medicare part d pill bottle

Part D Plan Preferred Pharmacies

Part D plan preferred pharmacies make using the Medicare.gov Plan Finder difficult and confusing. That’s because Medicare.gov only allows me to put in two pharmacies as I’m searching for drug plans for my clients. I think I am a [...]

Vacation is over.

I have taken a vacation from writing for my blog this summer – but that vacation is over, as it is almost time for the Annual Enrollment Period. I have been taking online courses and tests for all of the Medicare Advantage and Part D plans [...]
medicare numbers

New Medicare Numbers are coming.

New Medicare numbers (on a new Medicare card) are going to be sent to everyone on Medicare – but not until 2018. The new Medicare cards will use a unique, randomly-assigned number called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), to replace [...]
medicare advantage problem

Medicare Advantage Problem

My neighbor called me recently about her Medicare Advantage problem.  Renee has a pacemaker to keep her heart beating properly – but she nearly had a heart attack when her Medicare Advantage plan told her she was not eligible to get her [...]

Healthcare Costs in Tucson

When it comes to healthcare costs in Tucson, we are a low-cost healthcare market compared to the rest of the country – according to a report by the Healthcare cost Institute. You can read the report summary here: Healthy Marketplace Index The [...]
unitedhealthcare logo

UnitedHealthcare Contract Dispute

Uh oh.  A UnitedHealthcare  contract dispute with Northwest Healthcare is going to cause problems for lots of people who live on the northwest side of Tucson. Northwest Healthcare owns Oro Valley Hospital, Northwest Medical Center, and Northwest [...]

Medicare Coverage Mistake

Thousands of people make a serious Medicare coverage mistake because they don’t know the rules.  They think they don’t need to sign up for Part B of Medicare (and pay a premium) because they have COBRA, or a retiree plan, or VA [...]
medicare coverage for home infusion

Medicare Coverage for Home Infusion

Medicare coverage for home infusion services is a problem for really sick people. Why is there no Medicare coverage for home infusion? I was checking on this because a young woman called me and asked if I could find her a Medicare Advantage [...]
Medicare part d is rigged

Medicare Part D Is Rigged System.

Medicare Part D is rigged.  It is rigged to rip off seniors. This being the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, I’m checking my clients’ drug lists and I’m finding so many things I don’t like about Part D drug coverage. How [...]

Big Changes To Medicare Coming Soon

Big changes to Medicare are coming soon – now that Republicans are in charge.  And Social Security is certainly on the table because it makes up 25% of the federal budget. Most voters over 55 favored Donald Trump – and they will [...]

Medicare costs are going up in 2017

Medicare costs are going up in 2017.  Most people on Medicare currently pay a Part B premium of $104.90.  That will go up in January to about $109. For people who are new to Medicare, or those who are not yet collecting Social Security, their [...]
checking in on my medicare clients

Checking in on my Medicare clients

I’m checking in on my Medicare clients because the Medicare Open Enrollment Period is coming up. I try to call many of my clients to see if they are happy with their Medicare Advantage plan because this is the time of year they can make [...]
Medicare Open Enrollment Period

Medicare Open Enrollment

Medicare Open Enrollment is October 15th to December 7th. During the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, people can change their Medicare Advantage plan or their Part D plan. Their new plan begins on January 1, 2017. There are some important changes [...]

How much a knee replacement costs

Do you know how much a knee replacement costs?  I received this infographic from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. It looks like Blue Cross Blue Shield negotiates different prices with different providers – and negotiated prices can [...]
politics and medicare

Politics and Medicare

Politics and Medicare are featured in a recent NPR story. Here are highlights from the NPR story on politics and Medicare: The challenge for Medicare is not to expand benefits, but to figure out a way to control future cost increases and avoid [...]
medicare help in 2017

How To Pay Your Medicare Premium

You can pay your Medicare premium in several ways. This info on how to pay your Medicare premium is from the Medicare.gov website: If you get Social Security, Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits, or Civil Service benefits, your Medicare [...]

Who Gets Hurt if We Raise Medicare Age to 67.

Originally posted on April 21, 2010 in response to a proposal to raise Medicare age for eligibility: I hit the trifecta this week by meeting three women who will turn 65 in July.  All three of them told me they had been without health insurance [...]
ryan plan for medicare

Ryan Plan for Medicare is Terrible

The Ryan plan for Medicare is terrible.  Let me count the ways: As a health insurance broker, I meet people every month who are desperate for Medicare and good health insurance. These are self-employed people, or unemployed people, or people [...]
senior health insurance plan funding cut

Senior Health Insurance Program Funding Cut

It looks like a nationwide senior health insurance program could be killed by budget cuts in Washington. Kaiser Health News headline reads: Panel Kills Medicare Program That Offers Help On Enrollment, Billing Issues. The State Health [...]
medicare coverage for chiropractor services

Medicare Coverage for Chiropractor Services

Medicare coverage for chiropractor services can cause billing problems.  That’s because Medicare covers certain services among the many things a chiropractor does for a patient – and the patient could end up with a very big bill [...]
extra help

Extra Help Letters from Social Security

Two million people are receiving letters from Social Security to let them know about the Extra Help program for their Part D drug coverage. This is not junk mail and it is not a scam. Eleven million, or 30% of all Medicare Part D enrollees, [...]

$126,000 Hospital Bill and Medicare

This story was originally posted in 2011. My client was shocked by his $126,000 hospital bill. When you spend the night in the hospital, you would assume you had been “admitted” to the hospital – but you could be wrong.  And this definition [...]

Medicare Coordination of Benefits

Don’t get caught up in a coordination of benefits mess when you enroll in Medicare. Some people have Medicare as well as employer health insurance.  This has caused confusion for a few of my clients. If a person has two major medical [...]

Medicare and Health Savings Accounts

I’ve had questions recently from clients who have Medicare and health savings accounts (HSA). They were wondering how they can use their HSA once they are on Medicare. Some highlights from a Money Magazine article I just read are: *There [...]

Hearing Aids and Medicare

Congress barred Medicare coverage of hearing aids 50 years ago because “people thought hearing loss was just a normal part of aging,” said Dr. Cassel, one of the authors of a recent JAMA editorial on hearing health policies. “They didn’t [...]

See your claims at mymedicare.gov

If you use your Medicare card when you see your doctor (you are not enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan), you can set up an account on mymedicare.gov.  This account will allow you to see what Medicare has paid for your medical services. I [...]