Ep 44: Medicare Decisions For The Retiring (or Retired) CRNA

Retirement means many different things but one of the most important is transitioning to a new healthcare plan. For many people, Medicare becomes the best option but it can be difficult to sort through and understand. Who is eligible? What are my options? How much are premiums? We brought on Medicare guru Joanne Giardini-Russell to clear up a lot of questions for us.

On This Episode:

CRNAs spend a career taking care of people and once retirement rolls around, it’s time to focus much more on yourself. That includes your health and well-being, but many people aren’t completely sure of their healthcare options.

Medicare becomes available to Americans at the age of 65, but how much do you know about it? If you said not much, you’re not alone. Policies, premiums, and processes aren’t always clear and it leaves you with a lot of questions.

We wanted to help answer many of those on this episode of Beyond the Mask so we brought on Medicare guru and owner of the Boomer Health Group, Joanne Giardini-Russell. After decades of experience in the insurance world along with the financial industry, Joanne decided to start her own company with the goal of becoming a professional resource for Medicare decisions and planning.

She’s the perfect person to help us sort through many of the questions we had on the topic. We talk about age requirements, policies, who is eligible, different insurance carriers, and much more. From basics to higher-level information, we got it all during this conversation. It even opened Sharon’s eyes a number of times.

You should also remember that it’s never too early to start planning for this decision and the many others you’ll have to make in retirement. CRNA Financial Planning can help you build a plan that takes all of these things into account.

If you’ve ever had a question about Medicare or just want to get a better understanding of the program, join us for this episode. Check it out at the top of the page and use the timestamps to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

[1:51] – Today we’re talking about Medicare decisions for the retiring or retired CRNAs.

[2:48] – Our guest today is a Medicare expert, Joanne Giardini-Russell

[3:29] – Joanne gives us her background in the industry.

[5:47] – Let’s start with the basics: what is Medicare?

[7:09] – Who is eligible for Medicare and is it mandatory?

[8:22] – If I’m still working at 65, does that effect anything?

[9:44] – You don’t have to take Medicare at 65. It’s important to know that everyone’s situation is different.

[11:14] – Understanding how the Health Savings Account plays into your decision.

[11:54] – A lot of people don’t understand that premiums are income-related.

[13:09] – When you start talking about retirement, planning needs to begin as soon as possible to work through options like these.

[13:43] – Your HSA contributions get taxed and many people don’t know that.  

[14:40] – What does the acronym IRMA mean?

[17:51] – Client story about a couple found out they were paying more than they needed to for premiums.

[19:35] – Are there other costs for Medicare beyond the premium?       

[21:11] – You have two choices to handle the 20% beyond Medicare’s coverage.

[23:02] – What are the pros and cons of the Medicare Advantage plan?

[25:27] – What else does a CRNA need to know after they enroll? Let’s talk basics.

[27:22] – If you’re over 65 and you’ve enrolled in Medicare, can you make changes or are you stuck?

[28:44] – Pre-existing conditions do come back into play with Medicare.

[29:33] – It’s very important to know that people with pre-existing conditions have one shot to get into Medicare. Here’s what you need to know.

[30:23] – How much flexibility do you have in picking an insurance carrier?

[32:29] – What are my annual requirements with Medicare coverage?

[35:19] – Final thoughts from Joanne


“When you’re 65, you really just have to make a comparison of is work insurance good for me or should I go to Medicare basically. And then we help that bridge whenever they deem it appropriate.”

-Joanne Giardini-Russell, Medicare Guru and Boomer Health Group owner

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