LivingMy Story

Making the Right Medicare Supplement Plan Choice

Medicare supplement plans are daunting to understand and cost money but for people with diabetes, you must make the right choice immediately

Burt Kravitz was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in May 1965 at age 14

We spoke with Burt Kravitz about choosing Medicare Supplement plans. 

‘Picking the right Part B Supplement plan is the most important decision you make when you begin Medicare. 

‘You only get one chance to pick a plan where no physical exam is required.  Thereafter, if you want to switch plans or start of a new plan, you are required to pass a physical exam.

‘For a person with diabetes, you need to pick either Plan F or Plan G.  These plans will save you thousands over your lifetime.

  • The only difference when you compare Medicare supplements Plan F and Plan G is the deductible. 
  • These are the only Medicare Supplement Plans that offer coverage for Part B excess charges—and that’s important if you want maximum flexibility to choose your health care provider

Never choose an Advantage Plan.  The deductibles are quite high

‘I pay $415 per quarter for my Medicare supplement Plan G and my total monthly out-of-pocket cost for insulin is $55 and even when I was in the ‘donut-hole’ my total out-of-pocket was $84/month.

Burt’s Background

Burt was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in May 1965 at age 14.  He was an athlete in high school and played basketball and ran Cross Country.  He used TestTape for urine glucose measurement. 

He has kept himself lean, weighing 175 at a height of 5’10” and has led an active life while avoiding smoking and alcohol. 

Burt says he got serious about glucose management in 2006 when he finally listened to his doctor.  He uses Lantis for his basal insulin and Humalog with every meal.

‘My A1c is between 6.1 and 6.3.

‘The most important thing I have learned is never let diabetes beat you, you must beat it.  My uncle went blind and died at age 41 from his type 1 diabetes so I knew the consequences of poor control.

‘It has helped that my job is not physically demanding.  I am a manufacturer’s representative calling on regional grocery and retail chains in Pennsylvania.

‘I have had my share of issues but I still work.

  • I had diabetic retinopathy that was treated in Philadelphia in 1984 with several laser surgeries.  I had some ongoing bleeding that eventually stopped.
  • My big thing this year is I got a new kidney which gave me back my life. I was on a low-protein diet for 4 years to avoid going on dialysis.  I actually improved my glomerular filtration rate (GFR) from 14 to 21 on this diet and it did not limit my work or travel. When I finally went on dialysis it was only for 2 months until my new kidney became available. 

‘I learned to never feel sorry for myself as there is always someone out there who has it worse than you do. 

Martin is the Founder of SelfRx Media and editor-in-chief of Insulin Nation. He's a passionate about sharing knowledge with those affected by Diabetes.

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