I am a retiree from MEBA with 20 years. I’m already on Medicare, and my spouse will be going on Medicare this summer. My question is are we better off staying with MEBA (at $2200/ year) for the catastrophic out of pocket coverage, or better off joining an advantage plan outside of MEBA that has no premium. Just wondering what other retirees do when spouse hits 65. Any thoughts are welcome. Thanks

That is probably a very complicated question with a lot of variables depending upon your health, where you live, how much you travel, the quality of care you expect, and the available options for the Medicare Advantage plan (which combines Parts A + B + C), or regular Medicare Part A + Part B + a separate Medicare Supplement Plan vs. the MEBA plan.

Medicare Advantage Plans limit where you can go for care. A problem if you have a winter home somewhere else where the providers are out of network. They also don’t let you go to top hospitals for top quality complex treatment. A good Supplemental plan lets you go to Mayo Clinic, and other top hospitals for complex care. Drug coverage is another consideration.

In my experience, $2200 a year is less than the cost of a good Medicare Suplemental plan. I’m not familiar with the MEBA plans, but my guess is that they would probably be better than most supplemental plans, and certainly better than any Medicare Advantage plan.

It will take some careful investigation and probably the assistance of a consultant to figure out which is best option for you.

According to MEBA benefits, after my wife goes on Medicare, the only thing they provide is a cap of $5000 on out of pocket expenses. The united health care rep that I talked with offers the same cap. I have time to figure it out, but hope I hear from some MEBA retirees about what they have done. Thank you for answering my post.

And that will continue to cost $2,200 per year? That seems a bit steep.

My father is on Medicare and MEBA. He said he hates MEBA insurance as a lot of procedures are not available to retirees. So the cap doesn’t come into play. Seems Medicare covers most. But he pays $500 a month and doesn’t get the coverage he needs. He feels he can’t leave as he has had 3 heart attacks. On the flip side I have heard of some retirees say they like it?

Living in Texas, there is no premium for this coverage. I got the brochure from AARP, and I think they are pretty good at checking out companies that they recommend. My wife had an E/R visit that cost us $600 out of pocket. According to the United Healthcare rep, it would have cost me only $80 out of pocket with them. It just seems to me that we have to argue with MEBA Medical too often about getting something covered. $500 per month that your father is paying sounds really high. We only pay $185.

A really good Blue Cross Supplemental plan costs $245 a month.

About 10 years ago we were in the hall and he was talking to one of his friends and he was paying $800 a month for him and his wife. He was talking about leaving as well. Maybe something changed since then. I’ll have to ask him if he still pays that amount
Like I said though they haven’t paid much of his bills compared to what he has paid into it