Medicare 101 + A Bit of Some Fun

Our 2 Cents – Episode #127

Medicare 101 + A Bit of Some Fun

Healthcare in retirement is complex, so on today’s episode we’re breaking down parts A, B, C and D of Medicare. Plus, the guys are sharing their interpretations of some quotes Steve gathered for us and then answering some “Get to Know Us” questions.

  1. Medicare 101 – The A, B, C, D’s of it All:
    • Answering key questions about Medicare from signing up, what it covers, and what it costs.
    • What are Parts A, B, C and D?
    • Clearing up some common Medicare misconceptions.
    • What is Medicare Advantage, and are there any disadvantages to this optional plan?
  2. Steve’s Quote Picks of the Month:
    • “Accomplishing the impossible means only that the boss will add it to your regular duties moving forward” – Doug Larson
    • “Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls Royce to get advice from people who take the subway” – Warren Buffett

  3. Getting to Know Steve & Gabriel:
    • What habit do you want to break but haven’t been able to?
    • Who would you most like to sit beside on a 10-hour flight?

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Podcast Transcript

Announcer: You are listening to Our 2 Cents with the team from SGL Financial, building wealth for life. Steve Lewit is the president of SGL Financial, and Gabriel Lewit is the CEO. They’re here to discuss all the latest in financial news, trends, strategies, and more.

Gabriel Lewit: Hey, hey.

Steve Lewit: Hey, hey.

Gabriel Lewit: What’s up? How’s it going?

Steve Lewit: I guess this is your rock music show. Hey, hey.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, I got a little thrown off because our Countdown Katie-

Steve Lewit: Was fast.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. The countdown was quicker than I expected, and I wasn’t quite ready for my normal intro.

Steve Lewit: I think Katie had… You had more coffee this morning than you should have had.

Gabriel Lewit: It was like 3, 2, 1, go.

Steve Lewit: Yeah, right. And then, “Hey, hey, go, go.” I thought we were like… like this is a rock station. Hey, hey, go, go with you all.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening. Whatever time it may be for you, we are happy to have you join our show here today.

Steve Lewit: We are.

Gabriel Lewit: It is I, Gabriel Lewit, and Steven Lewit here live in our studio, which is, of course, not a studio but our conference room.

Steve Lewit: Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: But I like calling it our studio.

Steve Lewit: When we’re using it as a studio. Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: Because it makes me feel like I’m a radio guy.

Steve Lewit: Like a professional.

Gabriel Lewit: From the studio.

Steve Lewit: And behind the window.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, I hope you’re doing great, and we’re excited to talk to you here today. We’ve got some, I think, some fun topics, some educational topics lined up. And to kick things off today, actually, Steve was, I guess, browsing for some things to talk about, and he came across a couple of quotes.

Steve Lewit: I like these quotes. Folks, you’ll hear… Well, you’ll hear about it in a second.

Gabriel Lewit: I like one of them that he picked. These are his picks, by the way. The other one I told him, admittedly, I didn’t fully understand, which we’ll probably talk about here. But I thought we’d start off today by sharing some of these quotes with you. One of them is actually very relevant to me. I’ll explain that in a second, which is probably why he thought of it. And then Producer Katie was nodding her head along too with this one. So without further ado, let me share the first of the two quotes today here with you. Okay. Quote number one says, “Accomplishing the impossible means only that the boss will add it to your regular duties moving forward.”

Steve Lewit: I love that.

Gabriel Lewit: From Doug Larson. I’m not sure who Doug Larson is, but-

Steve Lewit: Yeah, I don’t either.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, from a boss’s perspective, it’s very helpful when you know you have somebody that is able to take care of things.

Steve Lewit: Well, one of my clients I was talking to, I think it was last week or the week before, is in sales. He’s a sales professional. So we were talking, and he says, “Yeah, I hate making my quota.” I said, “Why do you hate making your quota?” He says, “Because they keep raising it next year,” which is exactly…

Gabriel Lewit: Well, of course, let’s unpack this here. Accomplishing the impossible. I mean, let’s face it, nothing’s really impossible.

Steve Lewit: Well…

Gabriel Lewit: Well…

Steve Lewit: Well.

Gabriel Lewit: Well. So if you work hard and you’re a hard worker, you get your job done, then yeah, we might want you to continue to do it again.

Steve Lewit: Yeah, but can you imagine-

Gabriel Lewit: You’ve showcased your talents.

Steve Lewit: Yeah. But can you imagine going into work and having to do the impossible every day?

Gabriel Lewit: Well, no. If you did it, it means it wasn’t impossible.

Steve Lewit: Well, then they’d give you something else that’s impossible. Doug, good job here, because that’s what people do. They take advantage of other people.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, who says they don’t get raises because they can tackle the impossible now?

Steve Lewit: Have you ever worked in a big corporation?

Gabriel Lewit: No, I haven’t actually. I’ve worked in our medium-sized small business.

Steve Lewit: Yeah, you have. You’re so lucky. I’ve worked in a big corporation.

Gabriel Lewit: I had an internship in a big corporation.

Steve Lewit: Well, that was a different story. You weren’t getting paid.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah.

Steve Lewit: Were you getting paid?

Gabriel Lewit: They asked me to do the impossible and paid me nothing.

Steve Lewit: Exactly. Exactly. I mean, some corporations have a good culture, but most are, “Do more for me. What did you do for me yesterday? And I’m not going to pay you as much as you think.”

Gabriel Lewit: Or I’ll lay you off.

Steve Lewit: Or I’ll lay you off.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. That’s happening right now.

Steve Lewit: I mean, every organization, every time… And this is a problem because when you… Well, look, we have employees, and we have great employees, and I’m sure somewhere-

Gabriel Lewit: The best.

Steve Lewit: Yeah, they are. We have the greatest.

Gabriel Lewit: Especially Producer Katie. We want her to keep producing the show, helping us.

Steve Lewit: I’m speaking in general about our team, which we have a phenomenal team.

Gabriel Lewit: We do.

Steve Lewit: But I am sure somewhere in the back of their heads, they would like to be paid more than they are because they do a great job, and they do do a great job.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, you know something funny?

Steve Lewit: What?

Gabriel Lewit: I also heard a different quote, which is totally unrelated to the quote you found necessarily, but what you just mentioned was very important because the quote says, “I’ve never met an employee that doesn’t believe they’re worth more money.” Well, they all want more money.

Steve Lewit: Well, of course.

Gabriel Lewit: No offense, Katie. I know you’d probably take more money, right? Yeah, she’s nodding her head.

Steve Lewit: Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: So, show me someone working somewhere that wouldn’t take more money.

Steve Lewit: But of course, of course. And they should get… Look, how do I say this? I think we pay well. I think we really respect what our team does. But I mean, there’s limits to what you can do. And I think that when people do great jobs, to request them to continue to do a great job is absolutely the right thing to do because it’s good for them and it’s good for you. But there’s the other side of that that you brought up, is do they get paid for it?

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah.

Steve Lewit: Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah.

Steve Lewit: Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: So that was our first quote for you today.

Steve Lewit: Interesting quote.

Gabriel Lewit: Little dinnertime conversation snippets for you.

Steve Lewit: Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, maybe I’ll let you say the second quote, because I didn’t even understand it necessarily. Well, I should say we were talking about it before the show, and we disagreed upon its meaning. All three of us had different interpretations of this quote. So maybe that’s actually interesting. Maybe you out there will have your own interpretation of this quote, which I will let Mr. Steven Lewit deliver for you here this morning.

Steve Lewit: I know, folks, you will understand this quote, and it will make you snicker. Here’s the problem. I asked Gabriel this morning if he knew what a slide ruler was.

Gabriel Lewit: And I said yes.

Steve Lewit: And he kind of knew what it was, but he really didn’t know it.

Gabriel Lewit: I mean, I’ve never used one, but I’ve seen one in a picture or something.

Steve Lewit: That’s kind of not the same. Do you know what carbon paper is?

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah.

Steve Lewit: Do you know what a typewriter is?

Gabriel Lewit: Yes. I’ve used typewriters. I’ve used carbon paper. Where do you think carbon copy came from on your emails, cc?

Steve Lewit: Okay. Just checking.

Gabriel Lewit: See, I know my stuff, man.

Steve Lewit: Just checking your historical relationship to the world.

Gabriel Lewit: All right, what’s the quote?

Steve Lewit: “Wall Street is the only place…” This is from Warren Buffett. “Wall Street is the only place that people ride to Wall Street in a Rolls-Royce to get advice from people who take the subway.” I’m going to say it again. “Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls-Royce to get advice from people who take the subway to get there.”

Gabriel Lewit: Now, folks, just so you know, Steve Lewit grew up in New York and lived in New York a long time, so maybe… I didn’t fully understand it. Maybe you know more. Hey, you’re supposed to turn that off, man.

Steve Lewit: That’s my alarm that got me here today. Hold on. There we go.

Gabriel Lewit: His phone’s going off over here.

Steve Lewit: Yeah. So think about this. You’re very wealthy, very wealthy, and you go and hire a broker on Wall Street, who makes a nice living. But you’re extremely wealthy, and you’re getting advice from somebody who makes 1/10th of the salary, of the money, or 1/30th or 1/100th of what you make, and yet you’re going to that person for advice.

Gabriel Lewit: But sorry, it maybe just doesn’t hit me the way it hits you. I get it.

Steve Lewit: You get it.

Gabriel Lewit: I mean, I get it, but…

Steve Lewit: I want you to write to Warren Buffett and tell him that.

Gabriel Lewit: Don’t you think… Well, how do you know that they don’t take the Town Car or Uber these days? Was this pre-Uber.

Steve Lewit: You’re being too-

Gabriel Lewit: I think this was pre-Uber.

Steve Lewit: Pre-Uber? It’s today too. I think you’re being too literal. You’ve got your literal hat on. You need to have your gist hat on.

Gabriel Lewit: Are you implying that wealthy people don’t take the subway?

Steve Lewit: Oh my God.

Gabriel Lewit: I actually would agree with that, probably.

Steve Lewit: Oh, they do.

Gabriel Lewit: Funny enough, I hadn’t been on this, well, it was the L train in Chicago for a long time. And I was down last winter in the city with my son for a weekend, and we took the L train in the kind of underground portion. I’m like, “Man, this is dirtier than I remember it being.”

Steve Lewit: It’s dirty, right?

Gabriel Lewit: Dirtier than I remembered it being, because I used to take it when I lived in the city 10, 12 years ago. I’m like, “I don’t know.” Maybe I was younger.

Steve Lewit: Have you ever ridden the New York subways?

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah, a couple of times, a long time ago.

Steve Lewit: That’s an experience, man.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah.

Steve Lewit: Yeah. I used to live on the subways, going to school back and forth, and so on and so on. That’s another story.

Gabriel Lewit: Do any of your clients drive here with a Rolls-Royce?

Steve Lewit: I don’t think so. I don’t think so.

Gabriel Lewit: All right, so that was what we wanted to kick off our show with you here today: a couple quotes.

Steve Lewit: And I know everybody got a good laugh out of both of those quotes.

Gabriel Lewit: Maybe the first one is just more relative to me, because I do assign hard tasks to people in the office. And then when they can do them, I’m like, “Perfect. Now they can keep doing them.”

Steve Lewit: You are the boss.

Gabriel Lewit: Oh, that’s a lot of… That’s good stuff.

Steve Lewit: What’s the next?

Gabriel Lewit: All right. Well, of course, we do run a financial show here, so we thought we’d talk about some financial stuff. We’re going to talk a little bit about Medicare today, mostly because we haven’t talked about it in a while. That’s really the main reason. So, we thought we’d do a little Medicare 101 and talk to you about some of the key components of Medicare, just help you really understand this somewhat complicated world, because there’s lots of definitions. There’s lots of terms. There’s lots of confusion, right? So we thought we would unpack that a little bit here for you today.

Steve Lewit: All right. I’m going to let you take the lead on this, for sure. I know enough about Medicare, and then I don’t go further.

Gabriel Lewit: Okay. Well, first and foremost, Mr. Lewit, Medicare.

Steve Lewit: Yes.

Gabriel Lewit: I’m going to quiz you.

Steve Lewit: Yes. Oh, God, no.

Gabriel Lewit: I’m going to give you easy ones. When can you start Medicare?

Steve Lewit: You must sign up for Medicare at 65 years old.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, not counting crazy, little off scenarios and stuff like that, but yeah, 65 years old.

Steve Lewit: Right.

Gabriel Lewit: Okay. Now, what does Medicare cover?

Steve Lewit: Well, it covers… It depends on what type.

Gabriel Lewit: Just high level. We’ll get into the nitty-gritty.

Steve Lewit: All right. Oh, doctor visits, hospital, healthcare.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah, it takes over as your insurance.

Steve Lewit: It becomes your health insurance.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. Okay. Well, is it free?

Steve Lewit: Some part of it is free and part you pay for.

Gabriel Lewit: Okay. And what else could I quiz you with? I was trying to think of easy quiz questions because I don’t want to really stump you.

Steve Lewit: Can the price go up?

Gabriel Lewit: Yes.

Steve Lewit: Yes.

Gabriel Lewit: It does.

Steve Lewit: On part of it, the price can go up, and you need to be very careful about that.

Gabriel Lewit: Correct. Ding, ding, ding, ding for Steve.

Steve Lewit: Next part. You didn’t ask me.

Gabriel Lewit: What?

Steve Lewit: Do you need to-

Gabriel Lewit: You’re thinking of your own quiz questions?

Steve Lewit: I am. Do you need to buy additional insurance with your Medicare?

Gabriel Lewit: Yes. Well, most of the time when we reference Medicare, we’re referencing multiple parts, of which I’ll get into here momentarily, that you would want to bundle together to create your overall coverage.

Steve Lewit: So that would include a supplement.

Gabriel Lewit: A supplement and a drug plan.

Steve Lewit: Okay.

Gabriel Lewit: So, let’s talk about this, break this down a little bit more. People often call them the ABCDs of Medicare. Now why might that be the case? Well, there’s different parts of Medicare. So first and foremost, we’ve got Part A, hence the ABCDs, because there’s a Part A, there’s a Part B, there’s a Part C, and there’s a Part D. Okay? So let’s go through each of these. Part A is basically your hospital care. It’s available to everybody age 65 and up. And generally, assuming you’ve worked most of your career, there’s typically no premium. So there is a premium-free Part A. Okay? So that’s where sometimes people think Medicare is free because there is a free component for most people, but there are also other parts that are not free, mostly Medicare Part B.

Steve Lewit: The Part A, by the way, has a little bit of nursing-home care in there. It’s not much, but it’s in there for nothing.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah, it covers hospital care, a little bit of skilled nursing care, home health, and then a little bit of hospice.

Steve Lewit: Yes.

Gabriel Lewit: Yep. Okay. Now, Part B is the part where you typically have to pay a payment. Okay? So Part B covers your preventative care, research, medical equipment, wheelchairs, walkers, and in some rare cases, some prescription drugs, although it’s not a drug plan. We’ll get to that in a second. And there is a monthly premium that’s generally… Well, right now I believe it’s $165?

Steve Lewit: It just changed.

Gabriel Lewit: It just changed.

Steve Lewit: Yeah, it just changed, so I’m not sure.

Gabriel Lewit: Producer Katie, can you Google 2023 Medicare Part B premium? I believe it-

Steve Lewit: I somehow remember that it’s $164.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah, I think it actually went… Well, let’s see here. Hold on, folks. We’ll keep… $164.90.

Steve Lewit: Hey, how about that?

Gabriel Lewit: Hey. I thought it was $165.

Steve Lewit: Well, I said I thought it was $164.

Gabriel Lewit: You thought it was $164.90?

Steve Lewit: No, just $164.

Gabriel Lewit: Just teasing you.

Steve Lewit: Oh.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah, so where does that get paid from? Well, if you’re on Social Security, it’ll get deducted from your Social Security payment.

Steve Lewit: Automatically.

Gabriel Lewit: Automatically. If you’re not on Social Security yet, it’ll get invoiced to you. And Part B generally has a deductible, a copay, so a lot of the same typical provisions that you would expect from your health insurance. Okay. Now, Part C is an optional component, also known as a Medicare Advantage plan. Okay? And then you’ve got a Part D, which is a prescription drug program, PDP for short, prescription drug plan. That was a tongue-twister there. And it’s going to have an additional premium for it as well and possibly copays and also possibly deductibles.

Steve Lewit: So, if you don’t take… I’ve got a hoarse in my voice, a phlegm thing in my voice. If you don’t take the Advantage plan, you have to buy the Part B and Part D.

Gabriel Lewit: Yes. So generally, what do most people do to get complete healthcare coverage in retirement? Well, generally, the moment you are off of your work plan, assuming you are 65, you would then have a automatic enrollment period. Actually, Medicare is incredibly complicated, folks. So there’s a lot of nitty-gritty details here I’m going to skip. But the vast majority of people, when they get off of their workplace plans, is going to have an automatic enrollment period, where regardless of your health, you are able to apply for a Part B and a prescription drug plan and also a…. and/or… well, actually not and… or a Medicare Advantage plan, a Part C plan, with guaranteed enrollment.

Steve Lewit: There is a lot of confusion on Medicare Advantage. Would you explain what that is?

Gabriel Lewit: Yes. Medicare Advantage is a… It’s almost like a separate program that bundles everything together. So if you sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, everything you’re typically going to need will be included. And on the surface, that sounds really, really good, right? So you’ll have your Part B deductible paid for. You’ll have a prescription drug plan typically. You’ll have even dental/vision insurance included in that. So generally, they include a whole host of other features and benefits. And they often throw in little perks, like health-club memberships for certain types of places, all sorts of other little things to try to entice you to buy the Medicare Advantage plans. And also, the Medicare Advantage premiums, in many cases, are zero premium, which is like, “How does that happen?”

Steve Lewit: Exactly, exactly.

Gabriel Lewit: What’s the catch, right?

Steve Lewit: So, you’re not paying for the B and the D?

Gabriel Lewit: Yes, correct.

Steve Lewit: Okay. So why would-

Gabriel Lewit: Well, you’re not paying for a supplement for the C.

Steve Lewit: For the C.

Gabriel Lewit: B is different than a Medigap supplement.

Steve Lewit: Okay. So you’re still paying B and D, but you don’t-

Gabriel Lewit: Not D.

Steve Lewit: I’m sorry. You’re still paying for B.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah.

Steve Lewit: But D is included in the Advantage plan?

Gabriel Lewit: Most Advantage plans include a prescription drug plan.

Steve Lewit: Right. But you’re not paying for an additional supplement?

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. You’re not paying for what’s called a Medigap or Medicare supplement.

Steve Lewit: Like I have.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. So most people will either do a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare supplement and a prescription drug plan.

Steve Lewit: Now, you used the word enticing with a little bit of negativity attached to it, so-

Gabriel Lewit: Well, everybody knows there’s no free lunch out there.

Steve Lewit: Why wouldn’t everybody just go for an Advantage plan because it’s less expensive?

Gabriel Lewit: Well, generally speaking, you are going to have, if you need a lot of coverage or care, higher total annual costs because you have different out-of-pocket limits, and there’s different mechanics of how you pay for things that would result in you actually paying more than you would with a supplement, a Medigap supplement or Medicare supplement and a prescription drug plan standalone.

Steve Lewit: And I don’t know if this is true, if you could confirm this for me if you know, but my understanding… Because a client came in, I don’t know, a few months ago and said, “I can’t wait to get off this Advantage plan because some of my doctors don’t take Advantage as a payment.”

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. That’s one of the other things to be aware of, is that certain networks… There’s all sorts of networks of doctors out there for your dental plans, your vision plans, your healthcare plans. Medicare Advantage plans typically have certain doctor networks or medical groups that they are approved with and some that don’t take them, whereas your Medicare supplement would provide you coverage anywhere that Medicare is accepted, which is basically everywhere.

Steve Lewit: Everywhere.

Gabriel Lewit: Yes.

Steve Lewit: I didn’t know that. That was a real surprise to me, and I would never take any plan like HMOs that limit your doctor choices.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. I mean, there are some HMO-style Medicare Advantage plans. There’s also some PPO style. But generally speaking, you really want to drill down into where can I go with this Medicare Advantage plan, and is everybody that I would want to see covered? And then there’s, of course, in-network and out-of-network prices. So, what can happen is you can end up paying a lot more money. Even though you’re not paying a premium for your Medicare Advantage plan, you might end up paying more out of pocket in total.

Steve Lewit: All right. Now I’m going to make a general statement, Gabriel. I don’t know if you’ll agree with this, but… Early in my career, I did a lot in the health insurance arena, and I’ll tell you what. I want to have the plan where I can choose any doctor anywhere. I don’t want any limitations on it, because when something goes south with your health, you want to be able to go to any doctor. And a lot of HMOs and Advantage plans, you have limited choices. I would urge everybody to not have any plan that has a limited choice.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. Well, everyone’s different. I do know some clients that they’re very happy with their Medicare Advantage plans.

Steve Lewit: Until they need a doctor that they can’t go to.

Gabriel Lewit: Sure. But by and large, oftentimes people… If you’re trying to find a way to maybe save money, that’s one way. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice for you.

Steve Lewit: If it’s a financial choice, that’s different. But if you have the dough, then go to the big show.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. So let’s talk about the other option, right?

Steve Lewit: I like that. That was good. That was kind of good.

Gabriel Lewit: I don’t know whether you’d call the Medicare supplement plans the big show, but… I guess it’s not that exciting. Well, so what’s the other option to a Medicare Advantage plan? I’ve been kind of tiptoeing into it here. But you’ve got, again, the Medicare supplement, which supplements, as the name implies, your Medicare coverage, also known as a Medigap policy, which quote-unquote “fills in the gaps of Medicare.”

Steve Lewit: So, Medicare is the primary?

Gabriel Lewit: Well, your supplement just, again, just kind of supplements it. For example, Medicare often has certain limitations or certain things that aren’t covered, and your Medicare supplement will typically cover or supplement all those other items.

Steve Lewit: Yeah, but you wouldn’t know this when you go to a doctor. What they ask me always, “So Medicare is your primary, and Blue Cross is your secondary, right?” They always ask that question.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, so ultimately, though, it’s very rare to have somebody that would buy or be on Medicare Part B, but not have a supplement plan.

Steve Lewit: Yes.

Gabriel Lewit: It is possible because you can cancel your supplement plan, but then you have underwriting before you get approved back on a new one. So never cancel your Advantage or supplement plan unless you’re really, really, really, really sure that you want to do that. It’s a big no-no. But what does it do? Again, you pay a premium for your supplement plan. So generally, let’s call it $125. Funny enough, supplement plans are all standardized. And to add more confusion, they have lettering names. Like, a Plan G is a supplement plan, which is very common. And basically, you pay a premium for that. And then most of the time, you don’t have to worry about having huge out-of-pocket costs because your supplement plan is going to pick it up.

Steve Lewit: Gabriel, let me ask you another question. So come enrollment time, which is when for a supplement?

Gabriel Lewit: Well, usually it’s whenever you’re losing your regular workplace coverage. So let’s say you’re retiring, and you are on a healthcare plan today, and you’re 65 years old, and you go to retire. You would sign up for a Medicare supplement at that time, and you would have a guaranteed enrollment period.

Steve Lewit: And you can change your supplement at any time, correct?

Gabriel Lewit: You can change a supplement at any time, but there’s underwriting after your initial guaranteed enrollment period.

Steve Lewit: Got it. Okay. So let’s say I have… I hope you don’t mind me quizzing you on this. So let’s say… Because I’m old and I do this and I live this. So let’s say I have a supplement today, and I want to switch it tomorrow. Is there a period during the year when I don’t get underwriting? Or do I have to-

Gabriel Lewit: Nope. You can switch anytime, but you’ve got to go through underwriting.

Steve Lewit: Even… Really?

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah.

Steve Lewit: Okay.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. You’re thinking of the prescription drug plan. So that’s the other piece, is your PDP, prescription drug plan, where you can… Again, you’ve got an annual or an initial enrollment period, which it’s very important to sign up for a drug plan, because if you don’t, you’ll get a penalty. We could always circle back on that. But every year, called open annual enrollment period, you have the ability to change your drug plan. And that’s because the companies that cover certain drugs, called your formulary, can change what’s covered under your drug plan each and every year if they want to.

Steve Lewit: Got it. So can I go back? I want to go back. So I’m 65, and I’m inundated with advertising for supplements. I get calls. I get cards. And everyone says they have a better deal for you. Are all the deals the same, or do you need to shop it amongst different people?

Gabriel Lewit: Well, again, what particular part are you talking about?

Steve Lewit: The supplement.

Gabriel Lewit: A Medicare supplement?

Steve Lewit: Yes.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, they are all standardized, but funny enough, the prices aren’t standardized. This is a very common question.

Steve Lewit: Yes.

Gabriel Lewit: So, let’s say you’re buying a plan G. You could get quotes from 10 different companies on Plan Gs.

Steve Lewit: And have 10 different prices.

Gabriel Lewit: And have 10 different prices. But all the services that Plan Gs cover are all standardized and required to be the same.

Steve Lewit: Do you know, what do I have?

Gabriel Lewit: I’m pretty sure you might have a plan F or a plan G. I don’t recall.

Steve Lewit: Which is the most expensive? Because I pay through the nose.

Gabriel Lewit: It’s going to be your plan G.

Steve Lewit: Okay, got it. So that helps me understand a little bit. I’m so glad you know this.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, I will say I know enough to be dangerous. We’ve got a back-office team that actually knows more than me. It’s kind of like when I… I know taxes enough to be dangerous, but I’ve got a CPA that I work with for all the nitty-gritty. I have a team if there’s… Yeah, there’s questions that stump me quite frequently, actually, that I check with our Medicare team, that all that stuff is all they do.

Steve Lewit: Folks, I have the same Medicare team, but my team is sitting right next to me.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, I’m like the point of the team.

Steve Lewit: So, I don’t check with my team.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah, so lots to go into here. And we did want to cover one other topic here today, so I’m going to end our Medicare discussion here with a couple of minutes to spare. But yeah, here’s the point, guys. Healthcare and retirement’s complicated. Medicare is very complex. What I covered today is barely the tip of the iceberg. And you’ll undoubtedly, as you get to that point, have lots of questions about how it works, and we’re here to help guide you through that, whatever they may be. So if you have-

Steve Lewit: Yeah, and if you would like to check the price on your supplements, run it by us because we’d be happy to give you a quote.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah, that’s the other thing. We do it in house here, so as a service to our clients. We don’t do it as a standalone. If you’re not a client and you just want a Medicare plan, that’s not what we do. But if you’re a client of ours or are thinking about becoming a client, knowing that you’ve got a one-stop-shop experience with everything you need, that’s exactly what we do do.

Steve Lewit: Do do do. Yeah. Do, do, do, do, do.

Gabriel Lewit: That’s why I paused. I said that’s what we do do.

Steve Lewit: We can make a little jingle out of it.

Gabriel Lewit: I don’t like saying do do.

Steve Lewit: Do, do, do, do, do, get your Medicare supplement today.

Gabriel Lewit: There you go. You can be one of millions of companies hawking Medicare supplements.

Steve Lewit: How was that, Kate? Can we market that?

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah.

Steve Lewit: Okay.

Gabriel Lewit: All right. So I’ve got a getting-to-know-Steve question to round out today.

Steve Lewit: That’s strange. I thought we were doing client questions.

Gabriel Lewit: No. Well, we’re not. I don’t want to have to rush those. We’re going to run out of time with our client questions.

Steve Lewit: Oh, I was relaxing. Now I’m not.

Gabriel Lewit: We’ve got some client questions. We’ll cover those next time.

Steve Lewit: Now I’m all uptight again.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, these are my favorite segments. I don’t think we’ve done this in a while.

Steve Lewit: Okay, go ahead.

Gabriel Lewit: Our listeners miss getting to know you.

Steve Lewit: I won’t sing Getting to Know You.

Gabriel Lewit: Apparently, you’re in a singing mood today. How about that?

Steve Lewit: It’s all right.

Gabriel Lewit: Okay. So what is a habit, Steve, that you’d like to break but you have not been able to?

Steve Lewit: Oh, well, I’ve got a few. Which one should I-

Gabriel Lewit: Make sure it’s podcast appropriate.

Steve Lewit: Well, which ones?

Gabriel Lewit: I don’t know what goes on in that head.

Steve Lewit: Here’s a habit that… I love chocolate, and I have a habit of popping a piece of chocolate in the old mouth there too often during the day.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, folks, you probably may or may not know this. If you come to the office, you do. We have chocolates scattered about everywhere.

Steve Lewit: I’m a snacker. Katie will have chips on her desk, and I’ll pass by and say, “Hey, Kate, can I have a couple of those?”

Gabriel Lewit: You were stealing Katie’s chips?

Steve Lewit: No, no. I ask permission, but…

Gabriel Lewit: My goodness.

Steve Lewit: But I am a snacker, and I gained-

Gabriel Lewit: I would never do such a thing.

Steve Lewit: Yeah, right. Lots of times there’s none there, and she says, “Yeah, Gabriel ate them.” Yeah, what about you?

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. Well, it’s funny. I don’t know if food was on your mind and my mind simultaneously, but I was just thinking last night as I was sitting watching some late-night TV, which is kind of my time, kid-free time. And I know you’re not supposed to have late-night snacks.

Steve Lewit: I do that too.

Gabriel Lewit: But every night at 11 o’clock, I get hungry.

Steve Lewit: That’s the worst thing.

Gabriel Lewit: And I eat a bowl of cereal. Granted, I try to keep it healthy cereal, like Cheerios or Crispix or something, but I can’t seem to… I can’t go to sleep hungry, man.

Steve Lewit: Yeah. Eat bananas.

Gabriel Lewit: No, I already eat a lot of fruit. How much fruit can one eat?

Steve Lewit: Yeah. That’s really strange. Late at night, about 10:30, all of a sudden, it’s like, “I’ve got to eat something.” So we need more willpower.

Gabriel Lewit: Apparently. Apparently.

Steve Lewit: We are food un-willed.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, okay, I’m going to give you another one here.

Steve Lewit: All right.

Gabriel Lewit: All right?

Steve Lewit: That was fun.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, who would you most like to sit beside on a 10-hour flight? And yes, I just google these questions.

Steve Lewit: And you are going to find this answer strange, but I’d like to sit next to the Dalai Lama.

Gabriel Lewit: I knew you were going to say that.

Steve Lewit: Did you?

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. I actually, I had a feeling you were going to say something like the Dalai Lama.

Steve Lewit: Yeah, yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: Does he even talk much?

Steve Lewit: Oh, yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah? He talks a lot?

Steve Lewit: He’s a very interesting guy. I don’t agree with a lot that he says, which is why I’d like to sit next to him and straighten him out.

Gabriel Lewit: Oh, pbbbt. Sorry, folks. I shouldn’t raspberry there. Pbbbt.

Steve Lewit: You’re right.

Gabriel Lewit: You’re going to straighten out the Dalai Lama.

Steve Lewit: Aaah, aaah.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. Okay. I won’t go there.

Steve Lewit: What about you?

Gabriel Lewit: Who would I want to sit next to for 10 hours? I don’t know. I knew you were going to ask me, so I was thinking about it. I don’t know. I would think somebody funny, right, if I’m going to be stuck next to him for 10 hours. Who’s a-

Steve Lewit: Bill Maher.

Gabriel Lewit: I’ve been watching a lot of Curb Your Enthusiasm lately. I’ve been quoting them left and right because it’s funny. I just re-watch it from time to time. I don’t know. Larry David would be funny just because he would… I don’t know. I’ve never met him in real life. If he’s anything like his personality on the show, I think he’d be very funny to sit next to.

Steve Lewit: Yeah.

Gabriel Lewit: I don’t know. So somebody funny. Yeah. Steve Carell maybe from The Office.

Steve Lewit: Absolutely. Kate, who would you like to sit next to? Hold on. Hold on, folks. We’ve got to get a word out of Kate. Who would you like to sit next to?

Producer Katie: I have no idea.

Gabriel Lewit: She doesn’t want to share.

Steve Lewit: Well, she said she had no idea. It’s not that she didn’t want to share. But later in the day, I’m going to squeeze something out of Kate. I want to know the answer to this question.

Gabriel Lewit: Well, folks, who would you sit next to? I don’t know. Hopefully, maybe just your wife or spouse, your kids.

Steve Lewit: Yeah, yeah, somebody you-

Gabriel Lewit: Somebody you like.

Steve Lewit: Somebody you love.

Gabriel Lewit: Yeah. You could go that route too.

Steve Lewit: Yep.

Gabriel Lewit: But I’ve taken many flights with my wife and family. I think a 10-hour flight, yeah, maybe somebody with a-

Steve Lewit: With your wife and kids? I don’t know.

Gabriel Lewit: I’m joking folks. I’m joking. Of course, I’d love to sit next to my wife. That’s always a given. That’s always a given. Okay, well, I hope you had a nice time here. We had a fun time sharing some stuff with you. So if you have questions on anything here… We’ve talked about Medicare being probably the most likely one you’ve had questions about. But if you have questions about our quotes of the month or-

Steve Lewit: And if anyone needs an explanation-

Gabriel Lewit: … seat preferences.

Steve Lewit: And if anyone needs an explanation on the Warren Buffett quote, feel free to write me.

Gabriel Lewit: You can always call us anytime, set up a time to chat with us about your finances. Call us at 847-499-3330. Or you can go to, click Contact Us or Get Started and schedule a time, and we’ll call you to schedule a time.

Steve Lewit: You bet.

Gabriel Lewit: So, have a wonderful day, and we’ll talk to you on the next show.

Steve Lewit: Stay well, everybody. See ya.

Gabriel Lewit: Bye.

Announcer: Thanks for listening to Our 2 Cents with Steve and Gabriel Lewit. For any questions about your finances, give SGL a call at 847-499-3330 or visit us on the web at and be sure to subscribe to join us on next week’s episode.

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