David Kolkebeck

We must have a supplemental plan

Thanks to Linda Hay for echoing my sentiments about the state retirement board's Aug. 2 announcement that teachers will be automatically switched from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan effective January 1.

It is a bad development for all the reasons Hay mentions. But Hay suggests that all we need, if we opt out of Advantage, is Plan D for prescription drugs and Medicare B (which costs us $158 monthly and typically comes out of our Social Security checks).

We must have a supplemental plan to cover the 20 percent that Medicare doesn't cover. Currently, Medigap F with no deductibles and no copays, offered by BlueCross BlueShield of Vermont, is the best supplemental coverage at $185 a month.

Premiums: $158, Medicare; $185, Medigap; $51, prescription drugs (my plan). That's nearly $400 a month. Awfully expensive, but no retiree should be without all three.

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For retired teachers, the state is pushing a risky health-care switch

‘To keep our original Medicare, Vermont’s retired teachers must opt out by Oct. 27. This deadline has been given scant notice, and State Treasurer Beth Pearce avoided all mention of opting out in her announcement.’

Vermont's current teachers are headed for arbitration on health care, but its 10,000 retired teachers have no such mechanism to counter State Treasurer Beth Pearce's decision to abandon their traditional Medicare coverage for a Medicare Advantage plan that takes effect Jan. 1, 2022. In an Aug. 2 letter to...

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