Are you approaching your 65th birthday and considering retirement? If so, as with any new chapter in life, this comes with some decisions to be made. Whether you are nearing age 65 or just planning for the future, it is important to know your options, especially when it comes to Healthcare. Lauri Wenzel is a local, Independent Licensed Agent for United Healthcare Medicare Solutions, and she can help you review your healthcare needs and find the option that best fits your budget. United Healthcare Medical Solutions offers some of the best products in the industry. They are one of the largest companies that provide Medicare Health coverage and have a great reputation. They also rank #7 with Fortune 500 and are the only insurance company endorsed by AARP.
Lauri found out early in life, she had a passion for helping people. While living in Houston, she decided to become an Ombudsman with UT, to
advocate for people in nursing homes. This involved building a trusting relationship with residents at nursing homes in order to ensure their needs were being met. According to Lauri, she remembers her grandmother was in a nursing home and recalls her mother having to make a lot of the decisions. This made her realize there was a need for someone to speak out for seniors, so she decided to do that. In 2012, she and her family moved to The Woodlands area. Once there, she began working for Aon Insurance. “I was basically working as a third-party company to help Kimberly-Clark and Baker Hughes employees enroll in their benefits.” Through this line of work, she was able to talk to many retirees and people who were starting to receive their Medicare benefits and/or insurance coverage through Medicare. This again sparked an interest in Lauri to assist the retiring population with their healthcare and Medicare process, which opened the doors to her becoming an independent Medicare agent in the State of Texas. “My job is to build relationships with Medicare beneficiaries who are turning 65 and educate them about their Medicare options, so they can make informed decisions,” said Lauri.
How Does Medicare Work? Basically, Medicare will cover 80% of medical costs, whether you go to the hospital or visit your doctor’s office. As a Medicare recipient, you are responsible for the remaining 20%, as well as the deductible. The deductibles are set by CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services). This varies and tends to go up a little every year. This is basic government Medicare. In other words, as long as you find a physician that takes Medicare, and the services provided are covered by Medicare, it will provide 80% coverage, and you are responsible for meeting the deductibles and paying the remaining 20%.
In general, Medicare offers two main options:
Option 1: As long as you’ve worked for at least 10 years, once you have retired, and plan to take your social security, you will automatically qualify to get enrolled in Medicare. Soon after enrolling, you will receive your red, white, and blue Medicare card in the mail. You will qualify for Part A, which is your hospital coverage, and you will automatically be enrolled in Part B, which covers your doctor and outpatient services. Payment for Part B will be taken out of your social security check on a monthly basis.
Option 2: Once you retire, depending on your situation, you may also be able to delay getting your social security, and continue working beyond the age of 65. Once you do decide to retire, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare, and Part B will kick in. Basically, when you turn 65, most people are automatically enrolled in Medicare, but if you decide not to receive your social security when you become eligible for Medicare, you will have to enroll yourself. This can be done online at www.SocialSecurity.gov, calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213, or visiting your local social security office.
As an Independent Licensed agent, I help people try to figure out a way to supplement or help pay for, the remaining balances not covered by original Medicare. Some of these options include:
Essentially, you can get a supplement plan to help pay the 20% and the hospital deductibles. “I try to figure out what my clients need, show them options, and let them decide which way they want to go.” Some people have special needs and maybe on Medicare before they turn 65. Sometimes people have difficulties understanding their options, and it takes a lot of patience to be able to explain. “I like to treat people like they are my family,” said Lauri. “I want them to feel comfortable because it can be overwhelming.” According to Lauri, she has members that span out to the Huntsville, Conroe, and Livingston areas. “Before COVID, I mostly visited clients at their homes or at my office,” said Lauri, “but since COVID, I’ve mostly been doing everything online or over the phone. Fortunately, I can send docu-signs, which makes things a lot easier.” Annual Enrollment is coming up October 15 – December 7, so SAVE THE DATES!
Before Lauri decided to dedicate her professional life to helping the retiring population, circumstances, and her passion for helping people, took her down different paths. She was born and raised in the Houston area, graduated from Waltrip High School, and received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Houston. According to Lauri, it took her about 7 years to get her degree. After graduating from high school, she had been accepted to two different schools, but her dad informed her that he had just lost his job and did not have the money to send her to college. He said it was great that she had been accepted to these schools, but that she needed to get a job. In fact, he let her know that he already had a job lined up for her, working for her aunt in the accounting department at Carpet World, and she was to start right away! She worked there full-time for a couple of years, before deciding she really wanted to go to college. While going to school, she began doing temp work for oil and gas companies. After completing her degree, instead of getting her masters to be a therapist, which had been her lifelong dream, she continued working in the oil and gas industry in corporate treasury, and gas marketing. Soon after, during a trip to Cancun, she met Troy. At the time, he was living in Denver, and she lived in Houston. They dated for a while and then decided to get married. Their wedding day was the first time they were both in the same city since they met. Later, they moved to Vancouver and lived there for 5 years. While living there, Lauri was unable to work because she was not a resident of Canada, therefore, she did volunteer work at United Healthcare, which started her journey to where she is today. A fun fact about Lauri not too many people know about. While living in Vancouver, she went to several auditions for commercials and was spotted by a casting director. Thanks to these auditions, she was given the role as Jennifer in the 1998-99 (episode #153) series of the Addams Family. Although she had no lines, it was a memorable role since during the episode, Uncle Fester gave her a stick of dynamite, and she was blown up. Needless to say, this was her big claim to fame!
After the birth of their first child, they ended up moving to Milwaukee and lived there for about 3 years. Her husband worked for the NBA (National Basketball Association) at the time and was hired by the Milwaukee Bucks. They soon realized he wasn’t home very much, and hardly got to spend time with his 3-year old son, which led him to the decision to leave the NBA and brought them to Houston.
Once Lauri was back in her hometown area, she began thinking about going back to school to become a licensed therapist, but instead, she ended with a master’s in psychology and leadership studies. “I wanted to be a therapist, but after what happened with my grandmother, then working as an ombudsman, my attention shifted to helping out seniors, or people on Medicare,” said Lauri. Nevertheless, these paths have led Lauri to help a countless number of people through her job as an Independent Medicare Agent. She also helps by donating to Goodwill in Conroe and sets up at Food Banks, and YMCA events. Furthermore, Lauri expressed that she also has a close personal connection to www. theMMRF.org (Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation), her charity of choice, to which she donates regularly.
When she’s not working, Lauri enjoys spending time with her family. They often go biking, hiking, or take day trips to San Antonio or Galveston. They also enjoy going to the movies and visiting local restaurants. Two of their favorites are Mister Hamburger in Huntsville and Montgomery Bakehouse in Conroe. She is very proud of her kids, the oldest is currently going to school at the University of Oklahoma, and the younger is a 10th grader in The Woodlands.
For questions about Healthcare options after retirement, Lauri can be contacted via Email: [email protected], or by Phone: 832.244.1973.