The "window of opportunity" for Medicare plan enrollment is around the corner. Each year there exists open enrollment periods for Medicare eligible folks (age 65+ or those qualified because of disability) to enroll in individual plans or change plans without any underwriting consideration. This means that those of you that have Medicare eligible employees currently on your group health plan could suggest this option of coverage as an alternative to their current group coverage. You cannot however, force an eligible employee to make this change. This must be strictly voluntary, but in most cases coverage is better and cheaper.
We sell Medicare plans through Blue Cross, HealthPartners, Medica, and United Healthcare. I would be happy to assist your employees in this transition and answer any questions. Unfortunately, you cannot pay for your employee's Medicare plan premium directly, so other methods of compensation would have to be arranged. Medical plan premiums for 2008 ranged from $55-$167 per month, with $112 & $167 being the most popular medical plans selected.
The drug coverage is separate under Medicare Part D, and those rates range from $22-$125 per month, depending on the coverage selected. To be eligible for these plans, a person must have their Part B social security coverage, which costs $96.40 a month this year, and is projected to stay about the same for the near future. We're still talking a total of $300-$400 a month, which is usually less than what a 65+ rate is on a group plan. It's something to think about and perhaps encourage in some dialogue with your employees...
The dates to keep in mind:
- November 15th - December 31st : Annual Open Enrollment for Part D drug plans, for an effective date of January 1st, 2009
- January 1th - March 31st : Open Enrollment to Medicare Advantage and some Medigap (Senior Gold) plans