Medicare and Federal Budget

What Does Medicare Cost ?

What does Medicare cost?  Most people think their $134 Medicare Part B premium covers the cost of their Medicare – but they are very wrong. You can see from the charts below that there are three parts to Medicare:  Part A (Hospital Insurance); [...]
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 [...]

Observation Status with Medicare Advantage

Observation status with Medicare Advantage can cost you a lot of money. If you go to the hospital, you might start out in the Emergency Room and your co-pay would be $75 – even if they do lots of tests on you over several hours. That’s [...]

Medicare Free Preventive Screenings

Preventive screenings are covered by Medicare at no cost to the patient, but sometimes there will be a bill to pay.  A colonoscopy is the example I use with my clients to explain how “free” tests and procedures sometimes turn out [...]

Social Security won’t talk to insurance agents?

An insurance agent was trying to help a senior citizen who was not sure if he gets help with his drug costs or his Medicare premium. The insurance agent, sitting with the senior, called Social Security (800-772-1213) and had the senior give [...]

How Medicare works with other insurance

How does Medicare work with other insurance coverage, such as a group health plan from a former employer or union? This is an important question because it determines whether your medical bills are paid correctly and on time. Here is information [...]

Medicare Advantage Matchmaking

Helping someone pick a Medicare Advantage is kind of like matchmaking.  Does a plan’s doctor network match the client’s doctor list? Does the plan’s drug coverage match the client’s prescriptions? Seniors in Tucson are [...]

Enrolling in Medicare

The other day I met with a new client who is turning 65 in November, just over two months from now. One of the first questions I asked him was, “Do you have your Medicare card?”.  His answer was, “no”.  With this bit [...]

Medicare Advantage: The doctor would like to visit.

I have been contacted by several clients who received phone calls from their Medicare Advantage plan saying the plan would like to send a doctor to their home to give them a physical exam.  My clients called me to ask if this was legitimate. [...]

Help with Medicare and Drug Costs

If a person is turning 65 and living on their Social Security benefits, they might qualify for help with the Medicare Part B premium ($99.90 per month) and their drug costs.  If a person applies for this help through the state of Arizona, there [...]

Make Medicare better, not worse

Medicare will undoubtedly be a big issue in the upcoming election, and proposals from both Republicans and Democrats include cutting benefits or pushing more costs onto seniors and disabled people.  The Center for Medicare Advocacy has a list [...]

QI Medicare help is funded for 2012

The big news from Washington is the vote to approve the payroll tax extension through the end of 2012.  Also included in the bill is a provision to avoid  a 27% cut in pay for doctors serving Medicare patients. And within the bill, HR 3630 [...]

Extra Help for Medicare and Part D Drug Costs

Income limits for getting Medicare Part B premium help and extra help for drug costs have been increased for 2012. The federal poverty level is now set at $930.83 per month, so a person living on less than this amount qualifies for various assistance [...]

Medicare update: Washington acts. Nobody knows about it.

This morning I called the Pima Council on Aging (PCOA) to ask if they had heard anything about continued funding for the QI-1 program that pays peoples’ Medicare premium.  PCOA is aware of the letters sent by AHCCCS to 12,500 seniors [...]

Who are Medicare beneficiaries?

A person who is covered by Medicare is known as a “Medicare beneficiary”.  I came across some interesting information about Medicare beneficiaries on the website. According to the Medicare Fact Sheet, 2010 data show [...]

Part D 2012: Small Premium Increases

The Plan Finder has 2012 information available, and there will be 30 stand-alone Part D plans sold in Arizona next year. From a quick review of 2012 Part D plans, it looks like the two most popular stand-alone plans increased their [...]

Medicare Voices: video

I’ve been talking to seniors about their thoughts on Medicare, the debate over making changes to the program, and what Medicare means to them. I thought it would be interesting to see and hear seniors talk about Medicare. [tnivideo caption=”Medicare [...]

Women Who Are Uninsured

One of the suggestions for saving Medicare is to raise the eligibility age to 67 or 68 – or higher. This reminded me of a blog post I wrote in April, 2010. Originally posted on April 21, 2010: I hit the trifecta this week by meeting three [...]

More on “Arizona should not help people with their medical bills”

I recently wrote about Governor Brewer’s plan to cancel Arizona’s Medicaid program for people who have large medical bills and no health insurance. The program is one part of  AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, [...]

Medicare Advantage: What to do when you move.

Last week I met with a new client who recently moved to Arizona from Colorado.  Jerry was enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan in Colorado and was pleasantly surprised to discover that most Advantage plans in Tucson don’t have monthly premiums. Jerry [...]

Medicare and You Handbook

Okay, I admit…my life is pretty dull….  this weekend I was reading the 2011 Medicare & You Handbook which is provided by Medicare.  I thought I would pass on a few of the tidbits that caught my attention. If you are on Original [...]

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” [...]

Help With Medicare and Drug Costs

Many seniors are struggling with health care costs and co-pays for their prescription drugs.  Many do not realize they can get help. If an individual has income of  less than $1,354 per month ($16,245 per year), or a couple’s income [...]

Turning 65: Your Medicare Choices

If you are turning 65 in the next few months, you have choices to make concerning your Medicare coverage.  Are you still working and have employer coverage? Will you consider enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan? Do you think a Medicare [...]

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