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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Wicomico County Retirees: The Deal with Insurance Coverages

By Thornton Crowe

From the last article on Sunday about County retirees, many expressed confusion about the Healthcare Insurance including Prescription and Dental coverage once they reached 65 years old, so I decided to do some digging to get answers to the various inquiries.

While it may seem perplexing, the answer is actual very simple: It’s Federal Law.

Talking with a couple Human Resources departments as well as reviewing Federal law, as it turns out, this law regarding Medicare has been in effect long before Obamacare. In fact, if you look at your 2003 handbook, it clearly states, once you reach the Medicare-eligible (65) age, you instantly transfer to Medicare as your primary and the County insurance becomes your secondary.

Furthermore, all health, prescription and dental insurance premiums for the County portion costs 50% less than former premiums, due to the fact the County shopped around for lower premiums. Hence, these lower premiums affords seniors to buy supplemental insurance through Avery Hall or other providers should they choose to do so. Gap insurance is highly suggested given the doughnut hole many face when the ‘gaps’ kick in.

The problem with prescriptions is Medicare changes the drugs they will cover constantly; therefore, it can become very confusing for recipients to figure out what is and isn’t covered. This has nothing to do with the County.

The bottom line is, retirees need to shop for gap insurance the same way they bargain hunt for everything else these days. If you really want to cut down on your prescription costs, another good avenue to pursue is prescription rebates received directly from drug companies. It is proven, this can save seniors substantially!

County retirees are actually quite lucky because the County covers 75% of dependents’ cost where other places called said no dependents receive coverage at all on their retiree plans. Furthermore, those same places only pay 50% of the retirees’ secondary coverage whereas the County pays 84% for the same.

While Obamacare has not helped the already-confusing situation, it is certainly not the culprit as stated above. Therefore, it would be a good measure for Wicomico retirees to understand it was not the County’s doing that led to their insurance woes, but our friendly federal government and their rules regarding Medicare.

At the end of the day, County retirees are a lot better off than most other retirees coming from other government agencies - and certainly from private sector employment! 


Anonymous said...

That is, if they actually make it to retirement, considering a blowhard for a leader and basement-low pay, most likely they'll either get fired or move somewhere else for better wages

I am fine with County Retirees being taken care of, considering the piss-poor excuse for wages that are offered

Anonymous said...

11:51 - you don't get it. Benefits can really off-set what you consider low wages. The ones benefitting the most from this are the county government EXECUTIVES. Do the names Creamer, Baker, Shea, Peterson, etc. ring a bell? If Culver wants to do something meaningful, he needs to get the county to stop paying for spouses' insurance. Very, very few employers do this and we sure can't afford it. Also, 50% for retirees makes more sense than 84%. This county is headed to bankruptcy if nothing changes.

Anonymous said...

Good point 120. And most these retirees are spoiled brats. All they want is more, more, more. They have it lucky compared to most others and still find a way to complain about what they get.