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This is the Truth Network. Welcome to Finishing Well, brought to you by CardinalGuide.com, with certified financial planner Hans Scheil, best-selling author and financial planner helping families finish well for over 40 years. On Finishing Well, we'll examine both biblical and practical knowledge to assist families in finishing well, including discussions on managing Social Security, Medicare, IRAs, long-term care, life insurance, investments, and taxes. Now, let's get started with Finishing Well. Oh, welcome to Finishing Well today with certified financial planner Hans Scheil, and today's show is Medicare 2023, and that's pretty timely, I'm sure. If you've been watching any TV lately, I'm sure you've noticed that this is definitely a topic of discussion during the open enrollment period, what you're looking at. And so, along those lines, I think there's a very wonderful statement that's in the seventh chapter of the Song of Solomon.
It's really helpful. Jesus is describing the beauty of the bride of his church, and he describes her as having a nose in the seventh chapter, fourth verse. He says you have a nose of Lebanon that's facing towards Damascus, a nose that's the tower of Lebanon, actually. So, you know, the idea of a nose is it sniffs out stuff, and Lebanon is almost synonymous with the word white, because when you're in Israel and you look towards the mountains of Lebanon, you see white. And so that idea of this pure nose where you can kind of smell a rat, so to speak, and the fact that you're facing towards Damascus does not necessarily mean Damascus is full of rats. But what it does mean is that there's a cryptic word there. Damascus means silent is the sackcloth weavers. And you may know that people would mourn when the Bible was written, and they would wear a sackcloth. And so the people that are trying to work out their schemes and they're weaving their schemes, the schemes are to separate you from God.
And they're not going to raise their hand and wave it around saying, I'm trying to pull this off. But what Jesus is saying in this description is, I think you've got a pure enough nose you can smell a rat. And if you don't, when you see all these commercials or you see a lot of, you know, election stuff, you smell a rat.
And so it's good that you have some information, and so it's our hope here today in doing Medicare 2023 to give you credible information and credible places to get information. Right, Hans? That they can get it. Oh, yeah. So we're going to have people calling us and they're just going to be taking a little sniff in the beginning.
And you could actually do that on a Zoom. You know, I'm talking about customers approaching us and I'm making a joke now. Oh, yeah, I get it. I'm sure they do. I think where you got to this passage is where, you know, people are just bombarded with messages and there are a lot of rats in those messages. And when you see these celebrities, which you see all the time on TV talking about Medicare Advantage or really selling Medicare Advantage, and they're not talking at all about original Medicare, all they're talking about is the free extra benefits. They don't dare start talking about the insurance because if they did that, they would have to disclose so much stuff. It's just crazy. Yeah, and what's even worse, you know, and I see actually people that are friends of mine and relatives that when they start saying, oh, we're going to add money back to your Social Security check every month and it's a sucker punch. Oh, sure it is. I mean, so what's going on with Medicare Advantage? And this doesn't make it bad.
It actually is good. I mean, you're on it yourself. And so it is actually wonderful for the right people, but it's misleading all this free stuff because the government, what the government is doing is they're outsourcing you, they're taking you from original Medicare, which they have to pay all your claims when you're on Medicare Part A and B. The government is having to pay when you go to the hospital, when you go to the doctor and have hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bill, they're on the hook for it. And what they're doing is they're passing it by your election to a private insurance company like UnitedHealthcare or Humana or Aetna or whichever Medicare Advantage plan you choose. And in the background, that Medicare Advantage plan is getting a check every month from the government when they're giving you free stuff or a zero premium. They're just giving you back money they're getting from the government on your behalf.
Does that make sense? No, believe me, I'm well aware because like you said, I have Medicare Advantage, but still there's a lot that goes into deciding which of those plans and to make that plan choice based on how much money you get back or based on the free stuff. The insurance is the big, big deal, right? That's where you don't want the tail wagging the dog.
Well, it is. And when you first moved over to that, of course, we looked at that if you can get a free 50 bucks added back to your essentially to your Social Security check, that's kind of a big leap. But if they reduce your Part B premium, or they give you back $50 toward that it has the effect of increasing your Social Security check. But we looked at those and what you had to give up in the insurance area was enough for you that you could do without that.
I mean, the zero premium was good enough for you. And what we're really looking at is the doctors that are accepted on the plan, the hospitals that are accepted on the plan, and then the co-payment that you're going to have to pay if you get sick. Right, because ultimately, that's what we're buying here is, is, is, you know, mostly, you know, bad sick insurance like you, you know, that's what you're talking about.
Well, it is. And so all those ads are for those things. Nobody's running an ad for original Medicare plus a supplement.
So when I go into this, and in the video that's up on YouTube, that you can go find just the 2023 one is up. And it really talks, there's three decisions if you're just going on Medicare, that are three sets of decisions, because there's a number of decisions within each one that you need to do, and you need to do them in the proper order. And so if you're already on Medicare, then forget about number one, because it has to do with the timing of when you sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B. There's a whole series of decisions with that. And then once you've decided to get on it, now you have to make a decision, am I going to stay on original Medicare, and then buy a supplement and buy a separate drug plan?
Or am I going to go for one of these Medicare Advantage plan policies, and then I'm now over on the other side of the board, and I'm outsourcing my Medicare Part A and Part B, I'm taking it away from the government and assigning it to a private insurance company. And so that's the deal. And this is the place that a lot of people miss out on is they don't realize that they're doing something, and then they're giving up something when they do this.
It's where people get confused. And then the third set of decisions are once we've decided which side of the aisle we want to be on, whether we want to be on the original Medicare plus a supplement, or we decide we want to be over on the Medicare Advantage side, then and now is when we decide which company do I want paying my bills or offering me the insurance, which insurance company do I want to buy from? And so you have to do these in the right order. And many people just start on the very last one is they're just like they're watching a TV ad. Boy, it sounds good to me.
50 bucks added back onto my social security check and free meals or something if I'm sick, and a gym membership. So sign me up. And whatever company's running that ad, they just go in there. And so they jump to the third decision.
And then some of them regret that later on. Yeah, it's like you say, it's the idea is that the company obviously is the one that's running the ad. And the beautiful thing of dealing with, you know, a counselor like like you, Hans, is that you represent a whole bunch of companies so you can, you know, give them good information once you get to that part of the decision. Oh, sure.
I mean, the whole key is, is to be unbiased and to be a fiduciary. I mean, I mean, we're we're fortunate. And, you know, God has blessed us with YouTube and podcasts and the radio. We don't have to call people and beg them to do business anymore.
Like I spent 40 years of my career. I mean, we've got people calling us left and right. And which is wonderful. It's a blessing and we're thankful. But it also enables us to be much less salesy. I mean, we just we we when we're putting out all this content and we're doing videos or recording radio shows, we're really trying to empower you with information.
We're trying to simplify the information enough that you can make a good decision on what's going to be best for you. Yeah. And I love the way in this video for Medicare 2023, you guys start out with the books that that obviously all of us that went on Medicare got those books and their pages and pages of disclosures of all sorts of stuff that, you know, I my nose couldn't couldn't take it. But what's wonderful is that those videos actually walk you through the books to say, OK, you know, if you want to see what's important in these books that you kind of need to know, you know, you take them and highlight those pages so that people can can see what's important.
Yeah. Well, so what we did is we took the same video we made last year and just did it again with the same information on the whiteboard and the same outline. And then we went into the books and found the places that it backs up what we said. So we didn't go to the books first and then find the important information and highlight it.
We already had that. Like I didn't have to do any prep for the show. I normally have to do a little prep, but I I got this Medicare stuff down so well and with the issues that I could just go in. So what we did again, we wrote out the board and we wrote out the outline of what we're going to talk about. And then we went into those books and I don't know how many pages of show notes we have, which are straight out of the book, but it's a lot. It's probably 40 pages.
You don't have to read all 40 pages of it, but if you want to see where does this say this in the guide, it's in every single spot in the video. Right. And so, again, to me, that's what we need to know, because what you've said time again is the important part of the decision at the end of the day is if I get bad sick, you know, if I got the coverage that I need and in being a good steward of the money that it's going to take to get it right. Mm hmm. Well, absolutely. And that's where we get into the last decision.
It's all about money. And you're going to need to pay some money for your health care in retirement. And you're going to access Medicare, but you've got to pay for that, too, unless you're absolutely at the lowest below the poverty level. And if you're below the poverty level, there's government programs to both pay your Part B and D premiums and then to pay your deductibles and co-payments. And so I guess if you're if you're at the lowest incomes, you don't have to pay anything for health care. But if you're anything but that, you have to pay.
Exactly. Well, we got to go to a break. We want to remind you, as always, that this show is brought to you by CardinalGuide.com and Hans' book, The Complete Cardinal Guide to Planning for and Living in Retirement, which, of course, is at CardinalGuide.com, as well as all the show notes we're talking about today. The books and all that information that you get there from Medicare, it's all there at CardinalGuide.com.
So we'll be right back with a lot more on Medicare 2023. Hans and I would love to take our show on the road to your church, Sunday School, Christian, or civic group. Here's a chance for you to advance the kingdom through financial resources by leveraging Hans' expertise in qualified charitable contributions, veterans' aid and attendance, IRAs, Social Security, Medicare, and long-term care. Just go to CardinalGuide.com and contact Hans to schedule a live recording of Finishing Well at your church, Sunday School, Christian, or civic group. Contact Hans at CardinalGuide.com. That's CardinalGuide.com. Welcome back to Finishing Well with certified financial planner Hans Scheil. Of course, we always remind you.
Brought to you by CardinalGuide.com. Today's show, Medicare 2023. And so let's get to these decisions.
We've got one, two, three. Hans, what goes into that first decision? Okay, so the first decision is, am I going to sign up for Medicare at 65?
Or if you're past 65 and you already decided not to sign up for it, am I going to sign up for it this year, next year? So all the things around the first decision are in the signing up for Medicare Part A and Part B. And the timing of it. And the penalties if you don't get it right. That's the first set of decisions.
And it's the kind of thing that's different for everybody. But it really boils down to is if you're still working, or your spouse is still working, and you need, you have good group insurance, so you really don't want Medicare, but you're thinking that you better do something. It's those people that need some advice, and we really got to break it down and decide, is it going to be better for them to start now? Or is it going to be better for them to delay?
And then we want to, if they delay, we want to make sure they're all right doing. That's kind of it. And if you don't have group insurance from work, then you're going to need to sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B at 65. And then how do you do that?
I mean, we can help you with that individually, or we have several videos on that. The notable thing for me, personally, was that you could be on group insurance, but if you're on a group that's smaller than 20, then you don't have credible insurance. And again, you don't want to end up with those fines. And so you really do want to make sure that you got credible coverage before you decide not to go on Medicare, because there's not only fines for not being on Medicare, but also for Part C, right, if you don't have the drug coverage. And that's another place people get caught up, is you got to have both, right?
Yeah, you've just taken about two or three trips back and forth from before Medicare, during Medicare, after Medicare, and that's where people just get in the tailspin. And so around those first decisions, that's a good time to get some consulting. Yeah, we're happy to do it. I'll do it for anybody. That's all I do for you.
I'm happy to do it. It doesn't take us very long. We just need to ask you some questions. And the penalty for not getting it right is number one, you could end up without insurance. And number two, if you do get signed up for Medicare late, then you're going to end up paying penalties for life.
So let's not dig too much into decisions instead of decisions number one, but we just got to make them. Now, if you're already on Medicare, then what you got to do is that decision number two, which really has to do do I want to be on original Medicare and a separate Part D drug plan? So I want to be on the left side of the board if you watch my video, or do I want to take my Medicare, my Part A and my Part B?
And do I want to outsource it to a private insurance company? And then do I want to move over to the right side? So it's either or you can't be on both sides of the board. You can't be on a Medicare Advantage plan and have a supplement. You can't be on a Medicare Advantage plan and have original Medicare and all the rules that go with that. So we can spend some time with any one client helping you decide which side of the board you want to be on.
Or if you're already on one side, a lot of times, just helping people figure out where they are is helpful. And then once you figure out where you are, if you want to move back to original Medicare from a Medicare Advantage plan, then that takes a little doing. Or if you're on original Medicare, you want to buy one of these Medicare Advantage plans, that takes some doing as well. So what I want to talk about is why would you want to be on original Medicare and a supplement and a separate Part D plan? What are the pluses of that?
Why would you not want to do that? What is it that motivates people to go over to these Medicare Advantage plans? And then the same thing with the Medicare Advantage plan, I want to talk about why do you want this? What is it that it gives you that is so good? And then why would you not want it?
So let me see if I can answer those questions quickly. So on the original Medicare Part A and Part B, and then adding a supplement from a private insurance company, I mean, we'll start with why do you not want to do this? I mean, a supplement is going to cost you 100, 150 bucks a month for starters, and you know, that costs money. If you go over to the Medicare Advantage side, you have to dump your supplement and you dump the premium for it too.
So that's 1500 bucks to 2000 bucks a year that you're now not paying. So that's the disadvantage to the or one of the disadvantages to the original Medicare and a supplement. Now, what's the biggest advantage to this?
What is the biggest plus? And why do people do this? Because you can go to any doctor in the United States that takes Medicare, you got no networks, no managed care. How does that sound to you? Anybody that's dealt with all that managed care and understands, you know, there's a lot involved in that.
Yeah, it's not awful. But there's people that just don't want to deal with it. And like me personally, and there are people that generally have some resources, people that have some money in retirement. Maybe not a lot of money, but they want choices. And they want to if they get seriously sick, they may want to go to with cancer, they may want to go to MD Anderson in Houston. But they may want to go to the Mayo Clinic, or they may just want to go up to Duke and Durham to the Duke Cancer Center.
And they don't want to be fiddling around with a network at the worst time of their lives. And so that is the big reason to be on Original Medicare Part A and Part B, and buy a supplement. And you don't have to do any pre work other than you need to make sure wherever you're going, they take Medicare, which is most places. Okay, the other disadvantage, and then it could be looked upon as an advantage is you have to buy a separate Part D drug plan. And the disadvantage part of that is you got to pay for 10, 15, $20 a month for what is included or free on a Medicare Advantage plan. So you could say that's a disadvantage to the Original Medicare plus a supplement plus a Part D plan route. But where you could say it's an advantage is you get to pick your drug plan, because you get to go through all of them and say, I want this one.
For whatever reason, it's how it pays on my drug. So that's the Original Medicare plus a supplement side. Yeah, and actually to get into a little bit of a detail to that. So, you know, because I've experienced it, that you have some medications that on certain Part D plans, you know, the cost you $300, $400 a month, the copay versus other Part D plans that when you get to pick your own, when all you're worried about is the Part D plan, you can put in your medications and Hans has got the software to do that to spit out the one that's going to give you the best copays for what you're taking, right?
Well, absolutely. And your, your Part D, it's just open source, you can go to anyone and buy from anyone you want. Whereas, when we jump over to the Medicare Advantage, your Part D plan is just going to be a tag along, they're going to give you one, which may be just fine.
I'm not saying it's bad. It's just, you don't have any selection in this. Because you shouldn't be picking your Medicare Advantage plan by the drugs. I mean, you need to be picking your Medicare Advantage plan if you're going this route, by how it pays on your doctor and hospital bills.
You need to, for what it's intended for. So now let's talk about the Medicare Advantage plan. So what is the big advantage? What is the big plus?
What is the reason that people go to these? And what I'd like it to be and it should be is, is that they have no premium for a Medicare supplement policy. Because many of these have a zero premium. You don't pay anything by the month. The Medicare Advantage plan is able to deliver all the benefits just with the money they get from the government with your name on it, essentially.
And so you, you know, you don't have anything going out your checking account every month for this, you still got to pay your Part B premium. But you don't have to pay a premium for the insurance or to the insurance company. So that's, that's the biggest reason. The second reason is all the freebies that they give you along and they do a lot of things and they have a lot of add ons that are very enticing. And the reason I put that second is because it's not first. I mean, people get in trouble with their health insurance when they start picking their Medicare Advantage plan by the whole of freebies, because they're just, you know, as you said, they're a smokescreen.
You really need to look at the insurance and we can help you do that. And again, not saying they're bad. It's just that that's actually an advantage. All those freebies are nice dental vision, a little bit of your gym membership, you can possibly get a meals program. I mean, there's there's nice benefits to these things. Now, the biggest disadvantage are just the networks. We've already talked about those.
To see a specialist, you're going to need to get a referral. And if you go outside the network on a PPO, you're going to have to pay more. And you can do that on an HMO. You can't go outside the network unless it's an emergency. So you're really in the network.
And that's the big disadvantage to those things. So where this leaves people listening to this call, if you're not on Medicare yet, you're not 65 yet, and you're approaching it, you know, you got out of the beginning of the show, and we went over it a couple of times, is you need to be very thoughtful about when you sign up for Medicare, especially if you're still working or your spouse is still working. Okay. And then the biggest thing I want you to get out of the show is you're going to have a decision to make if it's in front of you, is whether you want to be on Original Medicare plus a supplement plus a drug plan, or you want to be over on the Medicare Advantage side. And there's pluses and minuses to both. But it's a clear decision. And it needs to be you're gonna have to be one way or the other. You don't have to do the same thing your spouse does. One of you can do one thing, the other one can do the other thing.
But you're going to be on one side of the line or the other. And there's a lot to consider. And there's a lot concealed in all this material because it's, you know, it's 150 pages of material was not concealed. It's all in there.
It's just making heads or tails of it is difficult. And we're here to help you. Yeah, that's exactly the thing to do is go to Cardinal guide.com, as always, where you'll find, you know, all of Hans's contact information. And the show notes on this show, podcasts are all there at the seven worries tab at Cardinal guide.com, as well as Hans's book to complete Cardinal guide to planning for and living in retirement. Great show, Hans. Thanks.
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