AMOS May Help You Save Money

AMOS May Help You Save Money

During our working years, most of us have or had very little choice about the health insurance coverage available to us. Our employer offers or offered us a health insurance plan. Our only choice is or was whether we enrolled for the coverage or not.

As we approach 65 or if we become totally disabled, that changes. We are eligible for Medicare.  Suddenly we find out we are going to have to choose our coverage from various options open to us.

Every year afterwards, Medicare has an open enrollment period. During this period, we can change some or all of our coverage we have for the following calendar year.

There is Only One Problem.

Most of us have never looked closely at insurance options and what specifically they offer. There also may be several different insurance companies available which pay different amounts for the services in each option.

We now have to figure out which coverage to sign up for.  Should we stay with the coverage we have now or is another one or another insurance company’s plan better for our needs?

It’s Not an Easy Decision to Make.

Many avoid it. They stay with the first plans they enrolled in at age 65.  They do this without realizing some of those may end up costing more than they had to pay.

This is at a time when they are living on a fixed income. They end up paying more for medical bills. When that happens, it costs them more than they thought. That may prevent them from buying something else they truly need.

It Really Was Not Supposed to be This Difficult

When it originally started back in 1965, Medicare was easy.  There were 2 parts of Medicare – Parts A and B. That was it – nothing else.

Part A covered hospital bills. All of the charges a person had for services they received while confined to a hospital were considered under Part A.

Part B covered doctors’ charges and those charges performed outside a hospital.  These were charges for visits to a doctor’s office, lab and x-rays, physical therapy, etc.

As the years passed, charges for medical services increased. They never went down.

There was a gap between the charges for the services and what Medicare Part B covered.

Over Time the Gap Between a Charge for a Medical Service and What Medicare Paid Widened Significantly

People started to having to pay more and more for their medical expenses out of their pocket.  Insurance companies started to offer insurance plans to cover part or all of the balances of those charges which Medicare didn’t pay.  These plans were called Medigap plans.

Charges for medical services still rose. People on Medicare were not the only ones who experienced this. All Americans did.

Insurance companies came up with other plans to help cover these increased expenses. They established Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs).

Medicare Advantage Plans

In Medicare, these PPOs and HMOs are called Medicare Advantage Plans. These actually replace Medicare Parts and B and Medigap plans. Many cover prescription drugs. Some also have vision and dental coverage which Medicare does not have.

Charges for medical services were not the only medical expenses rising. The cost for prescription drugs increased over time. Those who had to take prescription drugs daily were paying more and more. On January 1, 2006, Medicare added a Part D. Part D offered people the option to purchase insurance to cover the cost of their prescription drugs.

Now when a person becomes eligible for Medicare, . . .

. . .They Suddenly Have to Make All of These Choices

Which coverage is best for them? Is it

Medicare Parts A and B, Medigap and Part D

Or

A Medicare Advantage Plan

To make it more complex, different insurance companies offer Medigap, Part D and Medicare Advantage plans.  There are different charges for each. What they cover and the amount they pay for a service or a prescription drug may be different.

On a yearly basis, insurance companies may increase their charges for the Medigap, Part D and the Medicare Advantage Plans they offer. They also may lower the amount they pay for a service or a prescription drug. These changes occur at the start of a new calendar year.

Every year there is an open enrollment period. It is from October 15 to December 7. During this time a person can switch from one plan to another or from one insurance company to another to try to avoid having to pay more for medical expenses than they did before.

How Does a Person Decide Which Plans and Coverages are Best for Them?

Medicare has tried to make it easy for people to compare Medigap and Part D options with Medicare Advantage plans and one Insurance company with another.  However, this still is difficult for the average person who knows very little about plans and what they pay.

The AMOS Program

Most people living in Knoxville or Knox County do not know the Office on Aging (OOA) has an Affordable Medicine Options for Seniors (AMOS) program.

Some who have seen it on the OOA’ s website bypass it because of the name. They think it just refers to Medicine. When you look more closely at what the people working in this program do, the name should be Affordable Medical Options for Seniors.

The people working in the AMOS program are trained to understand what coverage and benefits Medicare Parts A and B, Medigap and Part D offer. They also know how to compare them to the Medicare Advantage plans.

Their job is to help people like you and me understand what options we have under Medicare and how much we may have to pay for each. They also help us know what services will be covered and how much will be paid for them. This enables us to pick which coverage is right for us.

Other Ways People at AMOS Help

If your monthly Social Security check is your only income or if your income is very low, you may be entitled to certain Medicare coverages at little or no cost. Because you haven’t heard about that, you may be paying for coverage right now you don’t have to.

The people working in the AMOS program will let you know this. They will also let you know who to contact and help you to get those coverages at little or no cost

If you have a chronic medical condition, like Diabetes, and need to take medicine daily for this, you may be able to get the medicine you need at little or no cost. The people at AMOS will help you get it.

If you have to take a certain high-priced drug and can’t afford it, the people at AMOS may be able to help you get it for free or at a reduced cost.

They can also show you how you may be able to reduce the cost of any of the prescription drugs you are currently taking.

No Charge for the Help You Get From AMOS

The nice thing about the AMOS program is there is no charge for the services the people working there provide.  This is one place where people help you save money and you don’t have to pay them for it.

This may be the first time you have heard about the AMOS Program. Call them today to see if you can save money on the coverages you have under Medicare or the cost of any medical services you require.

The Phone Number is 865-524-2786

They may be able to help you lower your medical costs.

Wouldn’t you rather use the money you save somewhere else where you really have to?

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If you have any comments on what you have read in this post, please email them to me. Also – if you have any ideas about subjects you would like to see discussed in future posts, please send me an email and let me know. My email address is bob.ooablog@gmail.com.