book blogBook Review: Why Medicare Advantage Plans Are Bad

Book Review: Why Medicare Advantage Plans Are Bad

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Reviewed by Kathy L. Brown

A concise and easy-to-understand guide to Medicare and making the right choices in healthcare

David II. Beynon is an experienced health insurance professional and blogger who has noticed a disturbing trend: Many Americans make health insurance plans for their retirement based on incomprehensible, unsatisfactory or misleading information. Referring to frequently asked questions on his blog, this book is designed to correct this situation.

In a clear and speaking voice, Why Medicare Advantage Programs Are Bad Disassembles the core themes around Medicare’s alphabet soup of programs and gives them logic for the everyday consumer.

Each chapter is organized around a critical issue of Medicare, such as “How does Medicare Advantage work?” And “How to Utilize Government Assistance Programs.” The material is presented as a series of questions and answers. Chapters open with a chapter on key points (what you will learn) and end with a summary of the chapter’s conclusions. The book highlights the basic facts for each section and includes some real-life examples to make the lessons more memorable. A reader may want to read only the chapters on topics that are relevant to them or research the entire book to take a big look at the complexity of Medicare.

While the guide covers the standard status of typical retirees approaching his sixty-fifth birthday, he also provides extensive information for special cases, including veterans, the disabled, Medicaid-eligible retirees and other low-income people.

The style and voice of the book is professional and personal. It speaks directly to the reader in terms of “you” and “I”, as if we are consulting a knowledgeable health insurance consultant.

The choice of words and the structure of the sentence allow for a clear and simple delivery. Why Medicare Advantage Programs Are Bad Takes a complex, dry mass of matter and breaks it down into tiny, digestible particles. “With Medicare Original and Medigap policies, you pay most of your major medical costs in advance… With the Medicare Advantage program, you pay most of your major medical costs when you use health care.”

Due to the format of the questions and answers, overlapping topics, sections devoted to points for reference in each chapter and summaries, the material is repeated several times. But this is not a bad thing when trying to learn complex material.

The title of the book, however, does not accurately reflect some of the material in the book. Why Medicare Advantage Programs Are Bad Is usually a balanced look at the pros and cons of “Original Medicare” (Parts A and B) with and without a supplemental policy (“Medigap”) compared to Medicare Advantage programs.

Although the book expresses concern that too many people are signing up for Medicare Advantage without really understanding what they are giving up, he also freely admits that Medicare Advantage tin Be good for a certain people. The trick is to determine if the reader is one of those people. The book offers a lot of information to help with this decision.

The author properly discloses his professional relationship with a health insurance provider and provides a call center number to the same agency at the end of each chapter. Telephone numbers and other useful links, such as to the Social Security Administration, are also provided.

Readers interested in learning about Medicare and other health insurance options for themselves or a family member will find this book useful. It provides a lot of food for thought and teaches the basic concepts needed to understand the flood of leaflets sent in the mail, TV ads and even phone calls that Americans receive as they approach their sixty-fifth birthday.

genre: Reference books / health services

Print length: 104 pages


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