Brad DeLong: Raising the Medicare Eligibility Age Is a Really Bad Idea Blogging: Is This a Problem with the Media or with the Congressional Budget Office?

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

Director’s Blog: Raising the Ages of Eligibility for Medicare and Social Security: If the eligibility age was raised above 65, fewer people would be eligible for Medicare, and outlays for the program would decline relative to those projected under current law. CBO expects that most people affected by the change would obtain health insurance from other sources, primarily employers or other government programs, although some would have no health insurance. Federal spending on those other programs would increase, partially offsetting the Medicare savings. Many of the people who would otherwise have enrolled in Medicare would face higher premiums for health insurance, higher out-of-pocket costs for health care, or both.
Source: typepad.com

Video: Guide to Using Joppel for Medicare Insurance

Romney Proposes Raising Medicare Eligibility Age in 2022

February 24, 2012 Suehs Signs Rule Banning Abortion Affiliates – “If there was any hope that the state was seeking a compromise with the federal government over Texas’ Women’s Health Program, it’s fading fast. At the direction of lawmakers and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Texas Health and Human Services commissioner signed a rule on Thursday that formally bans Planned Parenthood clinics and other “affiliates of abortion providers” from participating in the program — something the Obama administration has said is a deal-breaker for the nearly $40 million-per-year state-federal Medicaid program.”
Source: talkleft.com

Research Roundup: Raising Medicare’s Eligibility Age

Journal Of The American College Of Radiology: Imaging And Insurance: Do The Uninsured Get Less Imaging In Emergency Departments? – Using data from the 2004 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, researchers compared treatment among patients who were uninsured, those covered by Medicaid and those with other types of insurance and found that the uninsured patients received 8 percent fewer imaging tests than patients with non-Medicaid insurance and that Medicaid enrollees received 10 percent fewer than those with other insurance. They conclude: “Further research is needed to understand whether insured patients receive unnecessary imaging or if uninsured and Medicaid patients receive too little imaging” (Moser and Applegate, January 2012). Archives Of Pediatrics And Adolescent Medicine: The Interplay Of Outpatient Services And Psychiatric Hospitalization Among Medicaid-Enrolled Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders — For children with Austism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), barriers to care — such as lack of qualified practitioners and poor insurance coverage — increase the chances that they will be hospitalized for psychiatric reasons. The researchers looked at a large national sample of Medicaid-covered children with ASD to see if “increasing outpatient services results in reduced use of costly and restrictive service.” The researchers found that each $1,000 increase in spending on outpatient services like respite care over 60 days “resulted in an 8% decrease in the odds of hospitalization” (Mandell et. al., 1/2) New England Journal Of Medicine:  Fitness Memberships And Favorable Selection In Medicare Advantage Plans — Researchers used national figures from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to see what kind of changes occurred when 11 Medicare Advantage plans incorporated a gym membership as a part of their covered benefits: “Persons enrolling in plans after the addition of a fitness-membership benefit reported significantly better general health, fewer limitations in moderate activities, less difficulty walking.” The authors noted that creating an insurance risk pool for Medicare Advantage plans, as well as  for small business and individual plans, violates the 2010 health law. However, a benefits package that caters to a healthier subset of seniors may have the same effect as creating a risk pool (Cooper and Trivedi, 1/11).
Source: kaiserhealthnews.org

Blog Health Care: Raising the Age for Medicare Eligibility

This week the Congressional Budget Office released a report on proposals to raise the age of eligibility for Medicare and Social Security. The CBO concludes that raising Medicare eligibility to 67 would reduce federal spending by $148 billion between 2012 through 2021. By 2030, Medicare’s net spending would be reduced by 5% – 4.7% of GDP rather than 5%. Those numbers sound good. But reducing federal expenditures doesn’t reduce the need for medical care. Some lucky folks (I’m in that category) (a) have employment that provides health insurance and (b) are happy to continue working. Some who would rather retire will continue to work, increasing health care costs for their employer (and fellow employees). Some will scramble to find alternatives which will cost them more than Medicare would. And some will become uninsured, at an age when this is progressively risky. Overall costs – to individuals, employers and other government programs would probably go up more than the $148 billion reduction in Medicare outlays. The CBO does not comment on the fact that employers are not clamoring for ready-to-retire employees to stay on the job simply to avoid being uninsured. Raising the Medicare eligibility age isn’t meaningful cost reduction – it’s simply a form of hot potato, dumping the costs into other accounts. It intensifies the fragmentation of our health system, and worsens overall quality of care. In my view, the proposal is born out of despair about achieving constructive Medicare reform in which health professionals, patients and families collaborate on behalf of improved care (basically more compassion and less technology) and reduced costs. From 35 years of practice in a not-for-profit HMO setting I know this kind of collaboration is possible. But it requires a spirit of cooperation and trust that is not easy to find in our toxic political environment. 
Source: blogspot.com

Romney Offers Proposal To Gradually Increase Medicare Eligibility Age

Romney said that his proposal would begin in 2022. Under the proposals, the Medicare eligibility age would increase by one month annually. “In the long run, the eligibility ages for [Medicare and Social Security] will be indexed to longevity so they increase only as fast as life expectancy,” Romney said (Espo, AP/Contra Costa Times, 2/24).
Source: californiahealthline.org

3 Reasons Why We Should Raise Medicare’s Eligibility Age

In attempting to address the problems of Medicare and medical expenses on the whole, members of Congress should look to the history of the program. The House Ways and Means Committee, when charged with assessing the costs of the program, projected that total costs for the first year would run no more than $1.3 billion when total spending in the first year actually was $4.6 billion. The committee did not improve its accuracy over time, projecting that hospital spending would amount to just $3.1 billion in 1970 when it was actually $7.1 billion. John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, explains that these chronic projection mistakes are because analysts failed to account for increased demand as 19 million people were given free access to unlimited health care. Today, Congress makes the same mistakes in different ways, failing to account for a dynamic market that undermines direct controls and ignores price-controlling efforts.
Source: reason.com

Tips to Cure Candida Yeast Infection

            Candida is one of many diseases caused by yeast. There are some ways concerning candida cures that you can try if you are suffering from it. Before it is described that some ways can cure candida, it is vital to know the symptoms of this disease. Several symptoms can be seen directly as the sign of candida yeast infection such as in women, it is possible to get infection in their vagina and in men, the symptom can be in the form of jock itch. Then, oral thrush in the form of a white coating in tongue or in mouth, allergies caused by food and sensitivities with milk and wheat, ache and pain like fibromyalgia, gas and bloating, constipation which is the same symptom as diarrhea, fatigue, moodiness, and many more.
Source: wowcnbbs.com

Daily Kos: Raising Medicare eligibility age wouldn’t just shift health care costs, but increase them

Cost-shifting cuts don’t actually reduce health care spending; they just shift costs from the government to the private sector. Increasing Medicare’s eligibility age from 65 to 67, as Senators Tom Coburn and Joseph Lieberman have proposed and as the Obama administration reportedly floated during the debt ceiling negotiations, is a classic example. While raising the eligibility age would reduce government spending on Medicare, it would shift the costs to individuals and businesses. It would also increase the number of uninsured 65- and 66-year-olds, leading to worse health outcomes and making it harder for older Americans to find work.
Source: dailykos.com

Eligibility: CMS Medicare

CollaborateMD has been notified that CMS MEDICARE has scheduled maintenance on Friday, 04/13/2012 from 7:00 PM CT to 9:00 PM CT on Sunday, 04/15/2012. During this time eligibility transactions should not be sent. Requests sent during the scheduled maintenance time may receive a response stating “Unable to Respond at Current Time.” If you have any questions, please contact Client Services at 1-888-348-8457, option 2.
Source: collaboratemd.com

Court: Social Security Beneficiaries Cannot Drop Medicare Eligibility

In the case, five plaintiffs — including former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) — said that they would prefer not to be eligible for Medicare benefits because their private health plans limit coverage for people who qualify for the program (Pecquet, “Healthwatch,”
Source: californiahealthline.org

About Your Medicare Options and Coverage

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

Press Conference on Benefits of Health Insurance Reform to Seniors by Leader Nancy PelosiTake a look at the right website such as medicare.gov to find the latest information. Contact Humana for additional particulars. You have to still pay your Medical insurance strategy insurance Medical insurance strategy Part B rates. Restrictions, co-obligations and limitations may apply. Advantages are coverage of prescription medication, no monthly premium or maybe an affordable selection of doctors within the network, and co-payments affordable for physician visits and yearly schedule physicals. PPO is actually your advantage Medicare insurance plan selected organizations that gives you the freedom to decide which hospitals that you visit.
Source: atthecon.com

Video: Top 10 Medicare Insurance Tips

Unbelieving Advantages of Having Medicare Insurance

There are many people who are very apprehensive of making any choice when it comes to Medicare supplement plans and this is the reason why they cannot make up their mind to choose from among so many plans available. There are have been some strategies that have been developed by people themselves in order to get hold of the best Medicare Supplemental insurance so that they never fail to get the profit of buying an insurance plan. Now there is a lot of thought given to the choice that is made in respect to the Medicare plans and at the same time it is also seen that the plans are able to return what amount of profit to the users. The rates o the insurance plans prevailing in the market also play an important role in decision making process of an individual. There can remain a huge difference in the rates that are being offered by different insurance companies and therefore it is very important to use a little bit of logic and sense while deciding to buy a Medicare insurance plan.
Source: free-articlesubmit.com

Numerous Medical Health Insurance Policies Have Inexpensive Deductibles

Health care insurance is essential have nowadays. With rates so great, it may appear to be it really is impossible to have a very good rate. It is not tough if you continue to be as healthful as you can minimizing your dangers to major injury and condition. The less pre-present situations which you have and quitting unsafe routines can reduced everything you will pay altogether costs on the way to your medical insurance.
Source: pokibid.org

Tricare Help – Do Medicare

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

Medicare Part D Press Conference 10-25-06 (34) by Korean Resource Center 민족학교Neither Medicare nor Tricare require their beneficiaries to enroll in the Medicare Pharmacy Plan, Part D of Medicare. To the contrary, Medicare Part D is not recommended for Tricare for Life beneficiaries. The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs is on record for saying that the only Tricare beneficiaries likely to achieve any financial advantage from Medicare Part D enrollment are those whose incomes are below the federal poverty level and who qualify for financial aid to help pay their Medicare Part B premiums.
Source: militarytimes.com

Video: Medicare Part D and Prescription Drugs

Q1Medicare.com Brings the Finalized 2013 Medicare Part D Defined Standard Benefit Parameters Online

As can be seen on the Q1Medicare.com/2013 page, the final 2013 defined standard benefit plan parameters show a slight increase above the same 2012 values. For example, Medicare beneficiaries enrolling in a 2013 Medicare Part D prescription drug plan modeled after the CMS Defined Standard Benefit will find the 2013 initial deductible increasing from the current value of $ 320 to $ 325. Likewise, the initial coverage limit will increase to $ 2,970 from the current 2012 limit of $ 2,930, meaning that Medicare beneficiaries with an average monthly negotiated retail drug cost of over $ 248 can expect to enter the Donut Hole sometime in 2013.
Source: diethomebusiness.info

Medicare Supplement Plans Extend A Hand To Seniors

Even if you supplement Medicare with a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan, you may also enroll in one of the ten Medigap plans. During a six-month period that begins on the first day of the month in which you become 65 and you are enrolled in Part B, your application for a Medigap plan is guaranteed to be accepted regardless of your health problems. You may switch to a different plan during this time, and guaranteed acceptance also applies to the application for the other plan.
Source: income-stream-articles.com

CMS: Medicare Advantage, Part D To Get 3 Percent Boost In 2013 Reimbursements

Bloomberg: Nursing Homes Won’t Have To Hire Independent Pharmacists The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services backtracked on a plan that would have required nursing homes to hire independent pharmacists to assess residents’ prescriptions. Regulators “decided to further study the issue for future policy considerations,” Jonathan Blum, deputy director of the agency, said in a conference call with reporters late yesterday. The centers said in October it was considering stricter rules to oversee patients’ drug regimens, an announcement that sent the stocks of nursing home pharmacies, including Omnicare Inc. (OCR) and PharMerica Corp. (PMC), tumbling (Wayne, 4/3).
Source: kaiserhealthnews.org

State Teachers Retirement…To Save or Not To Save

As with all situations there is never a hard fast rule for everyone, but in most cases for the employee it is what I call a “no brainer.”  The current premium in Ohio for the employee is $81/month.  The plan offered by STRS is the Aetna Medicare Plan (PPO) which is a group Medicare Advantage Plan.  The plan has a $500 deductible and a $1500 annual out of pocket maximum (which includes the deductible).  More importantly, the prescription drug plan does not have the infamous donut hole like Medicare Part D has.  So if you are a retired teacher, be very wary of “advisors” recommending you leave STRS to go on a Medicare Advantage plan on your own.  If you have already made this mistake, don’t worry because you may be able to get back on your STRS plan.  Just give them a call to find out what to do.  You may have to wait until the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) before you can get out of your current plan.
Source: wordpress.com

Test can someone help plz?

13. When a TRICARE beneficiary cannot receive services from a military treatment facility (MTF) the: (Points : 2) Beneficiary must receive a non-availability statement (NAS) to receive services from a civilian provider. Beneficiary can automatically receive services from a civilian provider Beneficiary will have to pay for the services Services will not be covered
Source: insurance-center.org

The American Spectator : The Spectacle Blog : Medicare Part D’s Bugs

With all due respect to the factual arguments against this extension of Medicare for seniors’ [I being one now] drug coverages, I am getting sick and tired of this political bashing of the over 65 crowd and their Medicare and Social Security. To repeat for the thousandth time, THESE ARE NOT ENTITLEMENTS! Most of the recipients of same WORKED FOR AND PAID FOR THROUGH A LIFETIME OF PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS AND WERE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR SAME UNTIL 65+. Are these programs underfunded, hell yes! Why, because the GD politicians have STOLEN money-funding from same for decades in order to provide government welfare to indigents [WHO HAVEN’T/DON’T/WON’T PAY FOR SAME] receiving ””””’MEDICAID”””’, along with aid to this that and everything else, food stamps, etc. Why isn’t anyone having the courage-b*lls to tell the truth about what is and what is not an ENTITLEMENT, with the former being ENTIRELY FREE and the latter not being so? Why isn’t anyone showing the guts to demand that the former is the real problem for the government and therefore for taxpayers, due to the out of control birthing of indigents requiring governmental welfare at taxpayers’ expense [which causes the defecit and debt to increase exponentially]? Why isn’t anyone calling out this president and this administration for their constant harping regarding the need for so-called MILLIONAIRES & BILLIONAIRES [ie anyone with income] to pay their ””’FAIR SHARE””” of taxes to support this explosion of indigents requiring welfare, instead of criticisms of seniors who PAID FOR THEIR SS/MEDICARE/PART D???????? Why are people so GD stupid over this current religious war over contraceiption when without same, the welfare indigent class will multiply even more requiring even higher taxes to be paid by the income producers? Why doesn’t some grow a brain and think? The seniors were screwed recently over this payroll tax installationa dn extension, and not one legislator, not one journalist [other than Rush Limbaugh] had the b*lls to tell the truth about same…..THAT IT WAS THE SOCIAL SECURITY TAX THAT FUNDS THE SS SYSTEM THAT WAS ONCE AGAIN TAKING A REDUCTIVE HIT FROM 6% TO 4%, ALL TO PAY MORE ”””WELFARE””’TO THE UNEMPLOYED OF THIS COUNTRYAND TO INCREASE THE PAYCHECKS OF THE EMPLOYEDS CURRENTLY!!!!! I’m sick and tired of this constant crap about SS, Medicare and Part D being the main culprit, when its recipients again PAID FOR same and are now getting screwed. And why? Simple so that these mongrels running their redistributive road show from DC and STEAL FROM SENIORS and thereafter give it to THEIR SNOTNOSED CONSITUENTS EITHER WORKIN FAST FOOD JOINTS OR BLOWING SMOKE UP THEIR NOSTRILS ON STREET CORNERS! Please, will someone have the guts to tell the truth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Source: spectator.org

Medicare Part D Open Enrollment to Begin Soon

6. Seek help if you need it: Medicare changes typically come every year. But reviewing options and choosing a new plan can be confusing for consumers or those attempting to help them. For help, you can go to the government’s website as well as volunteer organizations, private-sector plans, and other resources like the AARP (American Association of Retired People) , the National Council on Aging (NCOA), and the Medicare Rights Center. You can also check out the State Health Insurance Plans (SHIPs), which are part of a federal network of State Health Insurance Assistance Programs located in every state.
Source: bnaibrithdenver.org

Why we need an improved Medicare

* Relative to the typical large employer PPO plan, Medicare provides somewhat more generous benefits for low-cost individuals ages 65 and older because of the relatively low Part B deductible for individuals who do not use inpatient care; however, Medicare is less generous than the typical large employer PPO plan for seniors with moderate and high costs. Similarly, relative to the FEHBP Standard Option, Medicare is slightly better for low-cost individuals ages 65 or older, but is notably less generous for moderate-cost individuals and somewhat less generous for high-cost individuals.
Source: pnhp.org

Simon Johnson: How the Banks Endangered Medicare

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

Medicare by 401KThe economic mechanism through which a bank-led financial crisis has a broader adverse fiscal impact is straightforward. The recession that deepened sharply in 2008 implied a deep loss of tax revenue, mostly because people lost their jobs. Lower revenue means larger government deficits, particularly when the government also provides unemployment insurance, so spending also goes up. (In comparison, the Bush stimulus of 2008 and the Obama stimulus of 2009 added relatively little to the cumulative additional total debt, according to the Congressional Budget Office.)
Source: nytimes.com

Video: Medicare

You Pay for Warren Buffett’s Medicare

People who do not work for large employers face prohibitive prices for individual health insurance policies. This is partly due to the absence of the tax exclusion offered to employers. But two other factors also drive up the cost of individual policies and leave too many people without coverage. State-imposed mandates on insurance coverage — requiring those expensive items such as substance abuse programs, pregnancy, childbirth, and other expenses may be part of any insurance package — drive up the cost of insurance. Whereas a pure catastrophic plan could be quite inexpensive for a young, healthy purchaser, many states prevent insurance carriers from offering them. Additionally, because government is subsidizing so much of the care in the broader health marketplace, prices are higher than they would otherwise be.
Source: patriotpost.us

Research Roundup: Medicare Vs. Private Plans

Archives Of Internal Medicine: Obesity Treatment For Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Patients In Primary Care Practice – Low-income patients are underrepresented in clinical trials and are disproportionately prone to obesity and the related problems of high blood pressure and heart disease. Researchers conducted a 24-month trial of more than 300 low-income, obese patients from various Boston community health centers, randomizing participants “to usual care or a behavioral intervention that promoted weight loss and hypertension self-management using eHealth components. The intervention included tailored behavior change goals, self-monitoring, and skills training, available via a website or interactive voice response.” The intervention resulted in “modest weight losses, improved blood pressure control and slowed systolic blood pressure” (Bennett et al., 4/9). Kaiser Family Foundation: How Does The Benefit Value Of Medicare Compare To The Benefit Of Typical Large Employer Plans? A 2012 Update — This study, updated from 2008, found that “Medicare remains less generous on average than typical large employer health plans, even after recent improvements in the program’s drug coverage. Overall, Medicare would cover $11,930 on average of the $14,890 in estimated annual spending for an individual age 65 and older, less than would be covered under either the federal employee plan ($12,260) or the typical PPO comparison plan ($12,800) for an individual age 65 and older. The gap was narrower in 2011 than it was in 2007, largely due to provisions in the Affordable Care Act that provide discounts on brand-name drugs purchased in the Medicare drug benefit’s coverage gap, or “doughnut hole” (McArdle, Levinson, Stark and Neuman, 4/4). The Heritage Foundation: Saving The American Dream: Comparing Medicare Reform Plans – The Heritage Foundation has proposed a premium support plan for Medicare as part of a comprehensive defict reduction package. This backgrounder looks at that proposal and five other plans that offer such supports. In a plan with a premium support, sometimes called a voucher, the government makes a fixed payment to Medicare beneficiaries, who then can shop for appropriate health insurance.  The author writes that, while details vary, each requires “traditional Medicare to compete with private plans, using competitive bidding to determine market-based payments to health plans, requiring upper-income retirees to pay more for their benefits, providing extra assistance to lower-income enrollees, and adding a risk-adjustment mechanism to guarantee market stability and security for older and sicker retirees. The breadth of the consensus on key policy components could be the basis for a strong bipartisan agreement” (Moffit, 4/4).
Source: kaiserhealthnews.org

Why we need an improved Medicare

* Relative to the typical large employer PPO plan, Medicare provides somewhat more generous benefits for low-cost individuals ages 65 and older because of the relatively low Part B deductible for individuals who do not use inpatient care; however, Medicare is less generous than the typical large employer PPO plan for seniors with moderate and high costs. Similarly, relative to the FEHBP Standard Option, Medicare is slightly better for low-cost individuals ages 65 or older, but is notably less generous for moderate-cost individuals and somewhat less generous for high-cost individuals.
Source: pnhp.org

Tenet to pay $43M to settle Medicare fraud allegations

Tenet Healthcare Corporation will be forking over $42.75 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by overbilling Medicare for more than two years at 25 Tenet inpatient rehabilitation units, the U.S. Department of Justice said yesterday. It’s the single largest recovery pertaining to inappropriate admissions to inpatient rehabilitation facilities. The Dallas-based health system allegedly billed Medicare between May 15, 2005, and Dec. 31, 2007, for treating patients at its inpatient rehabilitation facilities when these patient stays did not meet the standards to qualify for an inpatient rehabilitation facility admission, the Justice Department said.
Source: fiercehealthcare.com

Tricare Help – Do Medicare

Neither Medicare nor Tricare require their beneficiaries to enroll in the Medicare Pharmacy Plan, Part D of Medicare. To the contrary, Medicare Part D is not recommended for Tricare for Life beneficiaries. The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs is on record for saying that the only Tricare beneficiaries likely to achieve any financial advantage from Medicare Part D enrollment are those whose incomes are below the federal poverty level and who qualify for financial aid to help pay their Medicare Part B premiums.
Source: militarytimes.com

Dad and Junior: A Wee Tale of Medicare Spending and Double Counting

Now, there are other things you can say about all this. You might be skeptical that Obamacare’s spending cuts will actually pan out. You might want to re-run the deficit numbers now that HHS has given up on the CLASS Act. You might believe that Obamacare is likely to cost more than anyone estimates right now. That’s all fine. Beyond that, you might, as Blahous does, worry that extending the life of the Medicare trust fund will lull everyone into complacency and delay an all-out effort to rein in Medicare spending. Or you could go further, as Blahous also does, and assume that without Obamacare we’d already be feverishly at work cutting back Medicare benefits. The fact that we aren’t therefore counts as additional spending and bigger deficits.
Source: motherjones.com

Take Care Clinics' Medicare wellness visits spell opportunity for retail clinics

That’s why it is important that Take Care Health Systems now is stepping up to the plate to offer these patients convenient access through its more than 360 clinic locations that have convenient hours and no requirement for an appointment. Clearly this is yet one more indication that retail-based health clinics — and the healthcare professionals that work in them — play a significant role in today’s healthcare system.
Source: drugstorenews.com

Why we need an improved Medicare

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

When I'm 64 by Muffet* Relative to the typical large employer PPO plan, Medicare provides somewhat more generous benefits for low-cost individuals ages 65 and older because of the relatively low Part B deductible for individuals who do not use inpatient care; however, Medicare is less generous than the typical large employer PPO plan for seniors with moderate and high costs. Similarly, relative to the FEHBP Standard Option, Medicare is slightly better for low-cost individuals ages 65 or older, but is notably less generous for moderate-cost individuals and somewhat less generous for high-cost individuals.
Source: pnhp.org

Video: Changes to Medicare Supplements – Plans M and N

Older retirees surprised to be in fresh TRICARE fight

However Defense Comptroller Robert Hale, who testified with Woodson last week, made a separate argument for TFL fees. When the fees are fully phased in, Hale said, a Medicare-eligible retiree and spouse would pay an additional $300 a year if their retired pay fell under Tier 1, and $900 more a year for retired couples under Tier 3. He urged Webb to compare that cost to $4,000 a year that the same couple would have to pay to buy a good Medigap insurance plan to replace TFL. Webb seemed unimpressed.
Source: standard.net

Why women (and men) with Medicare should know about shrinkage

2013: Three strikes and you’re out I’m writing this while listening to the Yankees play Tampa Bay on Opening Day, so I couldn’t resist the headline. Basically, what this means is that in 2013, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will alert plan members if their Medicare Part D drug plan or Advantage (Part C) health plan has failed for three years in a row to receive at least 3 out of 5 stars from CMS. If the plan has three strikes, CMS will offer a special enrollment period to allow those members to move to a higher quality plan.
Source: themeddiva.com

State Teachers Retirement…To Save or Not To Save

As with all situations there is never a hard fast rule for everyone, but in most cases for the employee it is what I call a “no brainer.”  The current premium in Ohio for the employee is $81/month.  The plan offered by STRS is the Aetna Medicare Plan (PPO) which is a group Medicare Advantage Plan.  The plan has a $500 deductible and a $1500 annual out of pocket maximum (which includes the deductible).  More importantly, the prescription drug plan does not have the infamous donut hole like Medicare Part D has.  So if you are a retired teacher, be very wary of “advisors” recommending you leave STRS to go on a Medicare Advantage plan on your own.  If you have already made this mistake, don’t worry because you may be able to get back on your STRS plan.  Just give them a call to find out what to do.  You may have to wait until the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) before you can get out of your current plan.
Source: wordpress.com

AmMed Direct fined $18M in bait

Federal authorities say Nashville-based AmMed ran a marketing scheme from 2008 through early 2010 through which it advertised free cookbooks, without any mention of Medicare supplies, to induce Medicare customers to call AmMed or its telemarketing sales team.
Source: jameshoyer.com