BUZ LIVINGSTON: Navigating the Medicare maze before the buzzer

Published: Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 04:39 PM.

The looming deadline generally applies for enrollees in Medicare Part C, Part D or one of the Medicare supplemental options (Medigap).

If you only use Parts A & B, then don’t worry. While Medicare is guaranteed issue insurance, which means preexisting conditions cannot raise your premiums or exclude you, Medicare Advantage (Part C) and the Medicare supplements change every year.

Insurance companies can drop your current provider from their preferred provider network and the options available for drug coverage can change, too. A 2011 study found only 6 percent of enrollees were in the lowest cost plan.

Review plans covering the drugs you take. Do it before the deadline.

Like everything related to American health insurance, navigating Medicare often boggles the mind. As critical as retirement healthcare costs are, few financial professionals understand Medicare’s nuances.

I rely heavily on health insurance geeks. Before launching her financial planning career, Carolyn McClanahan worked as an emergency room physician. Follow her blog on Forbes.com. Locally, my Medicare expert is Barbara Rowan. Unfortunately for me, the interview was sandwiched around Auburn’s miracle win over my beloved Georgia Bulldogs.

In addition to being a Medicare savant, she’s a very gracious Auburn fan.  As a fiduciary if I’m not an expert I find one.  

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