Concerned about benefits for retirees

Concerned about benefits for retirees

Dear Editor,

Recently Kaiser retirees lost their insurance provided by Kaiser. I did some checking with various people and this what I know. I contacted both Joe Manchin and Scott Brewer and found out some information that may be useful. I also talked to Leslie Shockey who is president of the retiree’s unions. Retirees are being forced to find other insurance. Many have concerns about pre-existing conditions. That is why I checked into this and the fact that most had never to deal with finding another insurance plan.

Here is what I found out. It was recommended that you find the best plan possible that fits your needs and ability to pay. Kaiser is providing employees and their spouses a lump sum payment to each of $4500 or total of $9000 to offset some of the cost of new insurance. Start with the highest tier of insurance if you can. You can go down in coverage if it is too expensive, but you can’t do the opposite. Most employees qualify for Medicare which will be their primary now. Therefore, most will be looking for supplemental plans to pick up the difference in costs. Medicare pays 80 percent and the supplemental will pick up the balance. Joe’s office told me about a program in West Virginia called SHIP. They gave me this contact number 304-558-3317 for them.

SHIP stands for State Health Insurance Assistance Program and its goal is to provide reliable and up-to-date information to Medicare beneficiaries and their families. The purpose of this site is to offer information about Medicare to those individuals and families who are seeking answers.

I was also told that the following plan provided good coverage:

Medigap Plan F is one of the 10 standardized Medicare Supplement Insurance plan options. Plan F is the most comprehensive and most popular option available today. More than half of Medigap policyholders have Plan F. It may be one of the most expensive options, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, but it also has the most coverage.

Other things to consider is the possibility of your spouse having coverage and many people may also be eligible for VA services. Once you lose your primary coverage you can be added to a secondary plan if one exists. I may be wrong, but they can’t deny you coverage (pre-existing) within 6 months of loosing your coverage. At least until January and I am told that may change at that time.

If you know someone such as a relative who is elderly and confused by this or totally unaware of these changes, please offer to help them. Many spouses who have always had this coverage through Kaiser and maybe a widow or widower may not understand this especially if the primary insurance spouse has passed on and handled this in the past.

Prescription insurance is covered through Medicare part D and there are many options and plans to choose from there. Please don’t rely on my information, it’s just what I have learned and would like to share. It may be accurate and then again it may not, but it is a start to a discussion that needs to be discussed. I hope this helps.

Dave Morgan

Point Pleasant

Concerned about benefits for retirees