When retired veterinarian Richard Timmins went on a Medicare Advantage plan in 2016, he admits that he knew very little about Traditional Medicare (also called Original Medicare) or the more than 3,800 Medicare Advantage plans that are marketed to seniors and the disabled.
“I went to a so-called Medicare Information Session and took the recommendation of the speaker and ran with it,” Timmins told Truthout. “I did not know that he was paid a commission for every person he signed up for a plan. The issue for me was cost.”
Like other Medicare beneficiaries, Timmins knew that the standard premium for Medicare coverage — $164 per month in 2023 — would be taken out of his monthly Social Security checks. He also understood that there would be a $226 annual deductible for Part B, which covers doctor’s visits, but after that deductible was met, Traditional Medicare would pick up 80 percent of the cost of his care. What’s more, he knew that dental, optical and audiology were not covered by the plan and that he would be responsible for paying the remainder of his health care costs — 20 percent of the total — out of pocket unless he purchased a separate, costly Medigap insurance plan.
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