Medicare experts caution of policy change ahead of open enrollment

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Despite nearly eight decades past and a 2012 battle with lung cancer, 77-year-old Fred Erhardt’s sense of humor still hasn’t escaped him.

“I’m old. And my golf swing is really bad,” he joked Friday.

But for Fred, and all those 65 and older, trying to sort through the Medicare mess is no joke.

In a word: “Confusing,” Dan Sherman told 24 Hour News 8. “It is an overwhelming process to try to go through.”

But that’s where Sherman comes in. He is a financial consultant for Mercy Health who works with cancer patients to help them select the right health insurance plan.

“It really takes a professional to truly guide people through this process,” Sherman said. “I’m meeting with these patients every single day right now because they’re panicking.”

That’s because of a big change this year within the Blue Cross Legacy plan — a supplemental policy that covers some 200,000 Michiganders.

“Premiums for most individuals are going to increase 200 to 300 percent — in some rare cases 400 to 500 percent,” Sherman said.

That’s reason enough for Medicare recipients to evaluate their plan, but Sherman recommends that recipients evaluate their plan every year.

The chance to do that starts soon. Medicare open enrollment runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, but Sherman also warns about who you’re signing up with.

“There’s health insurance agents out there that do not understand the Medicare system, I’ve interviewed a whole bunch of them,” he said. “And they’re interested in how much they’re getting paid by the insurance company on those policies.”

Erhardt needs Medicare coverage for both cancer treatment and for his heart. He says Sherman has helped him make sense of it all.

“He makes it very understandable — even for an old brain like mine,” Erhardt said.

Sherman will be hosting two free Medicare classes. The sessions will be held on Friday, Oct. 14 and Tuesday, Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. at Postma Center At Pine Rest.

If you’re interested in attending, you must register online.



Free, trusted health insurance counseling for Medicare recipients