Getting your healthcare questions answered

Navigating health insurance can make anyone’s head spin. That’s why, during open enrollment, we are asking you to send us your insurance questions, so that we can take them to experts.

Veteran Tony Cimorelli is 65 years old and twice retired — the first time from the U.S. Marine Corps and the second time from the federal government.

For 40 years, he looked the part. Now, he lets his hair grow for 1960s-themed cruises.

“We’ve done over 110 cruises,” Cimorelli said.

But Cimorelli knows cruise ships have a reputation.

“On a cruise ship, you’re in a petri dish, and there’s thousands of people around, and it just takes one person to start coughing,” Cimorelli said.

So it’s important for Cimorelli and his wife to stay healthy and stay covered.

Cimorelli currently has three forms of health care coverage: There’s Tricare from his time in the service, his BlueCross BlueShield plan from his time with the government and now Medicare.

Cimorelli’s question

Should he suspend his government plan, saving thousands annually?

“They’re out to make the buck,” Cimorelli said. “But you’re out; you want the care, so what you have to do is figure out what’s the best way to go.”

We took his question Jonathan Hess, a medical billing advocate.

The expert advice

“I think having the third level with BlueCross BlueShield through the federal program just doesn’t make any sense because it’s going to cost you money, and you’re never going to get value from it,” Hess said.

Hess added that, worst case scenario, Cimorelli can always re-up it.

“With a suspension you’re basically saying, ‘I’m not going to pay a premium. I’m not covered, but some point down the road, if I want to, I can start paying premiums and get back into the pool,’” Hess said.

Anyone with questions about Medicare or marketplace insurance can email them to [email protected], and we will do our best to find the answers.

MORE: U.S. Office of Personnel Management – Can I suspend my coverage?

Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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