Medicare options for Caterpillar retirees
The Caterpillar Company Retiree Benefit Program is a good program, but it’s not the only option for non-union CAT retirees. Let’s look at how the plan works in relation to Medicare, and some ways retirees can save money while getting the same exact coverage.
How OneExchange coverage works
As a CAT retiree, at age 65, your group coverage is transitioned from United Health Care to OneExchange (formerly Extend Health) for individual coverage. OneExchange is a third party, based out of San Mateo, CA, that manages your retiree health care funding and reimbursement program.
Funding and Reimbursement
You are given an annual allotment of funds, which are then managed by OneExchange, to be used as reimbursements for your health insurance costs. Whatever amount you are set to receive per year, your spouse is allotted the same amount. For example, if Mr. Jones is the retiree, and receives $2600/year, then his wife will also receive $2600/year to put toward her health care.
After buying insurance or receiving medical care, you will need to make payments to your insurance carriers and health care providers, and keep copies of your statements, receipts, and other documentation. Then you'll submit a reimbursement request form in order to get reimbursed using your allotted funds. For insurance premiums, there's an option to set u a recurring premium payment withdrawal, so you won't have to submit forms each month.
OneExchange employs “licensed benefit advisors” who help to enroll retirees like you into health care plans, once they become eligible for Medicare. So, in addition to handling reimbursements, they sell insurance policies as well.
There are 5 different types of coverage offered by OneExchange:
- Medicare Supplement (Medigap)
- Medicare Advantage
- Medicare Part D prescription drug plans
- Vision insurance
- Dental insurance
While it appears that you must buy your coverage through OneExchange in order to use your allotted funds, that's not the whole story. You or your spouse must enroll with at least one type of coverage directly through OneExchange over the phone. Once you meet that requirement, you may go elsewhere for your remaining health care coverage.
For example, you might enroll with OneExchange for Prescription Drug coverage, and choose to have Sams/Hockaday manage your Medicare Supplement insurance.
Reasons to consider your options
Choosing Sams/Hockaday opens up access to many more carriers than are available through OneExchange. While Medicare Supplement coverage is standardized, premiums are not. In many cases we represent carriers who offer lower premiums for identical coverage.
Choosing Sams/Hockaday gives you a local company, where you can speak face to face, with the same agent every time. We have a friendly staff, and no phone trees. While OneExchange has agents, one is not assigned to each retiree. You will likely talk to a different individual every time you call in for assistance.
Sams/Hockaday is full-service. We’ll handle your reimbursement request forms for you and your spouse. All you need to do is sign and we’ll take care of the rest, at no additional charge.
If you’re confused about the whole topic, contact us for a free consultation. We’ll be happy to walk you through the plans in detail and explain how it all works.
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