News

Proposed New Medicare Payment System May Affect Beneficiaries

Medicare is proposing a new flat rate reimbursement system for doctors who treat Medicare patients. Some worry that the plan may reduce payments to specialists and cause fewer doctors to accept Medicare patients.

Medicare and Medicaid: Unlocking the Mystery

Medicare and Medicaid have long been a mystery to many consumers. In fact, it can baffle and confuse even some of the smartest citizens. Like me, you might have thought, “I don’t need to worry about this right now.” However, it is never too early to gain a little understanding and awareness that just might help you help an aging loved one or yourself down the road. As the saying goes, “Time flies.”, and you will be there sooner than you think. Let’s break it down and learn some of the differences and basics of Medicare and Medicaid to unlock the mystery.

New Law Expands Benefits for Chronically Ill Medicare Advantage Beneficiaries

Congress expanded benefits for Medicare recipients with chronic conditions in its latest budget bill. The law gives some Medicare plans the option of covering certain non-medical benefits and also increases telehealth services.

Medicare Extends Deadline for Relief from Part B Penalties

Medicare is extending its offer of relief from penalties for certain Medicare beneficiaries who enrolled in Medicare Part A and had coverage through the individual marketplace. Beneficiaries who qualify will be able to enroll in Medicare Part B without paying a penalty for late enrollment if they enroll by September 30, 2018.

Be on the Lookout for New Medicare Cards

The federal government is issuing new Medicare cards to all Medicare beneficiaries. To prevent fraud and fight identity theft, the new cards will no longer have beneficiaries' Social Security numbers on them.

Will Trump's budget lower Medicare drug costs? Not for some

Some Medicare beneficiaries would pay more for their prescription drugs under President Donald Trump's budget even as the sickest patients save thousands of dollars, a complex trade-off that may make it harder to sell Congress on the plan in an election year.

Home Health Care Patients With Chronic Conditions Are Having Trouble Getting Medicare

Medicare is supposed to provide up to 35 hours a week of home care to those who qualify, but many Medicare patients with chronic conditions are being wrongly denied such care, according to Kaiser Health News. For a variety of reasons, many home health care agencies are simply telling patients they are not covered.

Hospitals Nationally Hit Hard By Medicare's Safety Penalties

As the federal government penalizes 751 hospitals for having too many infections and patient injuries, some states are feeling the cuts in Medicare payments more than others.

Medicare Launches Hospice Compare Website

Patients looking for hospice care can now get help from Medicare’s website. The agency’s new Hospice Compare site allows patients to evaluate hospice providers according to several criteria. The site is a good start, but there is room for improvement, experts say.

Medicare announced its premiums for 2018. Here’s what you need to know.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that the 2018 premium for Part B of Medicare will remain at $134 a month. But even with no change, millions of Social Security recipients will pay sharply higher Part B premiums that will eat up all or most of next year’s 2 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security.

Now Is the Time to Review Your Medicare Options

Are you happy with your current Medicare plan or plans? Now is the time to think about whether you are in the right plan or whether a new plan could save you money. Medicare's Open Enrollment Period, in which you can enroll in or switch plans, runs from October 15 to December 7.

Pay Attention to the Small Details When Dealing with Long-Term Care Insurers

A long-term care insurance company recently cancelled the insurance coverage of an elderly woman who accidentally wrote the wrong amount on her premium check. The case illustrates the need for policyholders to pay attention to the details.

You Can Pay Your Medicare Premiums Online

Online bill paying has become a popular way to make paying bills easier, and now you can pay your Medicare premiums online too. If your bank allows customers to pay bills online, you can use that service to pay your Medicare premiums.

Medicare's Limited Nursing Home Coverage

Medicare Part A covers institutional care in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, as well as certain care given by home health agencies and care provided in hospices.Any person who has reached age 65 and who is entitled to Social Security benefits is eligible for Medicare Part A without charge. That is, there are no premiums for this part of the Medicare program.

Don't Let Health Care Providers Use the Improvement Standard to Deny Medicare Coverage

Have you or a loved one been denied Medicare-covered services because you’re "not improving"? Many health care providers are still not aware that Medicare is required to cover skilled nursing and home care even if a patient is not showing improvement. If you are denied coverage based on this outdated standard, you have the right to appeal.

Medicare Preventive Services: What’s Free and What Isn’t?

When we’re young we believe that we’re invincible, which makes it harder to admit as we age that our bodies naturally need more care. Normal aging affects the heart, bones and joints, so preventive care is key to avoiding aging that could be harmful to your health.