Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Nortel medical coverage

So far Nortel has continued to support the medical coverage for employees and retirees in the USA. There is no doubt that they will be stopping that coverage some time this year. When they do, there will be a huge impact on us since we depend heavily on that coverage for ourselves and our families.

Because I am retired and over 65, I am lucky to have Medicare provide my basic medical support. I joined Medicare in 2007 and decided to keep the traditional Medicare since I still had the Cigna coverage from Nortel. When that goes I may look at the Medicare Advantage or definitely a supplement to part A and part B. I am not sure yet what to do about the Medicare drug plans.

My doctor accepts Medicare but I am not sure if he takes the Advantage plans. Since I want to stay with him I will decide based on the type of insurance he is willing to accept.

One thing I discovered when I joined Medicare is that you have to make sure that your Doctor is "assigned" by Medicare otherwise you end up paying the doctor directly and then claiming it back from Medicare. Doctors who are "assigned" submit your claims directly to Medicare and then bill you after they pay. They are also subject to the standard costs assigned by Medicare which means you pay less than the doctor may try to charge you up front if he or she is not "assigned".

I am not sure yet what to do about my wife's coverage. She has some years to go yet before she is Medicare eligible, so when the Nortel plan is wound up we will have to find a plan to support her until she can join Medicare.

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