sex spouses. I was able to figure out that the (Medicare Part B premium + her Medigap coverage (with primo drug coverage) + drug copays) was cheaper than the (cost of adding her to my work coverage + the imputed income + copays for drugs). When Medicare Part D came along, I went through a similar exercise. In every instance, I continued to find that Medicare + Medigap gave Skip the best coverage at the lowest total cost. has a lot of content that can help you understand what the options are.