They came to the meeting with a great deal of uncertainty, admitting they didn’t know much about their post-retirement health insurance options. Patricia and Marcus Rasmussen will both turn 65 this year and came to the Medicare meeting hosted by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) to get advice and answers.

“We’re confused about all the different choices and their costs,” Patricia said.

Medicare can be confusing, especially if you’ve had health care coverage through your employer during your working life.

Justin Leapley, BCBSNE’s senior market account executive, says that’s why Blue Cross brings Medicare meetings to small towns and counties.

“We set ourselves apart from our competitors because we go to see them, face-to-face, and listen to their specific needs,” Leapley said.

Leapley starts each meeting by explaining the different parts of Medicare, which is sometimes called the ABC’s.

• Part A covers inpatient hospital expenses.
• Part B covers outpatient and physician expenses.
• Part C refers to Medicare Advantage plans that take the place of Original Medicare.
• Part D covers prescription drugs (not in Original Medicare)

Medicare doesn’t pay all expenses, which is why most people purchase either a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan from a health insurance company.

Medicare Supplement plans supplement what Medicare pays; Medicare Advantage plans (Part C), takes the place of Original Medicare altogether, and may also include dental, vision and wellness benefits.

The 64-year-old Rasmussen’s learned they can enroll in Part A – 90-days before they turn 65, even if they are still working.

“We didn’t realize that a lot of the coverage costs are based on income,” Patricia said.

Part B premiums are indexed based on your yearly income. Part D premiums have income-related adjustments for some individuals.

Armed with information about their options, the Rasmussens began to decide which plan would be best for them.

“People need an advocate when they begin to look at Medicare. That’s what we try to be,” Leapley said. “Every situation is different, so we show them options and let them decide what works.”

“We’re glad we came today,” Patricia said. “We have a better insight into all the steps and now we can think about what will be best for us.”