The Weed, Medicaid and Paul Ryan Edition

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

Uninsured Direct-Care Workers by Geographical Region, 2007-2009 by PHInational.orgYou refuted one of the Republican arguments concerning letting or not letting the Obamacare exchange come to Arkansas but you did not answer the other argument concerning our national debt exploding because of Obamacare. What is your answer to that? Milton Friedman said it best, “THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH.” Someone always paying in the end. By the way I really enjoyed the podcast. Keep up the good work. The Arkansas Times Blog is the best blog in the state because it always talking about the issues we are concerned about. I give Max a lot of credit for putting it together and you guys are doing a great job during his vacation.
Source: arktimes.com

Video: Medicaid Reform in AR Video 1

Arkansas: Arkansas Medicaid Eligibility Requirement

Days Inn was just recently refurnished. It has a hi-tech mantron that tells of its population ranging between 21 years to 60 years, Arkansas construction project? If you love swimming for example, you can access information at the Speedway include Street Stock, 4 Cylinder Championship, Mid-America Modifieds, SUPR Late Models, Modified Touring, Open Wheel Modifieds, Monster Trucks and much more. Ticket start at $10.00 for adults and $25.00 for a first DUI offense, you can start by getting quick auto insurance quotes gives you an opportunity to choose from a number of insurance coverage for bodily injury refers to coverage against the arkansas medicaid eligibility requirement from treatment expenses for the arkansas medicaid eligibility requirement of the arkansas medicaid eligibility requirement a distinct difference between the arkansas medicaid eligibility requirement of the arkansas medicaid eligibility requirement in the reasons why they should bother investing in land has a hi-tech mantron that tells of its story and history. The personal credit history is not active, he/she will be sure to bring back old memories.
Source: blogspot.com

Who Would Be Helped By A Medicaid Expansion?

“Our Medicaid program is the most restrictive for coverage of any other state in the nation except Alabama,” said state Surgeon General Joe Thompson. “To be on Medicaid in our state as an adult, if you’re not pregnant, you have to make as an individual less than $3,000 a year, have less than $2,000 in assets and have a chronic condition that lasts at least 12 months.
Source: talkbusiness.net

A Closer Look: How Neighboring States Are Assessing The Value of Medicaid Expansion

As millions of dollars come into a state through Medicaid expansion, those dollars generate state tax revenue which goes into the state’s General Fund to offset some of the state’s cost of expanding Medicaid coverage. (Even after 2021, the federal government pays $9 for every $1 a state spends on making Medicaid more accessible).
Source: mepconline.com

$6 Billion/Year for Medicaid in Arkansas

It was State Representative Jane English of North Little Rock who nailed it.  “I’m missing the discussion about how we move people away from Medicaid because they have better jobs,” the good representative said.  “It almost to me sounds like this is a long-term proposition that all of these people are forever and ever going to be on Medicaid.”  Rep. English was missing the conversation about better jobs, because the conservation about better jobs was missing.
Source: netsolhost.com

Medical Care group endorses Medicaid expansion

If we ever have a major disease output like the plague, the country is seriously at risk with 40% uninsured with no doctor relationship and the fact that the people in this country travel widely. It could be country-wide in 3 days, the length of time it takes for most biological ID tests to culture enough to be IDed. Someone who wanted to harm this country (maybe there is someone out there like that or we are wasting trillions on defense) could immobalize the country in a few days. Pick a few cross country routes I-95, I-55, I-25, I5, I-80, I-70, I-40, and I-20 and contaminate a few rest stops or fast food outlets and it would be everywhere. And the other good news is that we aren’t even ready for a major flu outbreak in the areas of respirators, ER space, or knowledgeable personnel. And the TPers want to continue to cut the FDA and CDC. We can only hope that the first to be attacked are our federal reps but unfortunately, they have this very good “socialized” medical program that isn’t good enough for the rest of the country. And why haven’t they given up their medical coverage for the good of the budget?? And that included your TriCare, Timmy Griffin?
Source: arktimes.com

Plurality in Arkansas Don’t Want Medicaid to be Expanded

Q: One component of the health care reform law involves an expansion of Medicaid to cover medical expenses for individuals living just above the poverty level. The expansion would be fully funded for several years by the federal government with the state incurring up to 10% of the cost later. Under the Supreme Court ruling, Arkansas has the choice whether or not to expand its Medicaid program to include an additional 250,000 Arkansas residents. Should Arkansas expand Medicaid?
Source: firedoglake.com

Arkansas Medicaid to Get $4 Million in Settlement Over Price Inflation

 All Cities  Arkadelphia  Bella Vista  Benton  Bentonville  Blytheville  Cabot  Conway  El Dorado  Fayetteville  Forrest City  Fort Smith  Harrison  Hope  Hot Springs National Park  Jacksonville  Jonesboro  Little Rock  Mountain Home  North Little Rock  Paragould  Pine Bluff  Rogers  Russellville  Searcy  Sherwood  Siloam Springs  Springdale  Texarkana  Van Buren  West Memphis  White Hall
Source: arkansasbusiness.com

ARRA News Service: Arkansas Medicaid Crisis Looms Despite $1 Billion In Stimulus Funds

There are 41 categories in the “health and human services category,” with three Medicaid-related programs awarded most of the amount, nearly $782 million. One “Medical Assistance Program” was awarded $318,917,521, the largest amount designated to any categorical. The description lists one objective of the program as follows: “To protect and maintain State Medicaid programs during a period of economic downturn, including by helping to avert cuts to provider payment rates and benefits or services, and to prevent constrictions of income eligibility requirements for such programs, but not to promote increases in such requirements.” Two additional programs designate an additional $227,066,000 and $234,790,947 in stimulus funding for similar Medicaid-related programs. Arkansas officials have not explained how they will identify the unfunded liabilities of Medicaid programs or continue spending at current levels when the stimulus ends.
Source: blogspot.com

Arkansas says Medicaid expansion saves $372 million. Let’s break down those numbers.

ACH12-Distribution ACH19-ValueforMoney AHC5-GovernmentRole AHC13-PovertyandHealth Entitlement Reform International Comparisons NN11-Personal-News NN18-Conferences-Meetings NN19-Books NN20-Articles-Papers NN21-Grey-Literature NN25-Videocasts NN27-Blogs PPACA-Constutionality PPACA-EssentialBenefits PPACA-HealthExchanges PPACA-Impact-Access PPACA-Impact-Consumers PPACA-Impact-Costs PPACA-Impact-Employers PPACA-Impact-HealthInsurers PPACA-Impact-HealthProfessionals PPACA-Impact-States PPACA-Medicaid PPACA-Medicare PPACA-PublicOpinion PPACA-Repeal Regulation-FDA Regulation-HealthFacilities UHC12-2012
Source: wordpress.com

Your Health Care: Understanding Medicare & Medicaid

Navigating the health care system can be challenging for anyone, but for the more than 9 million people who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, it can be especially difficult.   Medicare and Medicaid have similar names but are actually very different programs. People who are eligible for both, known as “dual eligibles,” must understand the differences in eligibility requirements and coverage details in order to access the health care services that are available to them. This is especially important for the 60 percent of dual eligibles who suffer from multiple chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Getting the health care coverage they need to appropriately manage their conditions is critical to their well-being.   The 118,000 dual eligibles in Arkansas and their caregivers should take the following steps to help simplify their health care experience and get the best care available.   1. Understand the differences in coverage and eligibility between Medicare and Medicaid.   Medicare is a program managed by the federal government that provides health care benefits to people age 65 and older and disabled individuals. Medicare covers medical care services such as physician visits, hospital stays and prescription drug costs.   Medicaid is a health care benefits program managed by the Arkansas state government. Unlike Medicare, each state sets its own guidelines regarding Medicaid eligibility and services. For those enrolled, Medicaid pays for most long-term care as well as Medicare deductibles, co-payments and other health care costs that beneficiaries would otherwise pay for out of pocket.   2.  Explore health care options in Arkansas that provide adequate support for dual eligibles.   For dual eligibles, the coordination of benefits between Medicare and Medicaid can be confusing, as beneficiaries typically have separate membership cards and different points of contact for their benefits questions. One option to address this challenge that has risen to the forefront of Arkansas efforts in recent years is what’s known as a Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan.   Offered by private companies, these plans can be chosen in place of traditional Medicare. Special Needs Plans support dual-eligible individuals by serving as a single entity that coordinates all aspects of care. These plans focus on the unique needs of dual eligibles, offering customized care and support to manage their complex health care needs. Specialized services available with Special Needs Plans may include in-home visits, social support services and help when transitioning home from the hospital.
Source: thecitywire.com

NY Times: Don’t Believe Republicans on Medicare

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

When I went to the hospital that morning with severe chest pain they immediately ruled out a stroke or heart attack but kept me for three days of stress tests that finally cost $33K.  They saw I had Medicare with supplemental and they had the machines and doctors ready to go.  After passing several tests I called my Gastroenterologist who performed an esophagus scan which revealed I had an infection in my esophagus period. Just take these antibiotics.   The hospital kept me for another day so they could use every machine they had.  After threatening to escape out the window they finally released me.  While I’m thankful I passed the tests it pisses me off they were able to spend that much Medicare money  with no regulation.  They had to know I didn’t need all those expensive tests.
Source: talkleft.com

Video: EHR: Medicare Incentive Program Attestation Webinar for Eligible Professionals

Why Medicare Reform Is So Difficult

But it’s certainly true that a reform plan that started immediately would be far more effective, that seniors often seem deluded about the value of the contributions versus their benefits, and that the majority of politicians in both parties have proven stubbornly unwilling to prepare the public for the challenges of reform. President Obama sells ObamaCare on the argument that it strengthens the Medicare trust fund without mentioning that it only does so if you double count the Medicare savings. Romney is running an evasive and sketchy Medicare reform proposal as well as an explicit promise to repeal the Medicare cuts in ObamaCare. This suggests how challenging it would be to introduce a reform plan that, as Drum says, makes current beneficiaries share the pain. And given Medicare’s size and place in the budget firmament, it is not an equilibrium that bodes well for the federal government’s long term fiscal health. 
Source: reason.com

The Definitive Guide to the Medicare Debate

Very, very distant future generations who are always going to turn out to be a little bit further out in the future than they were last time. It seriously blows my mind that the Ryan budget which is supposed to be so hardcore and deficit-hawkish doesn’t try to balance the budget until 2040 but was still taken seriously. Why do people fall for this from the Republicans again and again and again? Guess what they were promising thirty years ago – that they were the party of small government because "government is living too well" and the number 1 priority would be to reign in the apocalyptic insanity of our national debt, which we all need to be terrified of, and balance the budget if the American people would just turn over power to them. (Well, technically as far as priorities Reagan said that "true peace is our dream", but that’s even more laughable.) And now, and continuously over the last three decades, they say "Well shucks, guys, we could swing getting Mitt Romney’s taxes down to 13% and deregulating the banking system so that our financial apparatus could play the economy like a pinball machine, but we just weren’t quite able to manage the whole balancing the budget thing or reducing the national debt, much less the deficit, this time around. But we are totally the party of fiscal responsibility and small government and all that. You betcha." And the conservative base just laps it up and signs up for more and seems to unskeptically believe that it’s not that they’re being used and the Republican establishment doesn’t actually give a crap at all about reducing the budget or any of the other "little people" concerns that are used to stoke the base up and get them to vote as needed, it’s just all those nasty Democrats’ fault. And you can have things like this, the guy who promises to balance the budget thirty years in the future and cross my heart this time we are totally going to do it for realz and not at all putting it so far in the future so that we can just blame it on any handy thing the Democrats do in the intervening three decades when it doesn’t actually come to fruition. And they still cheer for him. Not that I think either party in a two-party system is going to be fundamentally different and less manipulative than that in the end, it’s just so ridiculous that the Republicans can pull the exact same trick again and again and again and it’s like their voters are all infants with no object permanence or something.
Source: metafilter.com

Insurance Exchanges Are Useless at Controlling Costs

A sobering message is inescapable: although exchanges will help greatly to cover previously uninsured people, cost containment and quality improvements are not outcomes to be expected from the exchanges alone. The experience of Switzerland and the Netherlands suggests that reforms involving the provision and purchasing of health care are needed along with health insurance exchanges. Massachusetts, which established the first exchange in the United States, recognizes this lesson. Continuing in this direction, just 3 weeks ago (on July 31), the Massachusetts legislature passed a bill that establishes a commission to monitor the growth in health care costs, creating incentives for hospitals and other providers to reduce costs, and encourages the creation of accountable care organizations.
Source: firedoglake.com

Booman Tribune ~ Don’t Freak Out

Whether or not a hurricane disrupts the Republican National Convention, we should expect Romney to get a bump out of it in the polls. He has enjoyed some narrow improvement in his standing since he announced Paul Ryan as his running mate, despite an almost uninterrupted amount of bad news on the campaign trail. I expect us all to grow quite nervous as we see the post-convention poll numbers. But try not to freak out. The Democratic convention will follow immediately after the Republican one, and we will have a star-studded list of speakers who will vastly outshine the grifters and lunatics that will be on display in Tampa. The polls should return to the status quo ante.
Source: boomantribune.com

Romney aides admit, anyone over 55 will get their medicare benefits cut

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Source: dailypaul.com

Medicare Costs Too Much, So Let’s Make Private Payers Make Up the Difference

That’s the problem facing health policy bureaucrats in Maryland, which has one of the most thorough sets of health care price controls in the nation. The system is known as “all-payer,” in which the state’s Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) sets payment rates for, you guessed it, all payers that reimburse the state’s non-profit hospital system — including private insurers.
Source: reason.com

Couldn’t it be better?: Romney on Medicare

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

Hubert Humphrey and Wilbur Cohen by National Institutes of Health LibraryWhat a mess. Imagine that you are a Medicare provider. You’ve already billed Medicare and received your payment. You’ve billed the patient. And because senior citizens are such great bookkeepers, you’ve received the patient’s portion and closed the claim. Along comes an additional check from Medicare for $12.00. You have to reopen that claim and balance bill the patient, who will be mighty angry not only at Medicare, but you, the provider, too. Meanwhile, the cost of doing Medicare patients just went up, billing department salaries and bookkeeping isn’t free or cheap. Thanks, President Romney, but no thanks. The amount that the government reimburses on Medicare claims are some of the lowest reimbursements in the land. Most private insurance reimbursements are calculated by adding a percentage onto Medicare rates. Most private insurers would be laughed right out of a sales meeting if they offered pure Medicare rates for claim reimbursements, nevertheless this is what a physician or hospital gets paid for seeing a senior. This is the reason that some physicians choose not to see Medicare patients. Why do the same procedure for $40 when you can do it for $100? And fewer doctors willing to handle Medicare patients is the reasoning behind Romney wanting to return the Medicare reimbursements to the providers; a valid point, but a bit more research would have revealed that maybe this is something that shouldn’t be done retroactively. Couldn’t it be better?
Source: blogspot.com

Video: Paul Ryan — Insider Trading and Attack on Medicare

Bill Moyers: The Case for Medicare

And there’s no going back, current efforts notwithstanding. A new study in the journal Health Affairs finds that Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older are more satisfied with their health insurance, have better access to care, and are less likely to have problems paying medical bills than working-age adults who get insurance through employers or purchase coverage on their own.
Source: truthdig.com

Medicare Supplement Insurance Price Games

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

MORE DIRTY TRICKS FROM YOUR SOCIALIST/MARXIST   PRESIDENT AND HIS NASTY LITTLE ADMINISTRATION HACKS by SS&SSYou can partially point back to AARP s original pricing over the past decade. Essentially, AARP would offer a sliding scale discount for new enrollees age 65. The first year might be 30 lower than the eventual price and this percentage would decrease over a period of time. Medicare is confusing enough to someone brand new to it so a new enrollee doesn t necessarily know how this discounted rate works. He or she just sees a rate that is 30 lower than the competitors for essentially the same level of coverage. There are two ways to look at this. One hand, you can say that AARP is providing a discount to new enrollees which they can take advantage of. Or, depending on how their rates match up with competitors 5 years years later (when the discount disappears), it smacks of a bait and switch. We re not here to cast judgement but want people who are comparing medicare supplement insurance rates to not only look at the rate now (presumably at age 65) but over the other age bands. If the rates accellerate as you get older relative to the competition, it s probably not a good deal. Keep in mind that you have a open enrollment window at age 65 (or when leaving group coverage in addition to a few others) so once you ve made a decision, it might be difficult to switch medigap plans later on if health changes. If your discounted medigap plan starts to go up at a faster clip than the other plans in later years, you may be stuck depending on your health. That s the real issue with the discounted rate. That discounted money has to come from somewhere and it s usually recouped on the back end since the underlying risk is the same.
Source: theauthorplace.com

Video: Understanding Medicare Supplemental Insurance

Meeting Your Health Care Needs With Medicare Supplemental Insurance

The question remains though of how do you find out which Medicare supplemental policy will meet your needs while being cost effective on covering the extra expenses.  Finding the information you need to help you make a decision about the policy and coverage best suited for you is very important.  If you end up making the wrong decision about the coverage you choose you might find that you are not covered when you really need it.  Thankfully there are companies available online that help you compare rates, view policy information and insurance companies without providing personal information.
Source: seniorhealthdirect.com

In addition to medicare what supplemental health care insurance policy is the best?

A Medicare Supplement is accepted by any doctor that accepts Medicare anywhere in the U.S. It covers everything that Medicare covers. Plan F is the most comprehensive and purchased by the most people. Plan G would be next, covering everything that Plan F covers except for the Medicare Part B deductible ($140 in 2012). Supplements do not have drug coverage; you must purchase a separate stand alone drug plan. You can be declined acceptance if you have pre-existing conditions depending on the situation.
Source: insurance-center.org

Why You Need Supplemental Insurance with Medicare

A Medigap policy is there to help you take care of out of pocket medical expenses. A monthly premium is charged based on your location, age and health. To receive Medigap you must me enrolled currently in the Medicare A and B. You must make sure you buy the right product which is labeled “Medicare Supplemental Insurance” and you should enroll in it when you turn 65. The program has to accept you and they can’t turn you down for preexisting conditions. They also cannot charge you more money for health issue now or in the past.
Source: seniorcorps.org

Low cognitive ability impairs enrollment in Medicare supplemental plans

Because traditional Medicare leaves substantial gaps in coverage, many people obtain supplemental coverage to limit their exposure to out-of-pocket costs. However, some Medicare beneficiaries may not be well equipped to navigate the complex supplemental coverage landscape successfully because of their lower cognitive ability or numeracy—that is, the ability to work with numbers. We found that people in the lower third of the cognitive ability and numeracy distributions were at least eleven percentage points less likely than those in the upper third to enroll in a supplemental Medicare insurance plan. This result means that many Medicare beneficiaries do not have the financial protections and other benefits that would be available to them if they were enrolled in a supplemental insurance plan. Our findings suggest that policy makers may want to consider alternatives tailored to these high-need groups, such as enhanced education and enrollment programs, simpler sets of plan choices, or even some type of automatic enrollment with an option to decline coverage.
Source: pnhp.org

Ritter Insurance Marketing to Offer Aflac Medicare Supplement for Independent Agents

Violin Flash Memory Arrays Deliver Industry Leading Performance to Accelerate Virtualized Environments eGroup Named to Inc. 5000 List of Fastest Growing Private Companies H&R Block Announces 200th Consecutive Quarterly Dividend Chesswood Renews Normal Course Issuer Bid Denver-Based Dyer & Berens LLP Files Class Action Lawsuit on Behalf of Investors Who Purchased Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. Common Stock Between 2/1/12 and 7/19/12; Announces Investor Deadline (CMG) Sonor Investments Limited Reports Second Quarter Financial Results
Source: nearshorejournal.com

Compare Quotes on Medicare Supplement Insurance

Each plan, A through L, has a different set of benefits. Each insurance company decides for itself which of the A through L policies it wants to sell. An insurance company must, however, sell plan A if it sells any other Medicare supplement insurance plan. The benefits in plans A through L vary, but they are the same for any insurance company. That is, plan A has a different set of benefits from plan B, but plan A has the same benefits no matter who sells it. However, different insurance companies can charge different premiums. So, while plan A has the same benefits no matter who sells it, different insurance companies can charge different premiums for a plan A policy.
Source: org.uk

Medicare Supplement Insurance Price Games

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

MORE DIRTY TRICKS FROM YOUR SOCIALIST/MARXIST   PRESIDENT AND HIS NASTY LITTLE ADMINISTRATION HACKS by SS&SSYou can partially point back to AARP s original pricing over the past decade. Essentially, AARP would offer a sliding scale discount for new enrollees age 65. The first year might be 30 lower than the eventual price and this percentage would decrease over a period of time. Medicare is confusing enough to someone brand new to it so a new enrollee doesn t necessarily know how this discounted rate works. He or she just sees a rate that is 30 lower than the competitors for essentially the same level of coverage. There are two ways to look at this. One hand, you can say that AARP is providing a discount to new enrollees which they can take advantage of. Or, depending on how their rates match up with competitors 5 years years later (when the discount disappears), it smacks of a bait and switch. We re not here to cast judgement but want people who are comparing medicare supplement insurance rates to not only look at the rate now (presumably at age 65) but over the other age bands. If the rates accellerate as you get older relative to the competition, it s probably not a good deal. Keep in mind that you have a open enrollment window at age 65 (or when leaving group coverage in addition to a few others) so once you ve made a decision, it might be difficult to switch medigap plans later on if health changes. If your discounted medigap plan starts to go up at a faster clip than the other plans in later years, you may be stuck depending on your health. That s the real issue with the discounted rate. That discounted money has to come from somewhere and it s usually recouped on the back end since the underlying risk is the same.
Source: theauthorplace.com

Video: Affordable Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans & Health Benefits

Low cognitive ability impairs enrollment in Medicare supplemental plans

Because traditional Medicare leaves substantial gaps in coverage, many people obtain supplemental coverage to limit their exposure to out-of-pocket costs. However, some Medicare beneficiaries may not be well equipped to navigate the complex supplemental coverage landscape successfully because of their lower cognitive ability or numeracy—that is, the ability to work with numbers. We found that people in the lower third of the cognitive ability and numeracy distributions were at least eleven percentage points less likely than those in the upper third to enroll in a supplemental Medicare insurance plan. This result means that many Medicare beneficiaries do not have the financial protections and other benefits that would be available to them if they were enrolled in a supplemental insurance plan. Our findings suggest that policy makers may want to consider alternatives tailored to these high-need groups, such as enhanced education and enrollment programs, simpler sets of plan choices, or even some type of automatic enrollment with an option to decline coverage.
Source: pnhp.org

What Are The Reasons For Medicare Supplement Insurance Coverage?

Medicare Part A helps with general inpatient needs, but Medicare B is often needed for services Part A leaves out. Medicare supplement insurance coverage through Part B requires a premium and deductible. Most people sign up for this plan because it offers emergency room visits, preventative care, outpatient services, equipment and more. Part B also makes you eligible to sign up for other supplemental care.
Source: seniorcorps.org

In addition to medicare what supplemental health care insurance policy is the best?

A Medicare Supplement is accepted by any doctor that accepts Medicare anywhere in the U.S. It covers everything that Medicare covers. Plan F is the most comprehensive and purchased by the most people. Plan G would be next, covering everything that Plan F covers except for the Medicare Part B deductible ($140 in 2012). Supplements do not have drug coverage; you must purchase a separate stand alone drug plan. You can be declined acceptance if you have pre-existing conditions depending on the situation.
Source: insurance-center.org

Compare Quotes on Medicare Supplement Insurance

Each plan, A through L, has a different set of benefits. Each insurance company decides for itself which of the A through L policies it wants to sell. An insurance company must, however, sell plan A if it sells any other Medicare supplement insurance plan. The benefits in plans A through L vary, but they are the same for any insurance company. That is, plan A has a different set of benefits from plan B, but plan A has the same benefits no matter who sells it. However, different insurance companies can charge different premiums. So, while plan A has the same benefits no matter who sells it, different insurance companies can charge different premiums for a plan A policy.
Source: org.uk

Compare Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans and View Rates Online

Health insurance is a maze. It is often hard to maneuver and completely understand the ins and outs. With Medicare and available supplemental plans there are many online comparisons available to help individuals select a plan that will work with their situation. Many times people want information on paper and then seek out assistance from an advisor who is able to help them compare the plans and rates with real life examples and situations. These advisors have one sole purpose and that is to match the right Medicare supplement policy at the right price with Medicare eligible participants. To them the company that the individual purchase the policy from is not as big of an issue and they can help you see through the glitz of private insurance companies and keep the focus on coverage and rates. Source: professional-article-marketing.com
Source: medicaresupplementalco.com

Medicare Supplement plans to receive rebates

[…] Independent agent for health and life insurance in northern California. CA LIC. 0H12644. Focusing on families, individuals, self employed and small business. Representing several insurance carriers including Medicare Advantage and Part D Plans. Life insurance, final expence and funeral trusts. My pledge to my clients: 1. I respect your time and decisions. 2. I will not try to sell you something you do not want or need. 3. I will not call you after 5pm unless you ask me to.Source: insuremekevin.com […]
Source: insuremekevin.com

All Hell Hath Broken Loose

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

Joe the Plumber - To Flush The System ...More scams aim to ensnare Brevard seniors - Their ingenuity is boundless, Archer said. (Jul 2, 2012) ... by marsmet524There are a couple of key pieces of information that we need to know more about. First, within a given county, how much does the Medicare Advantage payment for a particular person vary based on that individual’s risk score? Second, how does the average of Medicare Advantage spending per person in a particular county compare to average per person spending for standard Medicare in that same county? Most Medicare Advantage insurers compete in some states but not others and within a state where they sell policies, they may serve some counties but not others depending on how well built out their network is and other factors. So, to take an extreme example, if a Medicare Advantage insurer is selling policies in high cost Miami-Dade County in FL, its payments from Medicare and its spending on medical claims could be less than standard Medicare spending per person in that county even assuming risk scores are comparable on average but both standard Medicare and MA would be spending well above the average cost of Medicare per person across the entire country. There is a lot of room to mislead and obfuscate numbers on this issue. I don’t know whether or not the supposed premium above standard Medicare that MA advantage insurers are receiving is in comparison to average spending across the entire country or whether it’s a county by county calculation. Maybe one of the other blog readers can explain it to both of us.
Source: thehealthcareblog.com

Video: Seniors Health Care Town Hall

Daily Kos: Why do Republicans think only seniors deserve health care?

It may be true that many seniors will need the input of people with detailed, expert knowledge of the specifics, the limits and burdens, of access and eligibility to long-term care, including Medicaid.  But I will suggest that seniors don’t need some young person lecturing them that Medicaid is the backstop funder of long-term care, they live in that world every day in their lives, themselves, their spouses, siblings, parents(!) and peers.  Further, I’d suggest  it is bad politics to treat the segment of the public most likely to vote with naked contempt.  I realize mass American culture simply doesn’t DO respect for the elderly, but societies all over the world that do so have somehow managed to endure, even thrive.  Imagine that.  (Now you can ignore my senile, incoherent sputterings and boot up the latest GTA release or whatever.)
Source: dailykos.com

Protecting Seniors from Summer Heat

Seniors living at home may not think they are at risk. They may also set their air conditioning to a higher temperature inside their homes to save on energy costs. Or fail to turn on their window units. It’s important for those caring for home-bound seniors to explain the reasons seniors should be using their air conditioning, if they have it, and/or help them find air conditioned places to rest in, if they don’t.
Source: wordpress.com

Meeting Your Health Care Needs With Medicare Supplemental Insurance

The question remains though of how do you find out which Medicare supplemental policy will meet your needs while being cost effective on covering the extra expenses.  Finding the information you need to help you make a decision about the policy and coverage best suited for you is very important.  If you end up making the wrong decision about the coverage you choose you might find that you are not covered when you really need it.  Thankfully there are companies available online that help you compare rates, view policy information and insurance companies without providing personal information.
Source: seniorhealthdirect.com

Senior Care in Pembroke, MA

As individuals age, the need for assistance tends to grow, often in accordance to health problems that progressively worsen or multiply. While nursing homes are often the traditional solution for many elder care problems, home care is another option that often allows the senior to remain in their home and maintain a sense of independence, privacy and dignity. However, as with any other solutions, keeping the senior at home requires some advance planning.
Source: hahnhomehealthcare.com

Apollo Munich Health Insurance launches Optima Senior

Q: Dear Sir, I have been investing and trading in stocks & derivatives as an Individual for some years now – operating with a 3-in-1 account with the HDFC Bank. Since I am now onto this work on a full time basis and it has become my business I got a Proprietorship (Financial services) firm registered with the registrar of companies. I then proceeded to open a Current Account (as Cos can only operate under a current account) with the same Bank – asking them to open a new 3-in-1 account in the name of the Company – thinking that I could operate my stock trading business under the name of the new Co., and subsequently close my individual account with them. But, though the Bank opened the Current Account in the name of the Company, they told me that they cannot open a Demat / Trading Account of a Proprietership Company. Things are at a standstill – even as I continue with the Individual Account. Could you kindly clarify this issue… on what is the actual rule or law on this subject.? Is the Bank right in saying that they cannot open a Demat/Trading account in the name of a Proprietorship Company. If the Bank is right… what is the way out for me.? I wanted to offer financial services / sub-broking / sale of mutual fund/ Insurance etc and at the same time do Investing & Trading in the name of the Company? Thanks and Regards Azaad
Source: moneylife.in

Center for American Progress

What’s more, private plans could “cherry pick” healthier seniors, driving up premiums for those who remain in traditional Medicare. And private plans would be able to undercut traditional Medicare in other ways, such as by offering free gym memberships or other perks. As a result more and more seniors would gradually shift to private plans over time. This gradual privatization of Medicare does not make sense because traditional Medicare costs less than comparable private coverage. But with fewer beneficiaries Medicare would have less leverage to contain the growth in health care costs.
Source: americanprogress.org

Daily Kos: Romney/Ryan will raise Medicare eligibility age for current seniors

If the increases in eligibility age are raised now because of the fiscal “crisis” and those under 55 are supposed to be dumped altogether, what guarantee is being offered that a further “crisis” caused by counter-productive Republican policies won’t prompt them to reduce eligibility further?  If their solution hastily offered now is to cut eligibility, why would that not be their preferred option during the next manufactured “crisis?”  The Republicans have already let it be known that they will never look at increasing revenues through upward changes in the tax rates, so any total revenue increases must come disproportionately from increases in the national economy, except they’ll have already cut taxes further reducing revenues.  Why should they get a third shot at dynamic scoring for revenue increases when the prior experiments under Reagan failed and Bush II totally cratered the economy?  
Source: dailykos.com

Health Insurance Medicare Medicaid: The Basics Every Senior Should Understand

Medicare offers some of the best coverage available for senior citizens to take advantage of when seeking to improve or maintain health. There are different plans incorporated into this program so understanding what you qualify for can assist you in maximizing your coverage opportunities. When you are looking to identify coverage with will assist with inpatient care at hospitals, hospice care services, inpatient care through nursing facilities, or home care, the options of Medicare Part A will cover you. When seeking coverage to maintain positive health through resources like outpatient care or doctor’s services then the opportunities of Medicare Part B will provide coverage.
Source: seniorcorps.org

What the YMCA Offers Seniors

You can have variety in your workouts; they don’t always have to be on the circuit or in the cardio room. They have many programs to fit everyone’s needs. They really encourage you and help you find what works for you. They offer a variety of classes and most are free with your membership. For some classes a small fee is required. There are group exercise programs if you like working out with your friends or making new friends. They offer low impact cardio, strength cardio, yoga, cycle/spin classes, flexibility and a whole lot more. They also have water exercise which is a great way to workout without impact or harmful effects to your joints and muscles. They offer both indoor pools and outdoor pools during the summers.
Source: seniorhealthmemos.com

Romney Vow To Restore Medicare Funding Raises Tough Fiscal Issues; GOP Platform Adds Revamping Of Medicare

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

RS3J7689 by Miller_CenterCNN Money: Medicare: Private Insurers Not Always Cheaper The Republicans’ proposal to increase the role of private insurers in Medicare has sparked a debate as to whether it can actually lower the cost of care. Many experts say Medicare Advantage hasn’t produced the expected savings. Proponents of private plans, however, say that increasing competition will drive down costs even more. Medicare was opened up to the private market in the 1970s with the idea that insurers could provide benefits more efficiently and cheaply. Enrollment didn’t really start taking off until 2006 though. That’s when the Medicare prescription drug plan was rolled out (Luhby, 8/22).
Source: kaiserhealthnews.org

Video: What is a Medicare health insurance exchange?

The Delusions in Ryan's Medicare Vision

But the likelihood that Americans born in 1957 or after are going to accept a two-class deal in which they have to pay for older peoples’ generous benefits while expecting far less for themselves is about zero. As time goes on, there will be progressively more voters born after 1957 and fewer born before. Thus, the politically numerous would either demand that older Americans’ Medicare benefits be dragged down to their promised levels or that the whole voucher business be dropped. And who could blame them?
Source: realclearpolitics.com

A Quick Visit Back to the Medicare Dust Up

…it’s possible that the private plans are cheaper because they really do offer the same benefits at a lower cost. It’s also possible that the private plans are cheaper because the insurers are very good at attracting the best risks—that is, the healthiest seniors least likely to run up medical bills—or because they don’t also subsidize other parts of our health care system, such as medical education. In effect, they may be gaming the system. At this point, we really don’t know which answer is correct, although it’s entirely possible all three are true, to an extent.
Source: jaredbernsteinblog.com

Brad DeLong: David Cutler: Hey Republicans! Stop Misusing My Medicare Study!

The Harvard researchers looked at the (limited and constricted) private-plan option already operating in Medicare today—a program called Medicare Advantage … and found that, on average, the Medicare Advantage plans cost far, far less than federally run fee-for-service Medicare. This is the opposite of what Democrats were saying a year ago. Then, they were touting a Congressional Budget Office study that estimated the private plans offered to Medicare beneficiaries in the system Ryan envisions would cost much more than traditional fee-for-service Medicare, and thus require higher premiums—$6,400 higher in 2022—to be paid by beneficiaries. This new study shows otherwise, and proves the very point that champions of premium support have been making for years.
Source: typepad.com

Is Medicare in a debt crisis? Does Medicare need to be reformed?

• An increasing proportion of doctors are already not accepting Medicare patients. A 2008 report by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, an independent federal panel, said that 29 percent of its beneficiaries who were looking for a primary care doctor had a problem finding one. A 2008 survey by the Texas Medical Association that found that only 58 percent of the state’s doctors accepted new Medicare patients, and only 38 percent of primary care doctors did, a number shrinking due to government- decreed payment that is lower than cost. In the 2008 HSC national tracking survey, more than 20 percent of primary care doctors accepted no new Medicare patients (only 4.5 percent accepted no new privately insured patients) and about 40 percent of primary care doctors and 20 percent of specialists refused most new Medicare patients.
Source: wordpress.com

Center for American Progress Action Fund

The House Republican premium support plan would adjust the voucher for health status—redistributing payments from plans with healthier enrollees to plans with less healthy enrollees. This “risk adjustment” mechanism would certainly help, but current risk-adjustment methods are still far from perfect. Current methods tend to overpay plans with healthier enrollees and underpay plans with less healthy enrollees. As a result, premiums for traditional Medicare would likely rise and enrollment would likely decline over time. This outcome is even more likely because the House Republican premium support plan would not require private plans to provide a standard set of benefits—allowing them to design benefits that attract healthier beneficiaries.
Source: americanprogressaction.org

Center for American Progress

What’s more, private plans could “cherry pick” healthier seniors, driving up premiums for those who remain in traditional Medicare. And private plans would be able to undercut traditional Medicare in other ways, such as by offering free gym memberships or other perks. As a result more and more seniors would gradually shift to private plans over time. This gradual privatization of Medicare does not make sense because traditional Medicare costs less than comparable private coverage. But with fewer beneficiaries Medicare would have less leverage to contain the growth in health care costs.
Source: americanprogress.org

Cutting Waste and Fraud Is Not a Medicare Reform Proposal

obama plans to kill off the old as fast as possible so naturally he has no plan for Medicare. I listened to Ryan today and like his plans. At least he has a plan, unlike obama who is so arrogant we are not allowed to question him. Medicare does need to be revamped and protected for people the age of my children. We put that money there and it was never to be in the general fund much less stolen from to start a new agenda. Without our permission that money should not be touched. This is just like if a bank took what you had out of savings and told you they would spend it wiser than we would. obama should be prosecuted for this alone not to mention the other hundred reasons. Unseal his records Congress and do your job to get rid of this traitor, muslium, foreigner you let in office.
Source: redalertpolitics.com

McMahon and Murphy Tangle Over Medicare, Jobs 

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

Rogue Magazine (October 1964)  Volume 9 Number 5 - Water Balloons ...item 1.. routinely use devious devices -- wears us down like rabid trial lawyers until we give in (August 15, 2011 / 15 Av 5771) ... by marsmet542Ann-Marie Adams Attorney General Bank of America Census 2010 Census 2010 and Hartford Commentary Congressional Black Caucus Dan Malloy Education FOODSHARE foreclosure gas prices Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Gov. Jodi Rell green jobs Hartford Hartford City Council Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra Hartford Police Hartford Public Library Hartford Public Schools Hartford Shooting Health homicide Housing Jamaica jr. latinos Mayor Eddie Perez Mayor Eddie Perez on Trial Mayor Pedro Segarra Michelle Obama police Police Arrests President Barack Obama Race and Culture recession Snow Storm in CT Tea Party The Hartford Guardian Uconn Huskies unemployment WeekEnd Movie Review Wells Fargo Youth
Source: thehartfordguardian.com

Video: DeFazio on saving Social Security/Medicare and creating jobs

GOP News: DNC Money Troubles, Obama Killing Coal and Jobs, Dems’ Medicare cuts

The EPA’s Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) Requires Coal And Oil Fired Power Plants To Reduce Pollutant Emissions By Requiring Lower Mercury And Other Toxic Emissions. “That change, called the Maximum Achievable Control Technology, or MACT, rule requires that coal- and oil-fired power plants reduce pollutant emission rates significantly. The rule, which operates under the Clean Air Act, does not stipulate a lower level of carbon output. But by requiring lower mercury and other toxic emissions, it would reduce carbon as well.” (Lisa Desjardins, “The War Over Coal Is Personal,” CNN, 7/17/12)
Source: wordpress.com

Ryan Takes to Pennsylvania to Push Medicare Message

Mr. Ryan was extrapolating from a 2010 report from Medicare’s Office of the Actuary. It analyzed the potential impact of lower premium supports paid to private companies that issue Medicare Advantage plans, popular alternatives to traditional Medicare with extra benefits such as gym memberships. To slow the growth of Medicare spending, the Affordable Care Act reduces support for the private plans, which Democrats consider inefficient. Beneficiaries would still be covered under traditional Medicare.
Source: nytimes.com

A View From The Field: How Medicare Is Playing In Congressional, Senate Races

Medpage Today: Health Care Key In Wisconsin Senate Race In the Badger State on Tuesday, former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson won 34 percent of the vote to defeat three challengers in the Republican Senate primary. Thompson, who served as HHS secretary from early 2001 to January 2005 under President George W. Bush, ran on a platform of repealing the ACA and replacing it with market-based solutions. … However, Thompson angered conservative voters in the state by openly supporting the law’s individual mandate before running for the Senate seat. The views of Thompson and his Democratic opponent, 6-term congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, on the ACA will be a deciding factor for Wisconsin voters in November, Dennis Dresang, PhD, political science professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told MedPage Today (Pittman, 8/15).
Source: kaiserhealthnews.org

NH Labor News 8/22/12: Prison Privatization Update, Voter ID, Medicare, RTW for Less, and Minimum Wage

The New Hampshire Labor News is a group of NH Workers who believe that we need to protect ourselves against the attacks on workers from the State and Federal Government. We are proud union members who are working to preserve the middle class. The NHLN Talks mostly about news and politics from NH. We also talk about National issues that effect working men and women here in the Granite State.
Source: nhlabornews.com

The real debate: Who should pay if providers fail to curb Medicare costs

In the long run failing to curb the costs of the healthcare system will hurt everyone as tax revenue and future wage increases are siphoned to pay for it. Under the Republican plan, dubbed premium support,  the onus for cutting costs is placed primarily on individuals. Newly retired seniors, sometime early in the next decade, will be offered a fixed voucher to pay for either a private insurance plan or to cover the cost of traditional Medicare, which will remain as a public option to compete with private plans.
Source: massdevice.com

Older Americans Have Been Highly Resistant to Medicare Changes

The income gap among Republicans and Republican leaners is about as large as the difference between GOP supporters of the Tea Party and non-supporters. Among Republicans and Republican leaners who agree with the Tea Party, 57% view deficit reduction as more important than preserving Social Security and Medicare benefits as they are. Among Republicans and leaners who do not agree with the Tea Party, just 36% say that reducing the deficit is more important than maintaining benefits.
Source: people-press.org

#NVSen: Obama, Berkley: Cutting Medicare, Crushing Debt… Berkley Stands Behind Obama’s Policies

A former U.S.Marine, he is the Creator of The Minority Report Network. He is also the Founder and Managing Editor of the Network’s flagship site, www.theminorityreportblog.com, Former Director of New Media for Liberty.com, Former Director of New Media for Liberty First PAC, and the Former Chief Managing Editor of 73Wire.com. Steve is a well respected national conservative blogger who’s dedicated the past several years of his life advancing conservatism online. Recently Steve was instrumental in the development of Liberty.com, Liberty First PAC, The Patriot Caucus, the national campaign trail and grassroots news site73wire.com.
Source: theminorityreportblog.com

State of Dental Care Among Medicaid

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

RESULTS: The prevalence of having DCV ranged from 12% depending on age, to 49% with a median value of 33% but did not exceed 50% in any state. The median percent change between 2002 and 2007 was 16%. DCV among toddlers and infants were low in all but 3 states and in most states peaked at age of school entry to >60% in some states. In most states, there were few racial differences in the prevalence of DCV. Children enrolled in Primary Care Case Management tended to have the highest DCV, the effect of Children’s Health Insurance Program enrollment on the number of DCV was generally positive.
Source: aappublications.org

Video: Dental insurance and tooth loss – Karmavision

The business behind dental treatment for America’s poorest kids

Kool Smiles does far more crowns than average on children age 8 and under on Medicaid, according to an analysis of 2010 Medicaid data in two states done by CPI and FRONTLINE. In Texas, a child under the age of 9 at Kool Smiles has nearly a 50-50 chance of getting a crown as a restoration to treat problems like cavities, our analysis found. That compares to a one in three chance on average at other providers. And in Virginia, a child 8 or under on Medicaid going to Kool Smiles is twice as likely on average to get crowns than at other dental offices.
Source: publicintegrity.org

KS: Medicaid cops put more pressure on Kansas deadline

In April, the Kansas Health Institute News Service in Topeka reported that leaders in at least 20 Kansas counties were petitioning the state to slow the implementation of KanCare for developmentally disabled Medicaid patients and people in mental hospitals. The respective care often requires extensive institutional treatment for which managed care cost-cutters have little experience, the skeptics argue.
Source: watchdog.org

3 Medicare Mistakes You MUST Avoid

Failing to shop around is the biggest and most common mistake that people make when it comes to Medicare, or any health insurance plan for that matter. An Advantage plan may offer extra coverage for dental care, eyeglasses, health club memberships, hearing aids, or prescriptions. Most Advantage plans do cover medication. Original Medicare rarely does so. You might find a plan that would pay for a lot more of your health care than original Medicare, but you’ll never know unless you see what’s available.
Source: medigapadvisors.com

What Are The Reasons For Medicare Supplement Insurance Coverage?

Medicare Part A helps with general inpatient needs, but Medicare B is often needed for services Part A leaves out. Medicare supplement insurance coverage through Part B requires a premium and deductible. Most people sign up for this plan because it offers emergency room visits, preventative care, outpatient services, equipment and more. Part B also makes you eligible to sign up for other supplemental care.
Source: seniorcorps.org

Medicaid expenditures shown visually

The above pie chart shows that New York, California and Texas spent the most Medicaid dollars out of all 50 states in the category of personal health care for the combined years of 1980 to 2009. Since this chart along with all the pie charts in this article are a composite of all 50 states, their total Medicaid costs for each category of health care provided for the last twenty years you can see how astonishing it is that New York and California consumed 27 percent of the whole countries Medicaid dollars for personal health care. In fact New York and California spent over 25 percent of all Medicaid dollars which are part federal money for the last twenty years on average. To put this in perspective just two out of fifty US states have been and are consuming the lions share of all Medicaid dollars! Since Medicaid is a partnership between the federal government and the state with each matching each others funds, this again is unsustainable for both the state involved and the federal government. The second pie chart below shows that again New York, California, Texas consume the most Medicaid dollars for providing Hospital services in their respective states. Illinois also spent 5 percent of all Medicaid dollars for the years 1980 to 2009 combined.
Source: allourkidsfund.net

Trudy Leiberman: Medicare, Paul Ryan, and beyond: a primer

August 15, 2012 – Mitt Romney’s choice of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential nominee elevates Medicare and Medicaid (along with Social Security) to Level A campaign issues. Ryan has emerged as a leading Congressional thinker and idea shaper for the GOP on fiscal matters, and his path cuts right through Medicare and Medicaid. Consider the scale: Last year the Congressional Budget Office examined the “Path to Prosperity,” his budget proposal for 2013, and found, among many other things, that it would cut federal health spending as a percentage of GDP from about 12 percent projected under current law to about 6 percent in 2030. That’s huge. No wonder his proposals are controversial. Until recently, coverage of the discussions about entitlements—programs that eventually touch almost everyone—has been has been largely unhelpful, or cloaked in political spin. But covering Medicare (and Medicaid too) is hard. How do journalists cover and clarify the debates about reform without getting too deep in the weeds? As with most legislation, the devil will be in the details, and a lot is not known about what will finally emerge from the legislative sausage grinder. What follows might help reporters cover the discussion—a rough guide to how these programs could change under Ryan’s influence, whether he remains as chairman of the House Budget Committee or moves to the vice president’s chair. Either way he will exert his pull over the future of entitlements. This guide offers a way to identify and categorize the kinds of changes that are on the table. THE PROBLEM Last year, Medicare cost the federal government some $551 billion dollars and the federal government and the states together spent $389 billion in fiscal 2010 for Medicaid. Both are projected to grow, which worries budget experts. Medicare could be fixed by raising payroll taxes that fund Medicare Part A, which pays for hospital benefits, but in the in the current climate, raising taxes even to support a popular program like Medicare is politically out of the question. It’s the same story for Medicaid, which is funded jointly by the states and the federal government. Since tax increases are not likely, that leaves cutting the programs as the solution of choice. But how? Some changes are already here. For Medicare, both the prescription drug law passed in 2003 and the health reform law enacted two years ago under President Obama, already include some changes to beef up the program’s finances. Other possibilities for trimming both Medicare and Medicaid in the future are “in the wind,” supported by pols from both parties, who sometimes still talk of a “grand bargain” on entitlements. And then there is Paul Ryan. Here’s how to think about what may be coming down the pike: SHIFTING SOME GOVERNMENT COSTS TO BENEFICIARIES What’s already happened? The health reform law, also called the Affordable Care Act (ACA), already calls for seniors to pay more for their healthcare by requiring their Medigap insurance policies to pay out less. Seniors typically buy Medigap policies to cover the gaps in Medicare benefits. But the ACA bars insurers who sell Medigap policies plans F and C from covering all of a seniors’ expenses that remain after Medicare pays the bills. Those two plans are the most popular Medigap policies precisely because they do cover almost all remaining expenses. Seniors tend to be risk averse and want no financial surprises at the end of an illness. Politicians on both sides supported this provision in the ACA, so there’s been little talk about it and therefore little press coverage. Millions of seniors will be surprised come 2015, when they learn their Medigap policies won’t cover as much. The rationale: Some health policy analysts believe consumers use too many medical services, and paying more out of pocket—having “more skin in the game”—will cause them to seek less healthcare. What’s in the wind? There’s serious talk of carrying this “more skin-in-the-game approach” a step further. Under a proposal marketed as “Medicare benefit simplification” and pushed by Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, seniors would pay one so-called “unified deductible” instead of three separate deductibles they now pay for hospital, doctor, and drug coverage. More to the point, Lieberman’s proposal would instead cap all out of pocket spending at $7,500 for low and moderate-income families—meaning such families would pay the first $7,500 of medical expenses. Those with higher incomes—$85,000 and up—would have to pay about $12,500 on their own, before they could collect Medicare benefits. But the biggest way to make seniors pay more is through a voucher arrangement, and that’s at the core of Ryan’s budget proposals. Vouchers are a way to transform Medicare, a social insurance program, into a privatized system, and giving seniors a lot of “skin in the game.” Under such an arrangement, the government would give beneficiaries a fixed amount of money each year to buy health insurance in the private market—similar to the way some uninsured people may get subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. If vouchers, sometimes called “premium supports,” are insufficient to buy what the seniors want, they will have to pay the difference out-of-pocket. Over time, Medicare experts believe, the voucher may not keep pace with medical inflation, shrinking in value. In analyzing Ryan’s plan last year, the Congressional Budget Office found that “most elderly people who would be entitled to premium support payments would pay more for their healthcare than they would pay under current the Medicare system.” To understand exactly how a voucher plan would work and how much seniors will pay on their own, you need details, which are lacking at the moment. Ryan says people currently on Medicare can stay in the traditional program, but the fear is that the healthiest and wealthiest might opt out. If only sick people remain, Medicare could find itself in a what insurers call a “death spiral,” with the people remaining in the program paying ever heavier premiums. But Ryan is a big champion of voucher plans for Medicare, and if the GOP ticket wins, this could move to the top of the agenda. The president is not a fan of vouchers, so this change is unlikely if Obama wins. MAKING PEOPLE PAY MORE FOR THE BENEFITS THEY HAVE What’s already happened? A change already in place—called for by the prescription drug law passed in 2003 (under George Bush) and by the ACA, and thus supported by both Democrats and Republicans—requires people with higher incomes to pay more for their Medicare Part B benefits (doctor visits, lab tests, and outpatient hospital services), as well as for their Part D benefits (prescription drugs). The higher premiums now affect those with incomes of $85,000 and up and couples with incomes of $170,000. What’s in the wind? There’s Beltway talk of requiring people whose incomes are not considered high by today’s standards to pay more. Some proposals call for changing the way the income thresholds for the higher premiums are determined. That would mean people who do not have high incomes now would be considered having high incomes for the purposes of paying more. As I recently explained, about 5 percent of seniors now pay an income-related premium for Part B; by the end of the decade 10 percent will. For drug, or Part D benefits, the proportion of seniors paying higher premiums would grow from 3 percent today to 8 percent by 2019 if these changes are enacted. Look for some politicians from both parties to support this one. GIVING BENEFITS TO FEWER PEOPLE What’s in the wind? If Republicans take the White House and both houses of Congress, seniors on Medicare who have higher incomes may find themselves subject to means testing, a step that would also radically change Medicare. Medicare is social insurance: People are obligated to pay into the system while they are working and, in turn, they have a right to benefits later when they turn 65. It doesn’t matter how high their income is, they are entitled to Medicare benefits. This universality—the idea that everyone is in the pool—has contributed to Medicare’s popularity. It’s not a welfare program like its cousin, Medicaid. To qualify for Medicaid benefits, recipients’ income and assets cannot exceed certain guidelines. The budget discussion is sure to include the notion of means testing Medicare too. Supporters argue that rich people like Warren Buffett don’t need Social Security or Medicare, and the federal government could save billions by giving benefits only to those who truly need them. The counterargument: With means testing, these programs will turn into welfare programs, like Medicaid, and lose popular support. Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” budget plan also proposes changing the financing arrangement for Medicaid. It calls for converting the matching payments the federal government makes to the states into block grants of fixed dollar amounts. A state could use that money as it saw fit. Republicans and some Democrats support using block grants for Medicaid. But there’s a problem: fewer people would be covered. The CBO found the “large projected reduction in payments would probably reduce eligibility for Medicaid.” The health reform law expanded eligibility for Medicaid, but the Supreme Court decision upholding the law allows states to opt out of the expansion. Meanwhile, block granting would move far away from the goals of the ACA, which envisioned 17 million more people added to the program.The CBO also reported that block grant financing could also mean less extensive coverage for recipients and lower payments to doctors and hospitals. Health providers may not like that, and may try blocking congressional attempts to change the program. GIVING FEWER BENEFITS No one yet is taking about trimming the basic Medicare benefits, but in this volatile political mix, anything might come up. Some states have already cut benefits for Medicaid recipients, especially dental services. More benefit cuts are likely as states continue to have budget shortfalls. All these possibilities are perfect for people stories.The dollars and cents angle is the one the press should pursue in explaining any of these proposals to their audiences. What’s been missing so far in the public discussion of entitlements is how “reforms” would affect ordinary people. Republished with permission from the Columbia Journalism Review. For more articles by Trudy Lieberman: http://www.cjr.org/author/trudy-lieberman-1/
Source: yubanet.com

First Edition: August 20, 2012

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Romney And Ryan To Hold Town Hall Meeting With NH Voters To Explain Medicare Plans Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are ready to face New Hampshire voters and answer their questions, especially about the Republican plan for Medicare that has left some seniors skittish. Romney and Ryan on Monday will try to explain to voters — particularly seniors, who reliably cast ballots — that their proposal to offer a private alternative to Medicare would not affect anyone over age 55. Some 14 percent of New Hampshire residents are over the age of 65, and this state, which holds the nation’s first presidential primary, is known for its voters’ sharp questioning of candidates during such town hall-style events (8/20).
Source: kaiserhealthnews.org

Why Paul Ryan’s Medicaid Reform Works

Medicaid recipients get to choose among a dozen different plans with different offerings: one hospital, multiple, HIV-positive, etc. The plans are competing on benefits, copays, and provider networks, even above traditional Medicaid FFS. There’s a default plan, but the engagement is huge: 70 percent of recipients in the pilot choose a plan other than the default. (This is because, as Jeb was fond of saying, they’re poor, not stupid.) Early engagement in this form has a side benefit, too: It makes them more likely to seek care earlier, as opposed to waiting ‘til they need to go to the emergency room. Patients also get access to seven extra services not covered by any other Medicaid program (over-the-counter medication, dental, vision, etc.) They also have a cash incentive for healthy behavior, including quitting smoking, of up to $125 per person/per year – 64 percent of people in the program do it.
Source: reformmedicaid.org

CNN Fact Checks Mitt Romney’s Welfare Ad Is “False,” “Doesn’t Work”

FOREMAN: So where did this come from, this notion of a giant change in welfare rules? Oddly enough, it did not originate here in Washington, but rather out in the country. Several states, including some with Republican governors asked the federal government for more flexibility in how they hand out welfare dollars. Specifically, they want to spend less time on federal paperwork and more time experimenting with what they hope will be better ways of getting people connected to jobs. So the administration has granted waivers from some of the existing rules.
Source: 3chicspolitico.com

Dental forum calls for more money and reforms » Bite magazine dental news

Representatives from 80 community, consumer, health, practitioner and provider organisations met in Canberra on Wednesday to discuss why dental health has been getting poor treatment from national policy and funding. The forum, entitled ‘Why has dental health been getting the brush-off?’, was organised by a coalition of lobby groups including The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA), the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance (AHCRA), the National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA) and the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA).
Source: com.au

Your Money: In the New Economy

The financial crisis of 2008 has ushered in a new facet of the “New Economy.” Whatever you say about the origins and course of this financial crisis, this new dramatic development will be a major influence in our economic future. I will discuss the financial crisis and where it has led us. I will then look at how this “New Economy” will affect your job prospects, investment strategies, retirement plans, personal finance. We are in an entirely new phase of our economic progress reinforced by a new administration coming into office. It will be exciting to some and of concern to others. But we all must understand it and use it to our advantage. — Leo Cecchini (Ethiopia 1962–64)
Source: peacecorpsworldwide.org

Center for American Progress Action Fund

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

The House Republican premium support plan would adjust the voucher for health status—redistributing payments from plans with healthier enrollees to plans with less healthy enrollees. This “risk adjustment” mechanism would certainly help, but current risk-adjustment methods are still far from perfect. Current methods tend to overpay plans with healthier enrollees and underpay plans with less healthy enrollees. As a result, premiums for traditional Medicare would likely rise and enrollment would likely decline over time. This outcome is even more likely because the House Republican premium support plan would not require private plans to provide a standard set of benefits—allowing them to design benefits that attract healthier beneficiaries.
Source: americanprogressaction.org

Video: Medicare.gov Ad with Leslie Nielsen 3

What Uncovered Costs Do Medicare Supplemental Plans Provide For?

No. These policies are not issued by the government, but by private insurers, although they must meet government standards. They have some medical questions you must answer, such as “Has any doctor recommended a joint replacement operation to you?” or “Have you had treatment for skin cancer in the past year?” A “yes” answer to either of these disqualifies you. Obviously, the insurance companies are seeking to limit their exposure to immediate large expenses. In comparing medicare supplemental plans, bear in mind that Medicare has required that insurers standardize their policies. Basically, what you are comparing is their cost.
Source: seniorcorps.org

A Road Map to Medicare and Supplements

Signing up for Part D. Part D is the part of Medicare that covers out patient prescription. The Part D plans are administered or offered by individual carriers (conforming to base level requirements by Medicare) but a good place to look is again on the Medicare website. Again, in the center of the page (current layout), under Top 6 Services , you ll see a link for Find Health and Drug Plans . Unfortunately, they now bundle health (medigap) plans and Part D. The Part D plan finder works well since it look at all your existing medications when comparing available plans but Medicare supplements are a little more involved. There s a question of carrier strength, weird pricing gimmicks that some carriers have up front only to charge you more later on. This is where a licensed professional comes in handy. Part D selection is probably fine right online from this section. You ll need to answer a few screens of questions to get there. You can always use us as a resource to run your Part D and Medicare supplement quote together.
Source: theauthorplace.com

Gov't auditors doubt legality of Medicare bonuses

Medicare’s assertion that the program is fully legal “does not resolve our concerns,” the GAO’s Gibson wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The letter coincided with a partisan House vote to repeal the health care law. The GAO, however, is a nonpartisan agency that serves as the investigative arm of Congress.
Source: publicintegrity.org

Karin Spencrr. Medicare.gov – the Official U.S. Government Site for Medicare

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Source: wordpress.com

Medicare and the $716 billion bogeyman : CJR

Another underreported issue is whether the Ryan-Romney proposal to have their capped, privatized, voucherized Medicare proposal only apply to people under 55 is politically viable. That would mean a big policy cliff between Americans based on one day’s difference in birthdays. People born on one day would be guaranteed (with the death spiral caveat you mention) access to the traditional uncapped Medicare program which would pay for their full benefits. People born one day later would be shoved into the capped, voucherized program where they likely would be exposed to significantly increased out of pocket costs. Would Americans stand for that gross disparity?
Source: cjr.org