Having a Baby in Paris

I read an interesting article by a woman living in Paris. This American in Paris compares her experience having a baby in the French health care system to what she knows about the American system. Dispatches from the welfare state

Medicare Advantage Changes Coming for 2014

Changes are coming to Medicare Advantage plans. I’ve been attending meetings for independent brokers who represent Medicare Advantage plans in Southern Arizona and my head is spinning with news of changes big and small. I need to contact my [...]

Brand Drugs Going Generic in 2014

Folks on Medicare who take brand drugs may get some relief in 2014, when some big names go generic. I don’t know exactly when these drugs will be available in generic form, but anyone who takes these drugs needs to keep an eye out for [...]

Annual Notice of Change coming soon. Pay attention!

Everyone enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan or a Part D plan will be receiving, by the end of September, a package of information called the Annual Notice of Change (ANOC). The ANOC is full of details you don’t care about – but [...]

Turning 65 this fall? Hold off on enrolling in Part D.

I’ve been talking to a number of people who are turning 65 in November and December. Most of them want to get a Medicare supplement and then a stand-alone Part D plan. But I’m not sure what Part D plan to recommend for them because [...]

Obamacare and Medicare

The word is starting to get out about Obamacare and the requirement that everyone sign up for health insurance through their state marketplace. I’ve gotten calls and email from clients who are on Medicare and are wondering if they need [...]

More Doctors are Participating in Medicare

The Department of Health and Human Services has issued a report on “Access to Physicians’ Services for Medicare Beneficiaries”, which shows that physician participation in Medicare is growing. Among the key points: The percentage [...]

Do you see the doctor or the Physician’s Assistant?

Are there enough primary care doctors in Tucson?  Do you see the doctor or the Physician’s Assistant?  In Arizona, Nurse Practitioners are not required to work under a physician.  Medicare may soon be encouraging the use of Nurse Practitioners [...]

Another Delay for Obamacare

An article in the New York Times today reports on another delay for Obamacare that affects group health plans. The change delays, for some group plans, the the limit on out-of-pocket costs until 2015. The Obamacare rule is that in 2014 no health [...]

Should you enroll in Medicare Part D?

If you are turning 65 and enrolling in Medicare, you still have some decisions to make.  Will you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan?  Or will you stay with Original Medicare and get a Medicare supplement to fill the gaps in Medicare?  And [...]

Can you keep your high-deductible plan?

A reader of this blog recently wrote that he has a high-deductible health insurance plan and he wants to keep it.  To keep his monthly premium low, he chose a $10,000 deductible. This means he pays 100% of his medical bills until they reach [...]

Happy Birthday, Medicare!

48 years ago, President Lyndon Johnson signed the bill that created Medicare.  Ronald Reagan, the American Medical Association, and most Republicans predicted “a thousand years of darkness” when Medicare was implemented. Medicare is now [...]

Does Medicare work overseas?

I got a phone call yesterday from Germany. I think it’s pretty cool that someone in Germany found my blog – though I have also been contacted by Americans  living in France, Costa Rica, and Mexico.  Jeff, who lives in Germany, [...]

What home health services does Medicare cover?

An article by David Sayen, Medicare Regional Administrator: Medicare covers a variety of heath care services that you can receive in the comfort and privacy of your home. These include intermittent skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech-language [...]

Turning 65: Enrolling in Medicare

If you are turning 65:  Are you collecting Social Security?  Are you working and covered by your employer health insurance?  These are important questions I ask people who are soon to be 65 because how you enroll in Medicare Part B (or whether [...]

AHCCCS: Changes Coming for Some Dual Eligibles

Letters will be going out this week to low-income Medicare beneficiaries in Arizona who have Medicare and AHCCCS (Arizona Medicaid).  As of October 1st, all dual eligibles must have the same AHCCCS health plan as their Medicare Advantage plan. [...]

Do VA Health Care Benefits qualify as insurance under Obamacare?

The Obamacare mandate says everybody must enroll in health insurance starting in 2014.  But 80 – 85% of Americans already have health insurance, so the mandate does not affect them.  Is your health insurance good enough so you don’t [...]

Look Up Doctors Who Accept Medicare

Medicare has a website available for people to look up doctors.  Below is a press release about the site. This site is for people looking to find doctors who accept Medicare, so it is for people who use their Medicare card when they see a doctor. If [...]

Do you need help with your Medicare choices?

Can a person turning 65 figure out her Medicare choices and options on her own?  Of course, the answer is “yes”, but …. Okay, this is a rather self-serving post, since I am an insurance broker – but two meetings this [...]

Arizona will expand Medicaid under Obamacare

Arizona will expand its Medicaid program as part of Obamacare.  Arizona will receive about $1.5 billion of federal money each year from the Affordable Care Act, and hospitals throughout the state will chip in millions of dollars to fill out [...]

Medicare: Non-Participating doctors

What does it mean if a doctor is a “non-participating provider” for Medicare? Becky turned 65 recently. She has Medicare and a Medicare supplement, and she is looking for a primary care doctor. She called Desert Sage Internal Medicine [...]

Medicare Supplements: No changes coming

Medicare supplement Plan F fills all the gaps in Medicare, leaving a person with no co-pays for services covered by Medicare. Medicare pays its part of the bill and Plan F pays the deductibles and co-insurance.  There has been talk for some [...]

Medicare Changes: Durable Medical Equipment

Medicare is changing the way it works with durable medical Equipment suppliers. People who use their Medicare card (and probably have a Medicare supplement) need to pay attention to this, However, people enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan [...]

Medicare pays for eyelid lift

Medicare does not cover cosmetic surgery, but…..  sometimes the line between what is medically necessary and what is cosmetic is a bit fuzzy. I just read in Health News Florida: The number of eyelid lifts charged to Medicare tripled [...]

Medicare Advantage: The future looks good

“What’s going to happen to Medicare Advantage plans with Obamacare?” This is a question I hear over and over as I talk to people on Medicare and those who are turning 65. Predictions about the future of Medicare Advantage seem [...]

Medicare History: Tucson’s Congressman Mo Udall

After reading the Washington Post article that looks back on the start up of Medicare in 1966, I googled “Udall and Medicare” to find documents I had come across a few years ago.  The material from Tucson Congressman Morris Udall [...]