Choosing Secondary Health Insurance for Seniors

My mom is 73 years old and is on Social Security. She's been relying on COBRA as a secondary insurance since my stepdad passed away, but she's going to be losing it in the next month or so. She hasn't chosen a new secondary insurance because she's confused over which one to pick from. She's concerned about the cost of the insurance and the out-of-pocket expenses.

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She has a kidney disease, thyroid disease, and fibromyalgia, so she has fairly frequent doctor/specialist visits and blood tests. I don't know if it matters, but she lives in a small town in Arizona that doesn't have a large choice of doctors.

Everyone here has such terrific advice and resources, so I'm hoping that I can get some good suggestions on the best secondary insurance that would be the most cost-effective, along with maybe an explanation of why, so that I can pass it on to her?

Thanks so much ahead of time!

By Judy = Oklahoma from Tulsa, OK

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October 19, 20110 found this helpful

Check and see if there is something called SHIINE in your state. They help senior citizens figure out things like social security and medicare. Or else another place to call would be 211, that is a program called Helpline.

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I'm not sure about the SHIINE program being nationwide, but the 211 program is nationwide. Helpline is clearing house for all kinds of agencies that can help find sources of help.

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October 20, 20110 found this helpful

She should have got on AARP insurance when she first went on Medicare. She may still be able to do it. The best policy they have is expensive but she will have no deductible whatsoever and the policy will cover Medicare deductible.

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October 20, 20110 found this helpful

You or she should go to Medicare.gov. You can compare the plans that are in her area. There are several carriers that have plans that do not have a monthly premium.

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October 20, 20110 found this helpful

Most states have a program to help seniors. It is called SHIP, which mean "State Health Insurance (assistance) Program.

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Google SHIP for your state and there will be a number to call to help you.

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October 20, 20110 found this helpful

There are also some insurance businesses that specialize in Medicare coverage (secondary health ins) & they search for the best ins. for you. Also contact your local hospital(s) & ask if they have someone there who can help them choose their secondary medicare health insurance & if they don't, I am sure they will be able to steer you to the appropriate person or state agency. I know PA has "Apprise" which helps seniors with their medicare ins plan choices. I am sure each state must have a similar service if only under a different name. Good luck. Search online "choosing medicare secondary insurance" & check the different links that come up.

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Good Luck

from another website: What is the best secondary insurance with medicare? I'm shopping for insurance to go w/my medicare.

In some states such as New York certain areas, usually rural the second care provider is free. You need to get a hold of the Medicare book for 2009 for your state. The books were just mailed out. In the back of the book are a list of free and small copay second providers. This benefit is not income related. It has something to do with the availability of medical care in your area. We are in upstate NY.

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October 20, 20110 found this helpful

Just from experience Humana is a bad deal all around and there is not enough room on here to tell all the reasons. The representative will tell you anything, then after it is too late to change for a year, you find out the truth.

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AARP rates are quite expensive. I dealt with this for my mother and now am for myself. The one that pays best for medical I have found is Blue Cross Blue Shield. I am open to anything that might be better. I pay no deductible and pay no medical bills.

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October 21, 20110 found this helpful

Find an insurance agent that you like and he can direct you. I think the best choices are with Mutual of Omaha, Medico (I'm with them) or the AARP. You will have to join the first year, but do not have to renew the AARP after that.

My brother let my 91-year-old mom's insurance lapse and the cheapest we found for her was AARP. I think it turns out to be around $180 a month for Plan F. Your agent will help you select the best plan for her. A drug plan then is around $25-30 a month unless she's low income. Then she can check with her local social services office for help with drug plans. If she is low income, she may be eligible for state assistance with her insurance.

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Anonymous
October 21, 20110 found this helpful

I for one do not know any senior who can afford insurance. I am a disabled senior with the income of 600 a month and can't afford the 95 a month that the AARP insurance costs.

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October 22, 20110 found this helpful

Yes, find a good agent and I've found that AARP is NOT cheaper on any insurance they offer. That goes for auto insurance, life insurance, etc. AARP is the last place you should go to look.

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October 23, 20110 found this helpful

American Pioneer is one. I do not like the bundled packages (HMO's) they for the most part stink!

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You need to hook up with a knowledgeable agent and they can help you. It all depends on what her medical issues are? How many meds for each one, etc. Good luck.

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October 29, 20110 found this helpful

Marcia S, you may be eligible for state assistance with your insurance and drug coverage; it would definitely be worth it to check into it.

Caraing, you are correct in that an agent is best because cost of coverage does depend on health issues and type of drugs that are being used.

In our case, according to my agent, the insurance that AARP uses was best for my mom. He has me with Medico and he has my husband with Mutual of Omaha - all because those are the best prices for each of us. I feel like he's doing a pretty good job in doing research for the three of us.

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November 4, 20110 found this helpful

Thanks to everyone for the advice! I had forgotten to mention that my mom lives in a small town without a lot of the resources that were suggested. She also has an old brain injury that makes it difficult for her to understand things sometimes, and she can't deal with much stress. This is what she finally did:

She went through the ins. co. list in the Medicare pamphlet & called one that is supposed to be one of the best (un-named here for a reason). Spoke to a rep & told him what she was looking for & he said 'no problem, we can do that,I'll send you information & application for just what you want'. What she got in the mail was nothing like what she asked for,after she read it, she sat there & cried hysterically (part of her brain injury, she gets emotional & didn't think to call me so I could talk her through it). With great timing, she got a phone call from a rep with that insurance, to 'follow up' & see if she was satisfied, little did he know what he was getting himself into, LOL!

Between anger & tears, she told him why she was not happy with what they'd sent her, she also explained her injury. He was able to calm her down, reassure her they had a policy she wanted & made arrangements to drive up to her town to speak to her personally about it a week later. They arranged to meet at a cafe & she was going take her cousin, to go over it & help her understand. So, when they met, the ins. rep. had a "friend" with him, who sat & listened to the presentation of what policies they had available. Then this "friend" was introduced as an agent from another ins. agency who wanted to show her what his company had to offer.

Turns out "Ins. B" had the same policy at a lower price than "Ins. A", my mom got exactly what she wanted, at a lower cost to her!! The agent from the 1st company went above & beyond in trying to help my mom get what she needed without stressing out. He told her that when he 1st started out in the business, his old boss told him that no matter what, he needed to remember to always think about the client & what was better for them, to put their needs above everything. He certainly did that when he brought an agent from a rival agency to talk to her and that's why no names are mentioned! I think I would have signed with him for that reason alone, even if it was a bit more!

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