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Medicare information seminar today

Free sessions offer clarity on changes

With Medicare eligibility comes a lot of questions. To help answer them, Alison Chambers, licensed insurance consultant for American Republic Insurance Services, will be offering free information sessions.

Today at Fort Dodge Public Library, Chambers will host free information sessions at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. for those facing many different options as they enter retirement with a new health care system. Two additional sessions will be offered on Sept. 30 at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

“We will go over what Medicare covers, what it doesn’t cover and the differences between Medicare supplemental and Medicare advantage plans,” Chambers said.

Medicare is the federal health insurance program for the elderly.

In 2020, Medicare’s Plan F will be discontinued as Plan G is introduced.

“The only difference is that F covers 100% of everything, with no deductible,” she explained. “With G, the only things that’s different is there is a $185 annual deductible to hit before it kicks in 100%.”

She explained that seniors may be able to save more with Plan G, even with the deductible, as premiums are typically lower.

“We help clear up some stuff because there’s a lot of confusion in the Medicare world,” Chambers said.

Those approaching age 65, those nearing retirement and even those already on Medicare with questions are encouraged to attend to get on the right footing for their health care needs.

The supplemental insurance offered by private companies to cover the remainder of costs not paid by Medicare is through standardized plans whose terms are dictated by the federal government. Unlike private insurance most individuals are accustomed to having throughout their life, supplemental plans are not on a network and will be accepted anywhere Medicare is.

“It’s very different than the normal group health care,” Chambers said, where company choice matters and there is a myriad of differences between plans. “People get wary of different plans, but the network is the same. A Plan G from any company will cover the exact same things.”

She said that typically, the only variation on Medicare supplemental plans between private companies is the amount they charge.

Other common misconceptions include Medicare’s coverage of long-term and short-term convalescent care.

“People think that it’s automatically covered,” Chambers said, saying that long-term care for Medicare patients can eat up their life savings within a couple months.