Retiree health plans are moving away from traditional Medicare
A shift to Medicare Advantage sparks fights with some retirees
A dramatic shift is underway in the way some retirees receive health insurance benefits from their former employers. The change pits the drive to control health care costs against retired workers’ pocketbook and health concerns.
Many employers have dropped retiree health benefits over the past several decades, but those that still offer them are shifting retirees into Medicare Advantage plans at a rapid pace.
Half of large employers offering benefits to Medicare-age retirees have contracts with Medicare Advantage plans, nearly double the share in 2017, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. And roughly 44 percent don’t give retirees a choice to use traditional Medicare within their programs. Most cited lower cost as the key reason.
The growth is part of a bigger story about Medicare Advantage expansion. Nearly half of Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in Advantage plans last year, more than double the rate in 2007. And enrollment is projected to cross the 50 percent threshold as soon as this year, according to KFF.
This weekend in the New York Times, I focus in on a high-stakes fight over retiree benefits in New York City, and the national trend.
Retirement Rebootcast: The entire series is online now
The six-part podcast series on the key themes of my new book is now online. I hope you’ve enjoyed all of these conversations with experts on key retirement topics, but in case you missed any of them, here are links. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify (search “Retirement Revised”).
You’ll find engaging discussions on the importance of making a plan for retirement, optimizing Social Security, navigating Medicare and much more.
What I’m reading
Biden aims to shore up Medicare by taxing high-income Americans . . . Brokers get lavish perks for selling costly Medigap plans . . . Breaking ground on an experiment in more affordable senior housing . . . Social Security customer service will worsen this year despite funding increase . . . Grieving families lost fortunes when they trusted an Army financial adviser . . . Dementia care programs help, if caregivers can find them . . . Vote in Congress sets up clash over ESG investing in retirement plans . . . Let’s cut 401(ks) before we slash Social Security . . . Bipartisan group of senators discuss raising the Social Security full retirement age.
You failed to mention that medicare.gov website has a comprehensive Plan comparison (Both Medigap and Advantage as well as Part D) available for free. No need for an insurance broker at all.