My guest for this episode is…me!
This Special Edition of The Matt Feret Show are re-broadcasts of two interviews I gave this month at WGN-TV Chicago, as well as on WBBM in Chicago.
It was a lot of fun to talk to the anchors off-camera, both of whom asked for Medicare advice for family members! I left each of them a copy of the updated second edition (2022-2023) of Prepare for Medicare The Insider’s Guide to Buying Medicare Insurance.
The WBBM one was taped over the phone, but the WGN interview was LIVE! It sure felt weird to be back on a live broadcast television news set after over 20 years!
I even slipped up. Can you find it?
Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Deezer, Podcast Addict, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Alexa Flash Briefing, iHeart, Acast or on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.
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There are basically three ways you can consume your Medicare coverage when you're 65 or older. And the first way is what I call “Bare-with-Medicare”, and that's using your Original Medicare part A and Part B made in the sixties. It's a red, white, and blue card, and then adding a prescription drug plan or a Part D plan on top of it. The second way is to add a Medigap or a Medicare Supplement plan on top of that. There are a lot of gaps in Original Medicare that those plans cover. And then there's a third option called Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part C, that is kind of all in one combo plans. It takes the best of Medicare A and B and D and puts it in one plan."
- Matt Feret, Author
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Matt Feret (00:02):
Hello everyone. This is Matt Feret, author of the Prepare for Medicare Book series, and welcome to another episode of the Matt Feret Show, where I interview insiders and experts to help light a path to a successful retirement.
Say hello at www.themattferetshow.com, or of course, www.prepareformedicare.com. Make sure to check out the 2022-2023 second edition of my bestselling book, Prepare for Medicare: The Insider’s Guide to Buying Medicare Insurance. You can buy it on Amazon or you can ask your friendly local librarian to order it for you.
My guest today is me. Wait a minute. That sounds a little weird. I was my own guest. That's technically correct, but it still sounds weird, so let me try to say it a different way. This special edition of the Matt Feret Show are rebroadcasts of two interviews I gave this month at WGN TV in Chicago, as well as WBBMM AM and FM, also in Chicago. These types of interviews go really quickly, but I was able to cover some Medicare basics as well as get out a few things to watch for during Medicare's Annual Election period, or AEP, which runs from October 15th through December 7th of every year.
The WBBM interview was recorded over the phone, but the WGN TV interview was live. It sure felt weird to be back on a live broadcast television news set after over 20 years. I even slipped up once and it made it on air. Can you find it? It was a lot of fun to talk to the anchors off camera, both of whom asked for Medicare advice for family members. So I answered their questions and left them a copy of my book. Enjoy!
Speaker 2 (01:53):
This is Chicago's very own WGN midday news.
Patrick Elwood, WGN-TV (02:01):
Midday fixed time. Older Americans have several options for Medicare, and it can become hard to wade through all of that information and figure out which option will fit your lifestyle, your budget. Joining us now with help expert Matt Feret, author of the book, Prepare for Medicare: The Insider’s Guide to Buying Medicare Insurance. People get intimidated and welcome, first of all, they get a bit intimidated by this process, right?
Matt Feret (02:26):
Patrick Elwood, WGN-TV (02:26):
But you can break it down into essentially fundamental box, and it's not that hard.
Matt Feret (02:32):
It's not that hard, but there are basically three ways you can consume your Medicare coverage when you're 65 or older. And the first way is what I call “Bare-with-Medicare”, and that's using your Original Medicare part A and Part B made in the sixties. It's a red, white, and blue card, and then adding a prescription drug plan or a Part D plan on top of it. The second way is to add a Medigap or a Medicare Supplement plan on top of that. There are a lot of gaps in Original Medicare that those plans cover. And then there's a third option called Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part C, that is kind of all in one combo plans. It takes the best of Medicare A and B and D and puts it in one plan.
Patrick Elwood, WGN-TV (03:11):
All right, so let's revisit this. Now is the time to enroll. You have about how many more weeks before the deadline is approaching?
Matt Feret (03:17):
The marketing period started on October 1st, which is probably when all the mailboxes are filling up and the TV commercials are out, but also the actual enrollment period begins October 15th. It ends on December 7th, and so now's the time you're going to want to look at that pile of insurance paperwork on your kitchen table and poke through it a little bit and see if those benefits are changing.
Patrick Elwood, WGN-TV (03:37):
Let's break this down a little bit further. All right. Part A, that's basically for hospitalization.
Matt Feret (03:42):
Yes. Hospitalization and some more. And then Part B for doctors and outpatient procedures.
Patrick Elwood, WGN-TV (03:47):
That also covers equipment?
Matt Feret (03:49):
Patrick Elwood, WGN-TV (03:50):
Okay. Anything else fall under that umbrella?
Matt Feret (03:52):
Yeah, it's comprehensive medical coverage. There's not much that Original Medicare doesn't cover in terms of medical insurance. It's that Part D insurance, which spans for drug, was prescription drug plans.
Patrick Elwood, WGN-TV (04:02):
Okay. And the cost of the Part D can run what? From? What's the range on the cost?
Matt Feret (04:07):
Oh, gosh. It can cost $4 a month for a Part D standalone plan all the way up to $50 or $60 a month. It all depends on the type of plan.
Patrick Elwood, WGN-TV (04:16):
When you go to get your prescriptions filled and some people have a lot of prescriptions to get filled, is there a copay associated with that as well, usually or all the time?
Matt Feret (04:24):
Yep. Usually always a lot of copays and different tiering. And so really this time of the year is best to go shopping and make sure that your prescription drugs you're on are going to be on your formulary next year. And so it's best to go and shop and see which drugs are going to be falling, where some copays might be $5 and some might end up being 50 a month.
Patrick Elwood, WGN-TV (04:43):
Let me ask you this. So in private insurance, there's in network and out of network. Does the same apply for when you get into Medicare at 65 and older?
Matt Feret (04:52):
It can. And on the third option, I talked about Medicare Advantage. Those do come with networks that you're probably familiar with.
Patrick Elwood, WGN-TV (04:57):
Matt Feret (04:58):
HMOs and PPOs. But if you're using Original Medicare, that “Bare-with-Medicare” option number one or option number two, where you're buying a Medicare supplement to fill in those gaps. You don't have any networks. And that's why a lot of people like that second option. They buy Medicare Supplements, they don't have any network, but those networks are getting broader and broader on the Medicare Advantage plan too. I break it all down in the book of which one's the right choice for you? A plan with a network? A plan with no network? High premiums and no out of pocket or low premiums and you use it when you need it.
Patrick Elwood, WGN-TV (05:27):
Obviously, preexisting conditions do not factor in.
Matt Feret (05:31):
They don't factor in, especially with Medicare Advantage. You can be 65 or 105, their premium will be the same. And yeah, there's no medical underwriting on those plans.
Patrick Elwood, WGN-TV (05:40):
So somebody who is new to this, the window is a little bit more forgiving of their first time enrollments, correct?
Matt Feret (05:46):
Exactly. If you're new to Medicare, you've got about a seven. You basically have a seven month window. It's the month of your birthday, three months prior, and three months after, and that's a different enrollment period. So if you're turning 65 in January or February, there's no need to rush right now. You've got a little more time, but-
Patrick Elwood, WGN-TV (06:02):
Obviously, words of the wise is maintain your current insurance plan until you get a verification from the feds that you're in.
Matt Feret (06:11):
Always. You definitely always want to make sure to keep whatever insurance coverage you've got until Medicare or the Medicare Advantage company says you're good to go with an effective date.
Patrick Elwood, WGN-TV (06:19):
Are you a fan of Supplemental Aflac or whatever. Would you do that as well in addition to this? Or is that all covered with what you could pay a little bit out of pocket for as part of the, would you say D?
Matt Feret (06:30):
Yeah. I'm glad you asked that question because Original Medicare has a number of gaps in them. For example, Original Medicare doesn't cover dental, vision, or hearing, which is a big part of healthcare. Medicare Advantage plans oftentimes include that in that kind of combo plan, but that second option with Medicare Supplement or Medigap doesn't, because it merely fills in the gaps of Original Medicare A and B. And so yes, there are other plans and policies out there that you can buy standalone, that you can buy dental and vision and hearing insurance on top of that.
Patrick Elwood, WGN-TV (06:59):
I've got a little about 30 seconds left. Final thoughts?
Matt Feret (07:02):
This is the time. This is time to shop, and so every year, benefits change on your Medicare Advantage and your prescription drug plans effective June one. Don't be surprised. Read your insurance paperwork. I walk you through the steps in my book of how to DIY it or find an expert Medicare insurance agent to help you out. You could be missing out on thousands of dollars if you don't shop.
Patrick Elwood, WGN-TV (07:21):
I am sure the rules of inflation would probably apply to some in some regard to Medicare as well.
Matt Feret (07:27):
It does. You definitely want to check your monthly premiums and see where they're going to be next year.
Patrick Elwood, WGN-TV (07:30):
Very good. All right, so it's a lot to digest, but listen, just get the book. The book is called Prepare for Medicare: the Insiders Guide to Buying Medicare Insurance. Matt Feret, we thank you so much for your time. He's a local guide too, so support local offers. Appreciate your time.
Matt Feret (07:45):
One big benefit of retirement requires a lot of work.
Rob Hart, WBBM (07:51):
Medicare requires a great deal of homework. Matt Feret, author of the book Prepare for Medicare says, "You need to know the details about the supplemental plans that go with basic Medicare benefits and then stay on top of plans that change every year." And he warns that falling behind could cost you thousands of dollars. Feret says, "If you think the process sounds confusing, that's because it is."
Matt Feret (08:14):
I always say from GED to PhD, this stuff is confusing for everyone. I think we're probably the only modern society that makes our older adults go through this type of selection process. It is confusing.
Rob Hart, WBBM (08:27):
He says, "One way you can navigate Medicare is by finding a trusted expert who can help you year after year."
Matt Feret (08:34):
Find that person or that group of people that you know and trust you. Understand that they're experts and stick with them.
Rob Hart, WBBM (08:40):
Rob Hart. 1059 WBBM.
Matt Feret (08:43):
My thanks to the fine folks at WGN and WBBM in Chicago, and of course a big shout out to my publicist at Virginia Mann. Thank you, Virginia. Make sure to hit the Matt Feret Show website for all the links and video of the WGN interview, plus the full show transcript in quotes. Until next time to your Wealth, Wisdom, and Wellness, I'm Matt Feret, and thanks for tuning in.
Matt Feret (09:09):
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Matt Feret is the host of The Matt Feret Show, which focuses on the health, wealth and wellness of retirees, people over fifty-five and caregivers helping loved ones. He’s also the author of the book series, Prepare for Medicare – The Insider’s Guide to Buying Medicare Insurance.
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