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supplemental insurance for seniors - Printable Version

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supplemental insurance for seniors - maki2 - 12-09-2018

I was exchanging some emails with a customer who lives thousands of miles away and found out she has cataracts and other health issues but no supplemental health insurance since her husband passed away and she thinks she can't get any.  So she has gone without a surgery that could improve her life. In such situations we all wish there was something we could do and of course there is, we can see if there are any programs available where someone will go and sit down with the individual to see if they can solve the issue. So I hit the internet and found that there are such individuals who will go and sit down with seniors in their home if as in her case they are unable to get out and about.

SHIPs, or State Health Insurance and Assistance Programs, are not a source of funding for eldercare. SHIPs are free, state counseling services that help seniors understand their Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medigap (Medicare Supplemental Insurance) and Medicaid benefits.

The SHIP program will send someone out to the home of the person who need assistance in understanding what is available for them in the way of assistance in this instance for a low income individual who needs supplemental insurance. Each state has its own SHIP program. Here is the website link to the primary website with links to the sites for each state.
https://www.medicare.gov/contacts/#searchresult&searchType=org&stateCode=ALL%7CAll%20States&orgTypeByName=F%7CSHIP%20%E2%80%94%20State%20Health%20Insurance%20Assistance%20Program

As we travel in our RVs and have discussions we will come across other older women who are struggling to deal with insurance. It is difficult enough to understand when younger but age just seems to make it all that more complex to sort out all the rules. So quite often the situation is the person who needs help has simply given up trying and is going without the care they need because they can't figure it all out. This is especially true among women as many older women don't like to be as assertive as it usually takes to get through to the person on the other end of the phone. I can't even count the number of times I have had to tell the insurance representative on the line....stop...slow down...speak more slowly. They say the same thing over and over everyday and they are clueless that they say it so fast that it becomes an audible blur of words all slurred together.

Of course cataracts are an issue for anyone who wants to have a life on the road. It makes night driving nearly impossible and it makes day time driving difficult too. But the point is don't give up if you are not getting cataract surgery because of insurance issues, try to get some help from the SHIP program to see if it can be sorted out so you can get or stay on the road and get the medical care you need to keep yourself safe, productive and happy. Speaking of myself my getting out on the road was delayed by more than 3 years due to eye issues requiring a total of 5 surgeries. But fortunately it all worked out and I can now pass the driver's license vision test without needing glasses to drive.


supplemental insurance for seniors - Moxadox - 12-09-2018

Thank you Maki! This is good information, especially for those who actually live somewhere. As a full-time traveling nomad, I'm finding that there are certain services that are simply not yet available for us, like state-based Medicaid, food stamps, and anything else that requires a fixed address. I'm sure there are workarounds, but most require us to at least have a permanent address that we are physically present at for at least part of the time. I'm in favor of "Medicare For All," so that we are not subject to the whims of various States.

The Dire Wolfess


RE: supplemental insurance for seniors - travelaround - 12-09-2018

I just went through all this during the past few months. I did go see a counselor at our local senior center because I was so confused by all the options. So VERY confused!!! She was able to explain it to me in a way I could understand.

I found out that I'd have to buy Medigap insurance plus Part D, for medication. The Medigap I got is "F" which is the one that is most comprehensive, and it is costing me nearly 200 per month, and according to what they sent me, next year it will cost 206 per month. Plus of course I have to pay the normal Medicare premium which is taken out of my Social Security check, 134 per month.

I have rarely ever had a medical issue that even remotely approaches these amounts. Normally I go see a NP once or twice annually just to get my prescriptions renewed. But I'm going to pay for all this insurance because I want to be covered for any future situations that may come up as I get older. It does concern me that the Medigap will cost more each year - I can only imagine what I'll be paying fifteen or twenty years from now, if I make it that far.

Life was so much easier when I qualified for Medicaid! But you're right - it could be hard to get for a nomad who travels out of state.

The Medicare Advantage, as I understand it, costs less than the Medigap, but I was told it wouldn't be usable out of state, whereas Medigap is, so I went with that as I'll be traveling.


RE: supplemental insurance for seniors - maki2 - 12-10-2018

AARP United Health care supplemental insurance can be used out of state. Statement about the plan from their website: ***Your plan goes with you wherever you travel nationwide***

That is why I went with that plan. As to cost, it varies according to what you choose in the way of a deductible or coverage. But there is one good thing with this company, if you foresee upcoming larger medical bills or get involved in a longer term situation you can bump your coverage up to a higher value plan. Then when that situation is resolved you can return to a lower coverage plan. I have done that myself when I knew I had upcoming surgeries along with visits to specialists and of course all the pre-surgical exams to do. But after I got done with that string of medical needs the next month I dialed my insurance back down to one with a co-pay and small yearly deductible amount.

You have a residential state, it is the one where you got your driver's license.