Yesterday we spent almost 1 1/2 hours on the phone with David R, an AON representative. Notre Dame has hired AON to help retirees make Medicare choices. We have had Medicare A cards for a few yeaars but have relied on Notre Dame's very good Meritain plan for health care expenses. We have applied for Medicare B and are waiting for our new cards. The big change will come on July 1, the effective day of Jim's retirement.
So what is next? Medicare Advantage or MediGap? And which plan?
Our heads were swimming with words like deductible, annual maximum, tax free, roll over, prorated, co-payment, network, guaranteed issuance, uncapped, donut hole, catastrophic, etc.
It's a gamble in a way. We can't look into the future. We do know that we will probably face more health issues in the next ten years--should we live for the next ten years. We certainly have had a few more out-patient procedures, doctors' visits, and even a hospitalization in the last five years. And once you choose the Advantage plan, there is no "guaranteed issuance" for the Gap plan later. Yet, I think we are inclined to be optimistic (or foolish!) about feeling pretty good today and thinking that will last!
It has suddenly become an old people's topic of conversation. Yesterday a friend and I sat outside on a beautiful day, having a lovely drink, and talking about Medicare! But it is good to know what others have done or are going to do.
We are grateful that Notre Dame eases the process. We have met with a Human Resources retirement counselor twice.. She goes over her check list with us and that is reassuring. We had a very helpful conversation with David and will be talking with him again once we have made a decision.
Although we both prefer not to think about all these decisions, it won't go away and no one will make it for us. We can do it! Retirement is a good thing. Medicare is a good thing.