Eric St. Pierre, Associate Vice President of Humana Group Medicare, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss Group Medicare Advantage plans and the value they deliver to retirees.
A group approach to Medicare coverage
Group Medicare Advantage plans are designed for groups that still cover retiree healthcare for Medicare eligible people on a group level. By packaging plans together into a group package, retirees save substantially while also receiving better value for their healthcare, St. Pierre explained.
Group plans leverage greater buying power than retirees can get through individual plans, he stated.
While most people consider Medicare to be an HMO plan that is limited to specific doctors, group medicare plans enable enrollees to see any medical provider of their choice. Group plans also avoid “donut hole coverage” where some services are left out. Under a group plan, benefits can be customized to include full coverage in the entire plan.
Better quality care delivered at a greater cost savings
Humana currently services over 600 groups that offer Group Medicare Advantage plans, covering a total of about 60,000 retirees and their spouses, St. Pierre indicated. It is a bit of a niche industry specific to groups that support retiree healthcare, he said.
Some are formed out of voluntary employees’ beneficiary association (VEBA) trusts that are pre-funded and continue to provide benefits even if a company goes out of business or faces bankruptcy.
The programs manage to save money while providing a higher quality of coverage by striving to maintain retirees’ health, St. Pierre explained. While traditional Medicare coverage focuses on solely paying claims, a Group Medicare Advantage plan offers wider family support that engages healthcare providers and doctors to ensure the recipient remains as healthy as possible. That approach saves money, while delivering a higher quality of life to retirees, St. Pierre said.