Medicare Part D: Has your plan changed?

Changes to Part D plans come in different forms: a higher monthly premium; drugs being dropped from coverage; brand drugs being moved to a higher tier with a much higher co-pay. This weekend I was checking on Part D plans for the husband of [...]

Free Preventive Screening: Watch out for added charges

Healthcare reform now requires health insurance to cover preventive screenings at no cost to the patient. (I am talking about under-65 health insurance, not Medicare.) That means an annual visit to a primary care physician, nurse practitioner, [...]

Medicare Supplements: Price, Price, Price?

There’s a full-page ad in today’s Arizona Daily Star for a Medicare supplement company. The message is to pick a Medicare supplement based on the company with the lowest price. What to ask about the pricing for Medigap plans: Ask [...]

Medicare Open Enrollment: Changing plans

The phone is ringing and there are lots of people to see. Many of them are current clients who think they might want to change their Part D plan or their Medicare Advantage plan. Some definitely need to make a change. Comparing Plans One client, [...]

Medicare Part D: Arizona plan star ratings are available

I looked up Part D drug plans for Arizona on Medicare.gov to find out how many stars they get. For 2012, there will be 30 Part D plans available in Arizona, and most of them get 2.5 or 3 stars, which is average. The star ratings go from 1 to [...]

Medicare Advantage star ratings now available

Medicare has released  its grades for Medicare Advantage and Part D plans, and I was shocked.  Tucson finally has four-star Medicare Advantage plans. The ratings go from one star to five stars and are based on more than 30 criteria such as: [...]

Medicare Advantage Free Gym Membership: Is it worth it?

Should Medicare money be spent on free gym memberships for seniors? Medicare pays Medicare Advantage plans a lot of money to cover seniors’ medical expenses and manage their health care. Critics of these plans say they shouldn’t [...]

Who should not change their Medicare Advantage plan?

This is my week to tell people they don’t need my services.  I talked to three people who have the state Medicare retiree plan because they are retired teachers. They thought they were paying too much for their Medicare Advantage plan [...]

Why change your Medicare Advantage Plan?

Medicare Advantage plans in Arizona are not changing a lot for 2012. But everyone enrolled in these plans must check to be sure their Advantage plan will work for them next year, because the time to change plans is coming up. The Open Enrollment [...]

Medicare: Big Part B premium increase?

An email being sent to seniors, warning of large increases in the Medicare Part B premium.  But is the email accurate?  Factcheck.org looked at the accusations in the email and found them all to be false. EMAIL BEING SENT TO SENIORS: MEDICARE [...]

Medicare Advantage: Check your dental coverage

Changes to Medicare Advantage plans for 2012 are not major.  Some plans will charge $45 co-pays to see a specialist, up from $40 this year. Emergency room co-pays are going up to $65 in most plans, up from $50 this year. Hospital co-pays are [...]

How to use Medicare.gov Plan Finder

The Medicare.gov website now has 2012 Medicare Advantage and Part D plan information available for review.  Put in your zip code, answer a few questions, and you can compare plans side-by-side (three at a time). Here is a video that shows how [...]

Part D 2012: Small Premium Increases

The Medicare.gov Plan Finder has 2012 information available, and there will be 30 stand-alone Part D plans sold in Arizona next year. From a quick review of 2012 Part D plans, it looks like the two most popular stand-alone plans increased their [...]