Since most of us are too young to have first hand experience with Medicare, yet it's something that's driving a good deal discussion these days, I'm going to tell you what I've found. Sucks to throw our resident right this kind of bone, but fair is fair.
Brief background, I had to retire on medical a couple years ago due to MS and I kept my health insurance policy from my old job because it is great coverage for a decent, but by no means cheap, price as part of a pretty big group. Also because I have MS and kinda had to. Went through the SS disability process knowing I would go on Medicare and figuring I would see about dropping the policy at that point. Got approved after a couple years. Figured my out of pocket medical costs surely will go down. How could they not if the Medicare was going to pay most of my medical expenses? Here's how.
Most people know that you need secondary coverage. I knew that and had vague familiarity with words like donut-hole and such. The biggie it turns out, at least in my case, is copay for prescription drugs. Didn't Bush fix that?
Pre-Medicare money breakdown. $500/month for BC&BS for the full plan where my copay for my MS drugs is $150/month for drugs that cost $2500/month.
With Medicare money breakdown and the best secondary policy I was able to find. $260/month plus 20% co-pay for MS meds.
Do the math and because of the drug co-pay I'm better off keeping the policy I had, which I was happy enough with anyway, and which is what I've done.
I have the same policy, paying the same premium and same co-pays as when I worked. BC&BS collects their same premium and same co-pays as when I worked (when they paid for most of my medical expenses and for which they must make an acceptable profit). Only Medicare now pays for most of my medical costs, which are pretty substantial on a yearly basis.
Good insurance lobby or what? MS is not that rare and there are innumerable other chronic conditions which require equally specialized, hence expensive, drugs with patients who also had decent insurance from prior employment, so I figure there are a lot of other people in my same boat.
Maybe the overall stats don't work out so messed up for most people, but even so. It's just wrong and not what any sane person would expect to encounter and it seems it would be easy enough to identify these cases and have a more sensible solution. I'm not paying more, so as an individual I have no reason to complain but as a tax payer it really bugs the **** of me.
Happy to try to explain my situation more clearly if I haven't done so and sorry to ramble. For the record I'd like nothing better than to be shown that my cynicism is misplaced.