Medicare & More Blog Has Moved

For four years I wrote about Medicare and more in a blog that was part of Tucsoncitizen.com.  Unfortunately, Gannett, the owner of Tucsoncitizen.com, decided to shut down the site (with no advance notice). Gannett owns newspapers like “USA [...]

A visit to Ireland

I’m away from the warmth and sunshine of Arizona to visit friends in Ireland, which is rainy, windy, and cold.  Brrrrrr.  I’ve been to Ireland many times before, so on this trip I’m asking questions about the health care [...]

Medicare: Is that operation really necessary?

Medicare may start operating more like an insurance company by requiring prior authorization for expensive operations and procedures. Medicare has announced a test program to see how this might work, and it will focus on states where patterns [...]

Help With Medicare and Drug Costs

There are two ways for seniors to get help with their Medicare premium and Part D drug costs. Medicare beneficiaries with monthly income below $1,246 (individual) or $1,675 (couple) can apply to the state of Arizona for help.  Seniors with [...]

Medicare, Customer Satisfaction, and Hospital Bills

Kaiser Health News reported on Medicare’s plans to change the way it pays hospitals.   Here are some excerpts from the story. Medicare took its broadest step yet in moving away from its traditional hospital payment method, finalizing [...]

Medicare Beneficiaries Can Lodge Complaints Over Care

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a proposed rule that would require most Medicare-participating providers to give Medicare beneficiaries written notice about their right to contact a Medicare Quality Improvement [...]

Medicare Advantage: A Growing Business

Humana Inc.’s 2010 third-quarter net income climbed 30 percent, largely due to a jump in Medicare Advantage enrollment. Humana’s profit was $393.2 million from July through September, 2010. Humana’s total revenue for the [...]

Health Care Reform and Medicare in 2011

Republicans want to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act which impacts a broad range of medical and health  insurance issues.  Many of the reforms are actually quite popular with the public.  Here are some changes that will affect Medicare [...]

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period: Done

The Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare beneficiaries ended at midnight, December 31st.  Medicare beneficiaries who wanted to (or needed to) change their Medicare Advantage plan or their Part D drug plan should have take action by this time. [...]

Good News From Medicare: Tucson Senior is Alive!

The Tucson senior whose Medicare record was incorrectly changed to “deceased” received good news yesterday.  He got a call from a Medicare representative to inform him that his record had been corrected.  I was very impressed that [...]

Medicare Supplement vs Medicare Advantage

I received the following email yesterday and I thought I would post the question and my response here. “I am a female aged 75, widow. Since age 65, I have always had Plan J, AARP/United Health Care medigap/supplement insurance ($229 mo [...]

Only Four More Weeks to Change Medicare Coverage

Medicare beneficiaries have until the end of December to make changes to their Medicare coverage if they are thinking about moving to another Medicare Advantage plan or stand-alone Part D drug plan.  Folks who have only Medicare and no supplement [...]

Medicare Will Reward Arizona Advantage Plans

Good news for Medicare Advantage plans in Arizona!   In what Kaiser Health News called a “surprising move”, the Obama administration “will extend special bonus payments meant to reward top-performing Medicare Advantage plans [...]

New Deficit Report Recommends Seniors Pay More For Medicare

From Kaiser Health News:  A debt reduction task force that was created by the Bipartisan Policy Center recently made recommendations for reducing government spending. The task force, made up of Republicans and Democrats, targets Medicare as [...]

Medicare Advantage Selling Season

The race is on!  People on Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans have until the end of the year to change their coverage.  Medicare Advantage plans are mailing marketing materials to seniors, inviting them to seminars, and selling the benefits [...]

Talking to the Medicare Boss

On Friday I participated in a conference call with the Head of CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid) and I got to ask a question as well as offer some advice about the Medicare.gov Plan Finder. First, I pointed out to the top administrator [...]

Medicare.gov Plan Ratings Available

The Medicare.gov website finally has its Part D plan and Advantage plan ratings available.  If you can work your way through the Plan Finder to the point where you get a list of Part D and Medicare Advantage plans available in your county, [...]

Medicare Advantage: A Good and Growing Business

From the Associated Press on Nov. 1, 2010: Humana Inc.’s third-quarter net income climbed 30 percent partly on a jump in Medicare Advantage enrollment and because the health insurer’s claims leftover from previous quarters came [...]

What’s Going On With Medicare

Everyone enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan or Part D drug plan should have received a package of information that includes the “Annual Notice of Change”.  Somewhere in this material is a comparison of the plan’s premium [...]

The Future of Medicare?

Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has given a lot of thought to the future of Medicare and how this program, which takes up 13% of the federal budget, should be shaped in the future.  Ryan is one of the Republican “Young Guns” [...]

Medicare Plan Finder: Revised but Broken

If you want to do your own research into Medicare Advantage plans or Part D drug plans, you can use the Medicare.gov website – but you’d better have some patience. The Medicare Plan Finder on Medicare.gov has been re-designed and it’s [...]

Medicare and Insurance Agents

I have decided to write about insurance agents who work in the Medicare market because I have been critical of agents/brokers who seem more interested in making money than helping their clients.  There are insurance agents who swoop into Tucson [...]

Medicare Advantage: Important Questions

Medicare Advantage shopping season is upon us.  Seniors have heard about major changes coming to Medicare Advantage and they are trying to figure out what to do about their Medicare Advantage plan for 2011.  I have attended training with each [...]

Medicare Advantage Cancellation: Your Options

If your Medicare Advantage plan is cancelled, you have two options:  Change to another Advantage plan or return to Medicare and get a Medicare Supplement – with no questions asked. This is called “guaranteed issue”, and it [...]

Jesse Kelly: Misinformed on Medicare Advantage

“Giffords cut $500 billion from Medicare and Giffords eliminated Medicare Advantage, and now she is lying about…..” This quote from Jesse Kelly appeared in today’s Arizona Daily Star and I felt compelled to correct the [...]

Seniors Beware: Cold Calls from Insurance Agents

Insurance agents who make a living enrolling seniors in Medicare Advantage plans are gearing up for the Medicare Annual Election Period which runs from November 15th to December 31st.  This is the period during which seniors and younger Medicare [...]