Medicare has been very much on my mind lately - for very (ahem) personal reasons! Not 'personal' as in 'private,' but personal because I'm about to be eligible. (This obviously happened when I wasn't looking and there must be a clerical error because I most certainly KNOW I'm only turning 45, not 65 :-))

I have to say, other than that a-g-e thing, it's been pretty darned painless. I applied for my Parts A and B coverage online through an "Apply for Medicare" link on the Medicare website, and answered a few questions. Within a couple of weeks, my card arrived in the mail.

Next, I chose my supplement. The best options for me are either a High Deductible Plan F (F-HD) at $26.25/month with that big, "colorful" carrier, or a Plan G at $83.65 with another very popular carrier. (The latter carrier takes into account whether you're living alone or with someone as well as tobacco usage, so your rates may vary.)

What's the difference between the two to account for the pretty sizeable premium difference?

Well, the Plan F-HD has a deductible of $2,190/year. (Remember, though, that Medicare is in first payor position, so they're covering their 80% or so of my medical bills right off the bat. The deductible only comes into play on that ~20% that Medicare doesn't pay.)

With the second, higher-priced plan, my only out-of-pocket expense would be the $147/year Part B deductible. Of course, that's assuming I even have any Part B medical expenses! Fortunately, I haven't darkened the door of a doctor's office even once in the last year except to get a flu shot.

Obviously, I hope that record continues - but my crystal ball is a little fuzzy. What to do, what to do?

This is one of those cases of "grip it and rip it" and hope for the best so I'm going with the the F-HD.

Are you wondering why I haven't even mentioned a regular Plan F? In this case, It's simple math. The least expensive Plan F in NC is $115/month. That's  about $31/month X 12 = $372 MORE/year for a $147 benefit.

Um, I don't think so!

Are you (or your spouse or parent) overpaying for a Medicare Supplement? The premiums vary by age - and sometimes, as I mentioned earlier, living situation and tobacco use - so what was right at age 65 may not be right now.
You will need to answer health questions to apply for a different Med Supp once you're out of your initial open enrollment period (3 months before you turn 65, the month of your birthday, and the three months after).

I based my decision on my health situation. Yours may be different and justify paying a higher premium for more coverage.

But it never hurts to have a Medicare Supplement "check-up" every few years. I'll be glad to help with that.

What about Part D, the prescription drug coverage? Tune in for my next blog post! You can subscribe to these posts by clicking on the orange button in the upper right part of the page. Or you can subscribe to my little e-newsletter, that will link to this and will have lots of juicy tidbits about my world and the world of health insurance!

Don't you want to be the person at the cocktail party who can hold others spellbound with your knowledge? Okay, okay, so it's not the Davinci Code.

But it's nice to feel like you understand what's going on in the world of health care while everyone else is standing around scratching their head!