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Health and Retirement – Do You Have a Story to Tell?

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

January 14, 2018 — We will be writing an article for Topretirements that touches on the importance of health in retirement. Would love to hear from anyone who has had a change in their health that affected their retirement plans. You can reply below as a Comment, on our Facebook page, or of feel free to contact us via the Contact Us link. The change might have happened before retirement or after it started.

We will not mention any (real) names when we publish the article. Thanks

Comments: Please tell us YOUR story below if it involves health and retirement.

Posted by Admin on January 14th, 2018

46 Comments »

  1. Has anyone joined the Silver Sneakers exercise program thru Medicare at your local gym?

    It is supposed to be free. Can anyone comment on their experience if they belong?

    A YMCA about 10 miles away from me offers it. I think only a few days a week.

    by Louise — May 1, 2018

  2. I joined the Houston YMCA when I retired a couple of months ago, and attend Silver Sneakers classes twice a week. According to their online program listings, the Y offers several “Silver Sneakers” classes, some of which seem to target specific issues (i.e. cardio). The twice a week classes I go to are called “Silver Sneakers Classic”, which is a 45 minute session involving stretching and movement. The instructor (Willard, if you go to the Houston downtown Y, like I do) is a great instructor who would never have anyone to do something they weren’t comfortablewith. The people attending my classes are generally older, retired individuals, and we have people in wheelchairs who participate.

    One of my fellow Silver Sneakers has her class covered by her Medicare gap policy. I didn’t know that Medicare Gap insurance could sometimes cover Silver Sneakers, and I’m checking to see if my Blue Cross policy will pick up the tab. But if the policy covers only the Silver Sneakers class, I will keep my over 65 membership ($30-something monthly) because there is so much to do at the Houston YMCAs!

    By all means, don’t hesitate, GO! It’s a great way to get in or maintain physical condition and, if you want, make new friends.

    Highly, highly recommended!

    Ron

    by RonP — May 2, 2018

  3. My wife fell while on vacation in Akron Oh breaking her shoulder! We went to a Suma Urgent Care facility ! All they did was give her an IV and XRay and sent her home
    3 months later we get a bill for $5790. We are on Medicare and found Suma failed to file the proper paperwork! We are still pestered by SUMA a year later! Be sure to contact Medicare if you get ridiculous bills

    by Ron — May 2, 2018

  4. Louise i’m only 56 and those ladies at my gym are fun!. I would call your gym and ask for info.

    by Tomi — May 2, 2018

  5. When we went south, for work, we knew we wouldn’t want to stay. As we got closer to retirement, we began to look at places in New England that had retirement communities. We weren’t ready for the tiny apartments and all the services, just yet, but wanted to be able to establish Drs. & relationships nearby so we wouldn’t have to make another huge change, when we did check in. Our children are scattered and we do not want to be a burden on them. So, now we could move wherever WE wanted to!

    Then, a few years ago, DH was diagnosed with Parkinsons. That really helped define where we needed to be. There was little to NO support for that, where we were in the SE, so it made it easier to make the move. The closest Specialist was a 2 hour drive so we had to take a whole day for a Dr. visit. We needed to be closer to care. We did the research, called the Foundations and called the Dr. offices to ask questions. Everyone was helpful and appointments were made, in advance, before we even moved.

    Last August (2017), he came home one day, after a 12 hr. shift, and said, “I cannot do this any more.” We called our NE Realtor and began house hunting in earnest. We purchased a house while he was still employed (making it easier to get a mortgage) and on the day after we closed, he called in sick. We packed up and moved, putting our house on the market once it was empty. (made it easier for the selling agent, to have us out of the way). We priced low but sold it in less than 24 hrs. so only had 2 mortgage payments for 1 month. Proceeds from that will go to paying down, or off, what mortgage we have here. Fortunately he had opted for Long Term Care Insurance and that kicked in right away. They applied, on his behalf, for Soc. Sec. Disability – which was approved in 4 months! We were fortunate to have the Co. take care of him like that!

    We love our new home and have already reached out to meet people and join groups. The town & library have programs as well as craft guilds and creative groups that meet through-out the state. We still have our eye on the ultimate destination – not far away – but we are settling in for “OUR TIME” now! So we are 12 minutes from the Drs. & Specialists and not far from Boston or NY if we need it. We feel fortunate!

    by Holly — May 2, 2018

  6. I don’t turn 65 till August so can’t join Silver Sneakers till then. The Hub is 66 so once I turn 65 we can both go together.

    by Louise — May 2, 2018

  7. I may be alone, but I think the concerns for health in retirement deserves whole lot more attention and consideration than it gets. While some move on into “older age” with near impunity, I’ve seen a lot of posts in these blogs about those, like me, who have seen significant impact to their retirement plans — whether they anticipate it or not (we did, but not like this).

    We retired at 55 after fulfilling careers in tech that just plain turned sour — after two difficult years we decided to get out rather than seek new employment. We had a thin margin of investments to work with and were fortunate to get 5 years of good market returns before 2008 and more since. In addition, we had good health coverage before Medicare and continue to hold AARP endorsed Medi-gap as well as holding a good long-term care plan. For the first 10 years, everything sort of held to “plan” while we carefully managed our resources. At 65 (Medicare age) came the change. My wife was diagnosed with alpha-gal (severe allergy with gastro-intestinal impacts including potential anaphylactic shock — caused by eating/smelling/contact with any meat and all by-products including milk and cheese). This has drastically changed our life-style including never being able to eat out without threat of allergic reaction — we just don’t do that much anymore. That same year, I had a heart attack with triple bypass followed by a “good” year and then severe knee issues requiring major surgery/recovery each of the next three years. Impact? You’d better believe it! We are doing alright and managing these things, but life is not the same as the first 10 years of retirement. (I’m so glad we retired early and were able to do some of the things we dreamed about which are now either difficult or impossible.)

    I cite all this only to show that no matter your plans and ideals for retirement, health can with no warning, change everything. Simple example — our dream retirement home has three levels. When we built planning for future retirement, I had no idea of the impact of knee replacement or heart issues. (The work-around could be stair chairlifts — somewhat costly but not extreme.)

    My mother-in-law (my personal hero for how she lived and managed her life and family) is now 95 and, despite severe arthritis, in many ways gets along better than I who am 25 years younger. My wife inherited those genes, but unfortunately has other problems than the alpha-gal, so again, her mother is an example of “better”.

    When, if ever, might anything like this hit your retirement plans? Possibly never, but I’m certainly glad we at least considered the “less than ideal” ahead of time and can continue to be able to work things out in the future.

    by RichPB — May 3, 2018

  8. RichPB, you make a lot of good points and it was fortunate you were able to retire early. My hub retired at age 63 and the following year was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He had choices, surgery, radiation, HIFU or just observation. We decided on surgery. Then down the road he needed radiation. Now, things are good and blood tests show no cancer. He has to go every six months for blood tests now. Fingers crossed for continued good news. We were on Obamacare with the surgery and had to pay a manageable amount out of our pocket. For the radiation, the Hub went on Medicare and we chose Plan F so all the bills were paid 100%. The costs were very expensive. Plan F is the most expensive Medigap option but seems worthwhile to not worry about bills. We also have a long term care plan but the policy only pays $6,000 a month. In CT, a nursing home costs $12,000 and up a month.

    Wow, Alpha-gal sounds terrible! Is there no treatment to cure it?

    by Louise — May 3, 2018

  9. RichPB – just looked up alpha-gal to learn more about this allergy. What a terrible challenge that must be. Your post illustrates how health problems can come out of nowhere and slap us silly. Thank goodness you enjoyed your early retirement years. Let’s all keep a good thought that your wife’s allergy and your physical challenges will abate soon.

    Wishing you well.

    by JCarol — May 4, 2018

  10. JCarol, my sincere thanks for your well-wishes. Rich

    by RichPB — May 4, 2018

  11. RichPB, So sorry to hear about your post-retirement troubles and thank you for sharing your sorry- a good reminder about “the best laid plans….”. Regarding your wife’s tick bite problem – Alpha-gal syndrome, if you haven’t already, I would encourage you both to spend time online searching VEGAN info. There are tons of resources. I’ve been vegan for over 25 years (married to an omnivour) and more and more vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants open every year. when we travel I google the city and “vegan restaurants” for lists of places. Also, google Mediterranean Diet – pretty much perfect for alpha gal sufferers – lots of veggies, whole grains and seafood. (and it might be good for your heart!)

    by jean — May 5, 2018

  12. Jean, thanks. Good info but we’re way ahead of you. After 5 years of coping with alpha-gal you either find good ways to manage the issue or get restricted to a very limited diet. For myself, I enjoy cooking and could always find new ways around alpha-gal restrictions. My wife however, does not enjoy cooking but has found that Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s (in our area) have numerous prepared options as well as basic ingredients that are suitable — I’m sure there are other such stores and we’ve found many small independent stores for vegans, vegetarians and others that allow pretty good dietary variation (there are a number of apps that can assist in locating them). As an aside and not trying to push any one place, my wife will not consider moving to or even vacationing for a week (or more) at any place that doesn’t have a Whole Foods within reasonably easy access unless we can locate a really good alternative.

    As with most infirmities, people can decide to live in a restricted manner or seek to branch out for new alternatives. We are fortunate that her situation is mobile and, as you indicated, can be dealt with in a variety of different ways. That doesn’t remove the imposed restrictions or eliminate the frustrations, but life continues to have good options.

    by RichPB — May 5, 2018

  13. Under Heathcare – I would be interested in how difficult it would be to find quality healthcare in a particular city /state. Are there waiting lists for physicians or do they deny medicare patients? I realize there are other sites discussing hospital and physician ratings but maybe a reference to those sites? Quality healthcare and access to good physicians is important and not all are equal in different geographic areas. I recently viewed an HBO documentary and it is a reality check imo.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QEeQ3ZvPAc

    by JoannL — January 28, 2019

  14. Many of the top physicians in Washington, DC do not accept Medicare or even Blue Cross/Blue /Shield. Why, you ask? Because they are busy enough without taking those patients and because of the hoops they have to jump through when they participated with those programs. I am asked by my neighbor all the time about physicians who might take them now that they have Medicare. GYNs for women have been my hardest challenge. I am a former nurse and patient advocate and I am wishing that as a requirement for licensure, that all physicians had to participate in Medicare. My husband was a surgeon and he took Medicare realizing that even he one day would be in that program Healthcare is a business and not a right in the USA. Yes, you should check availability of participating doctors before you move anywhere, especially if you have an ongoing condition that needs constant monitoring.

    by Jennifer — January 28, 2019

  15. JoannL, The clip on the youtube you shared is an eye opener, who ever heard of an E-ICU? One point made toward the end is very true – the need to have a family member or friend be your advocate if you are hospitalized. As for assessing the quality of heath care in an area, that can be a challenge! In addition to the Dr rating sites like Healthgrades and Vitals, I have also used Google to search for things like “Stroke Center near the town or city” (there are certified stoke centers and considering the wonderful advances in treatment of stroke it is really important to get to a stroke quickly should syptoms of stoke develop) and other similar special designations. Also, a rule of thumb is how close the town is to a major teaching medical center and how far your are willing to drive should you need or want to see a specialist beyond what is available locally, that would be how far is that big university medical center? Finally regarding wait lists and if the dr takes Medicare, Healthgrades and Vitals both list the insurances the dr takes and many hospitals have a “Dr. Finder” type link on their website that would also have that info. If you look at those sites and find a Dr who fits your needs you can call the office BEFORE you even decide whether to move there and ask them about how long t takes to get an appt.

    by Jean — January 28, 2019

  16. Jennifer, I totally agree that doctors should have to take patients with medicare, I didn’t know that some refuse BCBS which I have as a State government retiree. I also feel that if you work, are covered by a good insurance, retire with that insurance & hit the 65 mark you should not be required to have medicare & your other insurance be your secondary. That would be a way to keep medicare costs down – yes it is great for those not having any insurance. I paid less for my BCBS insurance which covered both myself & husband, then retire at 66 keeping BCBS, & Medicare & between the two pay a lot more than previous even though the BCBS drops being secondary. I know I am lucky to have that option but I feel I shouldn’t have to. Our Government talks about the cost of Medicare, then if someone has insurance, can take it into retirement don’t make then take Medicare. The golden retirement years should be just that worry free to enjoy all the years you have to wake up each day & do what you want!

    by Susan — January 29, 2019

  17. Five years ago, we began talking about moving back to New England for retirement. Thanks to an older and wiser friend who shared information, we knew that, IF we wanted to re-locate for retirement, we had better do it BEFORE Medicare. A lot of Drs. won’t take new Medicare patients BUT, if you are already a patient and take Medicare as you turn 65, then they allow for that. SO, when husband (age 61) who has Parkinsons, came home after working 2+ years with that diagnosis, to say, “I cannot do this anymore,” we already had plans in place. A spreadsheet helped us compare places we thought we could go and the Parkinsons Foundation said there were several Specialists in Maine – we packed up and went.

    We are thrilled with the quality of medical care we are getting here. With plans in place, phone calls ahead of time and appointments made BEFORE we moved, it was an easy transition!

    by HEF — January 29, 2019

  18. Any Doctor can take or refuse to participate with any insurance under the sun. If the insurance networks do not pay enough and they require the doctor to employ a staff to do a mountain of paperwork for reduced benefit checks, then why would a doctor in his right mind keep any insurance company on the books? Some doctors are so excellent that they do not have to participate in any insurance plans. Oddly enough when I was a surgical coordinator nurse for five general surgeons, they only participated with Medicare. Right here in Washington, DC. Patients could use out of network benefits, but deposits were collected prior to the surgery.

    Personally, I would think the beauty of socialized medicine as in the UK means I could treat a patient and not care one bit about their insurance or lack of it. Must be nice.

    by Jennifer — January 30, 2019

  19. Can anyone with the experience of arthritis and fibromyalgia give me an idea of a low barometric area such as Tucson, Green Valley, Albuquerque, Denver, Nevada? I need to move very soon & am not sure which is best. Monica

    by Monica Eblen — January 31, 2019

  20. I was in the midst of treatment for an auto-immune system disorder at Mt Sinai Hospital in New York city when i was advised by the doctor who was treating me that she would no longer accept my Medicare for payment. She offered to bill me as an uninsured private citizen but made no recommendation for other treatment. Luckily I discovered that the doctors at NYU Langone Medical Center would gladly accept Medicare. AND they eventually got my disorder under control. This could not have occurred in any other significant country in the Western World. Am I in favor of socialized medicine? Silly question.

    by J. King — January 31, 2019

  21. J King be careful what you wish for. You can look over our border to Canada and see their socialized medicine failing. I know people from Canada coming to our country to get the care they need because the wait time to have a medical procedure takes weeks and in some cases months to have a medical procedure performed. Do your research before jumping on the Socialist bandwagon.

    by Skip — February 1, 2019

  22. Skip. Don’t know where you live but it takes weeks or months to see doctors right here in the good old USA. Took over a year for my husband to get a much needed hip replacement!

    by Laura — February 1, 2019

  23. Skip, I spent the last three days making phone calls to doctors offices in the Chicagoland area to see a specialist. The first available opening was March 28th. I took it. If things get worse before than, I will have to resort to going to an ER. I am an RN. I worked at one time in an administrative business owned by a Canadian. I spoke with many Canadians and their healthcare situation is far superior to ours. Yes, they have wait times for elective issues, but ours are not any better and in my experience getting much worse.

    by Charlotte — February 1, 2019

  24. Ditto Skip. If not an emergency, the wait in Canada and England is horrid, sometimes a year. It is why many come to the states for surgeries.

    It’s not just the paperwork involved with Medicare (there is a lot involved with private health insurance) it is the lower payments made to the doctors. And there are some MD offices and hospitals that will not accept some private insurance that people have because of a failure to negotiate a favorable reimbursement schedule. Insurance companies rule!!.

    I had heard that The doctors at Mayo in Florida will not take Medicare advantage patients but will take original Medicare patients. For pre retirees that might be something to check out in the area you live in or move to before you select which Medicare you will sign up for.

    Relative to quality medical care and hospitals, my experience with husband is that university hospitals are best. And those that might have a nursing school attached is even better. In a life emergency you may not have the time to get a loved one to a top hospital if it’s an hour away. And no one knows if & when that emergency will hit. it can prove to be a life changing event if you go to one that hasn’t the expertise you need. You can gamble but it’s not just your life you are gambling with but the quality of your life.

    by Susan — February 1, 2019

  25. Most civilized countries have established healthcare as a right not a privilege! All over Europe people receive excellkent healthcare as a benefit to their tax paid! The Canadian system is working very well contrary to the lies many libbyist tell!
    America is out of control on healthcare cost and no one can explain why except unregulated profit!
    Insurance companies are making in excess of 25% profit out auto companies make about 7%.

    by Ron — February 1, 2019

  26. I live in Connecticut and have been on Medicare for 5 years now. Never have been turned down or discouraged by any doctor or health care provider. I just show my Medicare and supplemental cards, and there is no problem. I think it is a great system.

    by Nick — February 1, 2019

  27. Nick, I also live in CT and spouse and I both have regular Medicare and Plan F supplemental and have had no problems either. The only non payment was for a routine eye exam which was not covered by Medicare.

    by Louise — February 1, 2019

  28. We sold our house in Wisconsin to a doctor moving there from Canada. There were very few MRI machines and he was watching his patients go down hill because he could not get tests done so he could treat his patients. A year later another another doctor moved to that town from Canada.

    by Susan Foster — February 1, 2019

  29. To all the Socialist that want free insurance/medicine I live in SE Florida and meet many folks every winter from Canada and they tell me the horror stories regarding their medical system. They come to our country for medical procedures because the wait time to have their much needed service is way too long. I asked the question why so long? His answer was simple, too many folks going to the doctor and too many people and not enough medial people. I’m not making this up so e careful what you wish for! I’ll stay with our non socialist medicine thank you very much!

    by Skip — February 2, 2019

  30. Folks I regularly travel to Canada and several European countries with universal healthcare! Every country I go to the people are loving their healthcare systems! Doctors are incentivized to help people get better no prolong drug us and repeat visits
    Waiting for major surgeries are no different than the wait we have in the US
    Drug costs are much lower because the countries actually negotiate with the big pharma on what they can charge! Unlike the US where profiteering drives the healthcare industry

    by Ron — February 2, 2019

  31. OK folks, we seem to be getting into one of those unfortunate loops where people keep restating their positions and no one’s mind is about to be changed (unfortunately where our entire country seems to be on just about every topic!). The point of this post was to discuss health care issues as they affect your retirement, not socialism and universal health care. An important topic no doubt, but not for here. Please let’s get back to the topic at hand – have you had a change in your health that affected your retirement plans. Thanks

    by Admin — February 2, 2019

  32. To answer the question (kind of), yes, I have had two major surgeries (in CT) after I became Medicare eligible and post-retirement. One was for cancer and one was open heart surgery, both successful. I leave the review of the total costs of the procedures to my MBA wife, but a rough estimate is that Medicare was charged more than $100,000 for the two operations and, out of pocket, I do not believe we paid more than a couple hundred dollars. Again, I’m not a numbers guy, but I am confident I did not pay $100,000 toward medical insurance during my 35-year career. Bottom line: My rather extreme medical care within the last five years did not affect my retirement financially, not one iota. Now I don’t know many Canadians, but I do have family in the UK, and they love their “free” medical care (for which they pay plenty in taxes, but happy to do so). If you need quick attention there, you tend to get it. My sister (age 70) has leukemia, and as soon as they diagnosed it, she was on the path to treatment. When I visited them a few years ago, I accompanied my brother in law to a medical appointment — at 7:30 in the evening! So to those of my fellow Americans who choose to believe the anecdotal “horror” stories, I suggest you do what Ron (see above) has done and visit a country or two with National Health Care (there are plenty of them) and ask real people — not those on vacation in the U.S. — what they think of their healthcare systems. By some folks definition, my “free” major surgical procedures under Medicare is “socialism” since I received something I did not (fully) pay for. If that is so, then socialism saved my retirement, as well as my life.

    by Larry — February 2, 2019

  33. Retired in 2015. Moved from Northern Virginia to North Carolina. Had both knees replaced (2015 in VA & 2017 in NC). Both paid for by Medicre and my Supplemental Health Insurance. Paid only $100 each surgery which is the hospital copay. Homecare and PT expenses paid in full for both surgeries. No copays for office visits or other medical needs. Only other healthcare costs are for monthly premiums and deductibles for each plan. To be honest annual healthcare costs are much less for me now than when I was on my employer’s plan. Only the prescription costs are higher because the Medicare phamacy plans stink. Seems that each year drug coverages change and meds covered one year are not covered the next year plus the drug plan premiums and drug costs go up each year. So you either absorb the increases or constantly change plans every year. This is an area that Medicare needs to look at and get under tighter control.

    by Ralph Rossi — February 3, 2019

  34. Staying healthy in retirement is something that needs to be addressed and planned for in the same way financial planning is; it’s even more important and it’s never too late to start taking actions to improve health. Ultimately your health can be greatly enhanced by your choices regardless of what insurance you have. So many illnesses that we all dread can be avoided or at least delayed by adopting health habits and avoiding those things that are known to harm health. Did you know that research suggests that fully 1/3 to 1/2 of all cancers are a result of lifestyle choices (and not just smoking) and the success in cancer treatment can often be enhanced by adopting healthy habits? It’s easy to find information about healthy lifestyles (it actually pretty hard to avoid if you read the newspaper or watch it on TV; health segments are very frequent). Health tips aren’t usually something many Drs address until after a disease state has developed, often the first a person sees a healthcare provider is after they have an illness and besides, who wants to be told that they need to loose those 20 or more lbs ? I have learned to take a lot of responsibility for my own heath as much from the “negative examples” in my life that from positive role models!

    by jean — February 3, 2019

  35. Well said Larry. I’ve had stomach surgery since my retirement and I have two (2) chronic issues which I have to address on a daily basis. Glad I have Medicare (a form of “socialism.”). I have also met people from Canada and England who seem quite satisfied with their health system.

    by Steve Mass — February 3, 2019

  36. Larry, too many of your type stories and then there’s “Medicare will become insolvent in 2026, U.S. government says” … https://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-pol-medicare-finances-20180605-story.html

    by Rich — February 3, 2019

  37. My story parallels Larry’s. 4 major surgeries in 5 years with physical therapy rehab and my Medicare managed policy covered all. (I did have to contest one $540.00 charge which eventually the hospital forgave.) My triple bypass 5 years ago was billed at $230K. After my minor heart attack and prior to surgery when my wife called the “Medicare Advantage” BlueCross insurance company we had then to notify them she was told the situation to them did not appear to be an “emergency”. The surgeon and cardiologist quickly overrode that. I was not personally charged (but I did change my insurance). As Larry stated, our socialistic Medicare program saved not only my life but that huge cost.

    by RichPB — February 3, 2019

  38. I will turn 65 in a few months and I was considering United Health Care through AARP (supplemental plan). I found out that the Silver Sneakers program is being discontinued by AARP/United Health Care.
    It would have been a nice “free” perk!

    Diane

    by Diane — February 3, 2019

  39. Our medical care in the USA is a business and not a right as many of us acknowledge. Our medical practitioners treat a disease once it has been discovered and often only for the symptoms and not the cause. Changing to a plant based, no oil, no dairy diet could bring an improvement in symptoms. The body is often able to heal itself. Of course this does not apply to broken bones, we all need to be treated for those by a competent orthopedic doctor. A good diet and exercise will certainly help with that issue as well. Consider a naturalistic/homeopathic practitioner and stay away from big pharma, many medications produce their own side effects which require more drugs to keep them under control and lead to a nasty spiral of illness caused by the drugs themselves. It is also outrageous that the cost for said pharmaceuticals is so very high for Americans

    by Jennifer — February 4, 2019

  40. Let us not digress and turn this into another political discussion, but there seems to be some misunderstanding about Medicare.

    CNN money discusses this: https://money.cnn.com/retirement/guide/insurance_health.moneymag/index13.htm

    You have paid into it from payroll taxes since you have worked. That is not socialism. “Outliers” (those with extreme medical conditions, many through no fault of there own) may take more money from medicare than they have paid in but hopefully there are millions of us who are reasonably healthy. I know I am paying quarterly into the system after retirement as well for my Medicare Advantage plan.
    Diane, as you recognize , Silver Sneakers is an awesome program. At $30 a month without Silver Sneakers (can can find gyms that ask for more, but check around) I feel as good as ever and based on health reports I will be healthier and need less Medicare.

    by Hugh — February 4, 2019

  41. Diane: I signed up for United Healthcare/AARP Pt. G last year when I retired at 65. I got a letter in January that they had dropped Silver Sneakers and were offering discounts at gyms instead. It was great not to have all of the copays and deductibles I had to pay when working. By the time I retired, I had a $5K deductible and hefty copays with my large corporate employer. My monthly employee medical insurance cost was also the same as my cost for Medicare Part B, Part G, Part D and COBRA for vision and dental! When you retire, be sure to file a SSA-44 form with Social Security. Otherwise, your Medicare cost will be calculated on your earnings when you were still working instead of your anticipated retirement income.

    My only problem with Medicare has been doctor-caused. My first doctor visit was mis-coded by the billing dept. as a $505 “well patient” appointment. Medicare denied coverage, and the supplemental insurance doesn’t kick in if Medicare doesn’t cover the service. I’ve talked to the doctor’s billing office since the visit was for an actual medical problem. I’m hoping the situation is corrected soon.

    After paying Medicare taxes for 40 years, I’m grateful that it is providing me with benefits now. I’ve had no problems finding doctors who accept Medicare, but then again…I moved to a suburb of Cleveland to be closer to family. Due to the Cleveland Clinic hospitals (among other hospitals here), you can’t throw a Frisbee without hitting a few doctors in this area LOL. And yes…it was cold last week but I just enjoyed an electric blanket, fireplace & my Kindle. No regrets.

    by Kate — February 4, 2019

  42. Diane,
    Our local senior center charges only $10 – $20 annually, depending on where one lives; and has silver sneaker type programs and SO MUCH more. Wonderful opportunities to keep fit and heathy! You may want to check out your local senior center and see what it offers. Sending warm greetings.

    by ella — February 4, 2019

  43. Diane, Planet Fitness honors the United Heathcare/AARP for free membership. If there isn’t one in your area, call the work out businesses in your area and ask if they honor it.
    Also, this is to anyone…I don’t understand why people pay for the “supplemental” insurance with medicare and not just do the one they’re entitled to which they’re charged $135.00 for the regular.
    We have AARP MedicareComplete Plan 2 (HMO). We do not need a referral. All we pay is $5 for primary visit and $35 for specialist. OptimRX has 90 day supply mail order free for Tier one…I just can’t see paying for Plan F…can anyone enlighten me?

    by Brenda — February 4, 2019

  44. Kate and Brenda – Thank you both for the great information!

    Brenda, you asked about why pay for Plan F.? I did end up signing up for Innovative F through Anthem Blue Cross. My comfort zone at this point being new to Medicare is to go with a supplemental which is similar to being on PPO plans throughout my employment years. I have never been on a HMO plan..

    I will look into the AARP plan that you mentioned. I like the fact that you don’t need a referral and the price is right!!

    I will look forward to what others comment about HMO vs Supplemental Plans.

    Thank you!!

    by Diane — February 4, 2019

  45. Ella – Thank you for the idea about checking into ones local senior center for fitness classes. I will give my local center a call this week. I honestly hadn’t thought of utilizing that resource.

    Thank you!!

    by Diane — February 4, 2019

  46. We have moved the last few comments concerning the cost of Medicare plans to a different blog for further discussion:
    2019 Medicare Premiums Announced
    https://www.topretirements.com/blog/financial/2019-medicare-premiums-announced.html/#comments

    by Jane at Topretirements — February 6, 2019

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