2020 Medicare Costs

2020 Medicare costs have been announced by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). The premium for Medicare Part B will go up from $135.50 this year to $144.60 in 2020. For most people, this premium is taken out of their [...]

How to Pay Your Medicare Premium

Here is information on how to pay your Medicare premium. If you are collecting Social Security, your Medicare premium (for Part B) will be taken out of your Social Security Check. How to pay your Medicare premium if you are not collecting [...]
bad news for medicare

Bad News For Medicare

The House Republican Study Committee (RSC) has released their budget plan for fiscal year 2019 – and it is bad news for Medicare and Social Security. According to Republicans: Curbing spending is the only way to control our deficits and ballooning [...]
medicare cuts

Medicare Cuts Coming

Medicare cuts are coming as a result of tax cuts that are pushing government debt to $21 trillion. The Trump administration wants to do away with an entire Medicare program that is designed to find ways to reduce Medicare costs without lowering [...]
Your Medicare

Your Medicare at 65

If you’re turning 65 and thinking about your Medicare, here is what you need to know: How you enroll in your Medicare depends on your current situation related to Social Security. If you are receiving Social Security payments, you will [...]
2018 medicare changes

2018 Medicare Changes

2018 Medicare changes are modest. But the Republican tax bill could change all that. Medicare Part B has a premium and most people have been paying $109 because they’ve been on Medicare for many years.  Some of those people will be shocked [...]
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 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 [...]
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 [...]
medicare quiz

Confused by Medicare Alphabet Soup?

Are you confused by the Medicare alphabet soup?  Many people are confused by all the letters that apply to parts of Medicare as well as Medicare supplements.  
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, [...]

Help with Medicare Costs in 2016

  Who qualifies for help with Medicare costs? People in Arizona can use an online application at www.healthearizonaplus.gov QMB income & resource limits in 2016: Individual monthly income limit* $1,010 Married couple monthly income [...]

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 [...]

Medicare Advantage Dis-Enrollment Mistake

Don’t make this Medicare Advantage Dis-Enrollment Mistake. I tell my clients they don’t need to contact their Medicare Advantage Plan (MA) plan to cancel their Advantage plan… if they enroll into a stand-alone Part D plan. [...]
ambulance billing and medicare

Ambulance Billing Problems

Medicare covers non-emergency ambulance transport, but Medicare often refuses to pay such bills. Apparently, the devil is in the details – and it is up to seniors and their families to understand those details to avoid ambulance billing [...]

The Story of Medicare

Written and produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation, The Story of Medicare: A Timeline serves as a visual timeline of Medicare’s history, including the debate that led to its creation in 1965 and subsequent changes.  

Changes to Medicare

It looks like Democrats and Republicans have agreed on a package of Medicare reforms that will fix some problems… and push more costs onto seniors. The biggest fix prevents reduced payments to doctors that have been threatened as a result [...]

Medicare Billing Mistakes

I have spent the last week in freezing Connecticut helping my 87-year old friend figure out her medical bills.  I wrote about Julie in December when I discovered her retiree Medicare supplement plan had been changed to a Medicare Advantage [...]

Retiree Health Plans Moving to Medicare Advantage

Retiree health benefits are pretty rare these days, but I have  two friends and two relatives who worked for big companies that offer benefits to supplement Medicare for their retirees.  These people are in their 70’s and 80’s [...]

Medicare Open Enrollment in Tucson

This year’s Medicare Open Enrollment in Tucson is….. crazy.   Crazy with so many people losing their plan, or losing their doctor from their plan network. With three weeks down and four weeks left in Open Enrollment, here are my [...]

Medicare Supplement Guaranteed Issue

If your Medicare Advantage plan is being canceled, you can go back to Original Medicare and you get  Medicare supplement guaranteed issue.  This means you cannot be turned down or charged a higher premium because you have health problems. The [...]

Woman thinks she can’t afford Medicare

I was shopping on Sunday afternoon and met a woman who thinks she can’t afford Medicare. She told me she works full-time at the retail store so she can get the company health insurance. This woman is 70 years old and looks like she [...]

Medicare Phone Numbers for Complaints and Appeals

How do you appeal to Medicare if you have been denied coverage for a medical service?  How do you lodge a complaint about a provider? The United Hospital Fund provides a list of numbers for each state on their website: Starting August 1, 2014, [...]

Long Wait at Social Security

Since 2011, Social Security has lost nearly 11,000 employees, and weekly field office hours have been reduced from 35 to 27.   I read about this in LifeHealthPro, a magazine for the insurance industry. The article summarizes a report on Social [...]

Turning 65: Do you have your Medicare card?

I had a call the other day from a woman who is turning 65 and wanted to talk to me about her Medicare choices. She said she is working, but is self-employed.  She turns 65 in September, just over one month away. I asked her if she has her Medicare [...]

Medicare: How much will your hospital bill be?

Should you get a Medicare supplement to fill the gaps in Medicare?  How much will your bill be if you are admitted to the hospital and you only have Medicare? A good explanation of how Medicare works when you are admitted to a hospital can [...]