Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment is back

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is back in 2019.  That means people will have more time to enroll into Medicare Advantage plans – beyond the Annual Enrollment Period of October 15 – December 7. The Medicare Advantage [...]
medigap plans for people for under 65

Medigap Plans for People under 65

Are Medigap plans for people under 65 available in Arizona? Medigap plans for people under 65 are not available in Arizona and  19 other states. An article on kff.org looks at which states require insurance companies to sell Medigap plans to [...]

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 [...]

EMPLOYER HEALTH INSURANCE AND MEDICARE

If you are eligible for Medicare and still working, or if you have employer health insurance through your spouse, there are some rules you need to know. If you are 65 and still working – and your employer has fewer than 20 employees, you [...]

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.  

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 [...]

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 [...]

Medicare and AHCCCS Clerical Error

I wrote recently about a client who was thrilled to receive notice from AHCCCS that she qualifies for additional help for her medical costs. I told her something must have changed at AHCCCS because her income is about $60 too high to get this [...]

Medicare Part D: Are you paying too much for your drug plan?

Most seniors are in the wrong Part D plan.  I saw a study last year that found  only 5.2% of seniors chose the most economical Part D plan available to them. Yesterday, I met a person who is a good example of what the study talked about. I [...]

Hospitals Dropped from Medicare Advantage Networks

Health News Florida has an interesting story about a dispute between Humana’s Medicare Advantage plans and a Miami Hospital and doctor network.  Medicare Advantage plans must control their costs, and when a doctor group or hospital requires [...]

Most Tucson Hospitals Charge Medicare Less Than National Average

Medicare has released information on how much hospitals across the country charge for the most common surgeries.  Here are the results for Tucson: Tucson Medical Center:  .8 of the national average charge St Joseph Hospital: 1.0 of the national [...]

Medicare Advantage Star Ratings: Who cares?

Seniors do not care about the Medicare Advantage and Part D star ratings.  This is the finding of  focus group research carried out by the Kaiser Family Foundation last fall. AIS Health has a good article on the report and a briefing that [...]

No More Limits on Physical Therapy

A New York Times articles says Medicare has ended limits on how much physical therapy a person can receive. The rules used to be that if a person receiving physical therapy was not improving, Medicare would no longer pay for Physical Therapy [...]

What’s the future for Medicare Advantage?

The New York Times has an article about how payment cuts to Medicare Advantage plans are raising questions about the future of Medicare Advantage. I say, “Only time will tell”, and that time will be next September when all Medicare [...]
Insulin prices

Help For Part D Drug Costs

Help for Part D drug costs is a different program from the Medicare Savings Program that helps people with Medicare costs.  Help for drug costs can be applied for at SSA.gov, while the Medicare Savings Program must be applied for through a [...]

Smaller Medicare Advantage networks coming to your town?

Medicare Advantage plan networks will be affected by payment cuts to Medicare Advantage plans. Smaller provider networks could be the future for Medicare Advantage. I was at a meeting yesterday with a rep from a Medicare Advantage plan that [...]

Help For Low-Income Seniors in Jeopardy

Low-Income seniors might lose Medicare help they receive due to an error of omission in Washington – even though both political parties think the financial assistance program should continue. Funding for the Medicare Qualified Individual [...]

Obamacare: Medicaid Expansion does not apply to people on Medicare.

Under Obamacare Medicaid is being expanded for people with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level.  But this expansion does not apply to people who have Medicare. There has been a lot of talk in the last few months about how Medicaid [...]

Part D: Will your premium increase in 2014?

One Part D plan is increasing its premium from $25.90 in 2013 to $53 in 2014.  That is outrageous! The plan is First Health Part D Value, and it has been a good deal in 2013 because it has no deductible and generics can be bought at Walgreens [...]

Obamacare and Medicare: Confusion

I received an interesting press release this morning that seems worth sharing. New research finds many seniors wrongly think public health insurance exchanges are replacing Medicare plans. ST. LOUIS, September 17, 2013 – As the nation approaches [...]

New Medicare Advantage Plans in 2014

Is Obmacare killing Medicare Advantage?  Does Medicare Advantage have a future? Despite politicians’ predictions of gloom and doom for Medicare Advantage, Arizona will have several new plans in 2014. I was going to list the new companies [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Working Past 65: Delayed Medicare Enrollment

People can delay enrollment in Medicare Part B if they are working beyond their 65th birthday or are covered by their spouse’s employer health insurance. But once they want to get their Medicare started there can be some confusion. Steps to [...]