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 [...]

Medicare: Can seniors afford to pay more?

Did you know… The average income of Medicare beneficiaries is less than $22,000 per year. Medicare beneficiaries already pay more out of pocket for health care than people without Medicare. Higher income people with Medicare already pay [...]

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 [...]

Medicare is too generous. Seniors take advantage.

Medicare does not require seniors to pay enough of their health care costs. Seniors go to the doctor too much.  Medicare supplement insurance makes these problems worse and contributes to out-of-control Medicare spending. These are the conclusions [...]

Medicare Beneficiaries Can Lodge Complaints Over Care

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

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 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 [...]

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 Plan Finder. First, I pointed out to the top administrator [...]

Medicare and Healthcare Reform

I was talking to a client this weekend and she is clearly not a fan of “Obamacare”, as she called it.  As we talked, she raised several of her concerns about the future of Medicare and health care in general.  I thought it was interesting [...]

Did You Know This About Medicare?

Saul Friedman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, often writes about Medicare.  I’ve provided excerpts here from a recent piece of his in which he introduces some information that was news to me.   For example, I have questioned why [...]

The Business of Medicare: Humana Medicare Advantage Enrollment Rose 19%

Health Care reform has not slowed down insurance company Humana, a major player in the Medicare Advantage market. Humana’s first-quarter net income (profit) was $258.8 million, compared with $205.7 million a year earlier. Revenue rose [...]

Happy Birthday, Medicare!

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services celebrates the 45th anniversary of Medicare, the Federal health care program that guarantees health security and coverage for people over 65 and younger people with disabilities. “Forty-five [...]

UnitedHealth Group Medicare Advantage: $9 Billion Business

Reuters reported that UnitedHealth Group Inc has posted a higher-than-expected second-quarter profit, helped by growth in its Medicare Advantage plans for elderly and low-income Americans. For the second quarter (April, May, June), UnitedHealth [...]

Report: Medicare Advantage Trends

While many observers are predicting the end of Medicare Advantage, enrollment in these private Medicare plans grew by 5.7% from 2009 to 2010. In March 2010, 11.1 million Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans throughout [...]

Rating Medicare Advantage Plans

Back in April I asked the question “How good are Arizona Medicare Advantage plans?”  My post described the process for rating Advantage plans and noted how our plans stack up against the rest of the country.  The Washington Post [...]

Medicare Spending in Tucson: A Bargain

Medicare spending is lower in Tucson than in most other parts of the country. Medicare spending per enrollee in Tucson was $7,684 in 2007, while the national average was $8,682. This information comes from the Dartmouth Project which studies [...]

Part D Rebate Checks in the Mail: Beware of Scams

Seniors who have gone into the Part D donut hole will be getting a check from Social Security for $250, and scam artists are using this news to their advantage.  Apparently, crooks have been calling seniors telling them they need to provide [...]

2011 Medicare Advantage Plans: More Scrutiny from Medicare

CMS (The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) is taking a closer look this year at Medicare Advantage plans and the co-pays enrollees must pay for medical services.  Their objective is to spot Advantage plans with high co-pays that [...]

Medicare Advantage Changes for 2011

The deadline for Medicare Advantage plans to submit their 2011 plan details was yesterday, June 7th.  CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid) will review all 2,000+ plans and may ask plans to revise certain cost sharing and/or premium increases. [...]

Government vs Private Sector: Which is more efficient?

People say government is inefficient and bureaucratic.  Have they ever dealt with an insurance company?  That’s what I’ve been doing lately – trying to fix problems for seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans run by [...]

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 [...]

Help with Medicare Costs

Many seniors are struggling with health care costs and co-pays for their prescription drugs.  Many do not realize they can get help. I have met quite a few people whose Social Security check is less than $1,200 per month who did not realize [...]

Health Care Reform: Who will benefit in Arizona?

The Health Care Reform law will benefit 1.3 million Arizona residents who do not currently have insurance.  For the 281,000 residents who have non-group insurance, reform will allow them to get affordable coverage through the health insurance [...]

Hospitals Pay $9.4 million in Medicare Fraud Settlement

Nine hospitals in seven states–Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and South Carolina–will pay a combined $9.4 million to settle a whistleblower suit in which they were accused of keeping patients overnight after [...]

In 2011 Medicare Advantage Must Cap Patient Expense

In 2011, Medicare will require every Medicare Advantage plan to have an annual maximum-out-of-pocket (MOOP). This is good news for 30,000 or so seniors in Tucson whose Advantage plan does not have a MOOP. A MOOP is a cap on expenses for co-pays [...]

The Best Health Care System: Vive La France!

The World Health Organization rates the French health care system as the best in the world. This conclusion is based on a variety of factors including: low infant mortality rates;  access to care; rates of people cured of treatable diseases; [...]