Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Medicare and Other Health Insurance

Medicare and Other Health Insurance

Question:  I go on Medicare soon and I have signed up for Part B. I also have other insurance from a work related retirement. What else do I really need to stay solvent from medical debt?

Answer:  You may not need anything else but verify a few things to make sure.

First, is your other insurance primary or secondary to Medicare? The easiest way to find out is to call the customer service phone number on your insurance ID card and ask them.

If your other insurance is primary to Medicare, you are probably in good shape. Unfortunately most retirement plans are secondary. If you are one of the few who still have a good primary retirement plan from your employment-you are fortunate. If this is the case, very likely you do not need to enroll in Medicare Part B, it would be a wasted expense.

Second, if your other insurance is secondary, know the plan’s deductible, coinsurance and co pays. A secondary plan pays claims after Medicare pays and it pays according to their own stipulations. If you have a deductible, coinsurance and office visit co pays, those must be met before the plan picks up any cost unpaid by Medicare. In the end, you see very little assistance from a secondary insurance unless it is structured as a supplement to Medicare.

Outside of a good retirement health plan from your employer, Original Medicare paired with a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan will offer you the best coverage.

SOURCE:, Publication 02179; Medicare and Other Health Benefits: Your Guide to Who Pays First