As I have indicated in the past my wife and I went onto Part A and enrolled in Part B of Medicare this year. I started on May 1st and my wife February 1st. Just some background, the past eight years I have had a high deductible plan with Life Wise of Washington state. We had a $6000 family deductible plan and was paying about $700 per month the last year we had the plan. I had also enrolled in an HSA eight years ago as well so today the balance of my HSA account is over $50,000. As most of you know this fund can be used for co-pays for doctors visits as well as prescription drugs.
My wife and I both chose the $0 premium MA only PFFS plan available in Washington state. (My wife does take some prescription drugs so I enrolled her in Humana’s WalMart standalone PDP, as I do not take any drugs, I chose not to enroll in a PDP.) This is a Medicare look alike plan meaning I am responsible for the Part A hospital deductible and 20% of the Part B outpatient expenses, however, there is no Part B deductible, I pay 20% from the first dollar of charges.
I have used this plan three times so far, twice at the ophthalmologists and once at the dermatologists. I could not be happier with how the plan works. First of all, I am not paying for my healthcare in advance in the form of a premium. Not for a high deductible plan like I did before going onto Medicare or for a traditional Medicare supplement. I am only paying for 20% of the Medicare approved charge and that is a lot less the than the $8400 in premium I paid for Pat and I last year. If I had chosen a traditional Plan F my premium would have been around $200 per month for me and $200 for Pat or about $4800 per year.
I have my annual physical scheduled for the fist week of August with the doctor I have had the past several years. In past her office accepted Life Wise. Before going onto Medicare I called my doctors office to explain I was planning on enrolling in Humana’s MA only PFFS plan. The office manager explained they did not officially accept Humana but as I was currently a patient, the office would accept Humana’s terms and conditions and bill them directly so I could continue to keep my current doctor.
So far I could not be happier with the choices I have made. I now go to the downtown YMCA using Silver Sneakers and no longer pay $55 per month to OZ fitness. The best part is on October 15th I can look at all the options available for 2014 and make a new choice if I find a better option with no pre-existing conditions or waiting periods. The new choices today really are a win win situation for Medicare beneficiaries like me.