Medicare Open Enrollment: last chance to review and compare plans

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

Senate Dems Protest Medicare Cuts by Talk Radio News ServiceWith the holiday season upon us, it’s easy to get busy this time of year. Some pretty important tasks can get left to the last minute. One of those important tasks is ensuring you are in the right health insurance plan in Medicare.  Selecting the right plan is a personal choice, and a lot of thoughtful consideration goes into finding the right match.  But just like the holidays, those key dates come whether or not you are ready.
Source: medicare.gov

Video: How to Understand Medicare Plans

Medicare Advantage 2013 Spotlight: Plan Availability and Premiums

This data spotlight report examines trends in the Medicare Advantage marketplace, including the choices available to Medicare beneficiaries in 2013, premium levels and other plan features. It finds almost all plans offered this year will be available again in 2013, despite concerns that reductions in payments to plans under the Affordable Care Act would result in widespread pullouts from Medicare Advantage plans. If all beneficiaries choose to remain in their current plans, monthly premiums would increase about 10 percent, or $4, on average. The analysis also examines the types of plans available (HMOs, PPOs, etc.), changes in out-of-pocket limits, and the availability of special needs plans.
Source: kff.org

CareFirst BCBS’s Medicare plan gets high ranking from CMS

The ranking is for Medi-CareFirst’s BlueRx standard and enhanced prescription drug plans (Part D), and is an improvement over last year’s 4-star ranking. The CMS Medicare program each year rates all health and prescription drug plans in four categories, with ratings of up to five stars.
Source: ifawebnews.com

5 mistakes retirees make choosing a Medicare plan

It’s also easier to find quality plans this year, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which has beefed up its star ratings system to alert consumers to the best-performing plans and remind those stuck in continuously low-performing ones that they can switch plans. Beneficiaries have 127 four-star or five-star Medicare Advantage plans from which to choose, up from 106 during open enrollment for 2012. And those in original Medicare have 26 high-performing prescription drug plans at their disposal, up from 13 last year.
Source: sltrib.com

Why Private Medicare Plans Don't Cost Less

Many contend that the government “overpays” for people enrolled in private plans, since traditional Medicare could have covered these patients for less money. But the reason it would have cost less is partly that the government has done a woeful job in figuring out how much to pay the private plans. The government compensates insurers based on the health of their enrollees at the start of the year. Plans with healthier patients receive less money than those with sicker ones to reflect the likelihood that healthier people will use less care. Healthier patients enroll in Medicare Advantage plans, so in, principle, plans should be reimbursed less by the government for enrolling these patients (the technical term for this process is “risk adjustment”). But for decades, the government has failed to determine who is healthy and who is sick with any precision, with the result that private plans receive larger payments to cover their patients’ costs than necessary. This botched payment system gives insurers an incentive to spend more time selecting the healthiest patients, and less time treating them more efficiently.
Source: nytimes.com

Medicare: Save Money on Premiums and Copayments in 2013

More plans offer lower copays at "preferred" pharmacies: In 2013, for example, more than half the 32 Part D plans in California will charge lower copays at preferred pharmacies than at regular network ones — with savings of between $2 and $28 for the same prescription. Sounds like a deal, but be careful: If a plan’s preferred pharmacies aren’t within a convenient distance, you may be better off in another plan.
Source: aarp.org

Medicare Open Enrollment: Now is the Time to Review your Medicare Plan

Comparing Medicare plans is a relatively simple process, but having a friend or family member review the materials with you may be helpful. The official Medicare website has a tool at that helps you find and compare all of the plans available in your area. This is a great way to get started and at least gives you the overview of what your choices will be. When reviewing the plans, focus on the actual benefits they provide. For example, if you take prescription drugs, you might want to pay particular attention to the coverage offered while you are in the prescription drug coverage gap or “doughnut hole.” If you need help comparing coverage options, you can work with your local Area Agency on Aging for assistance and information. Remember: The open enrollment dates are strict! Oct. 15 – Dec. 7 is your only window of opportunity until 2013.
Source: aarp.org

Medicare open enrollment: How can I find a better plan?

What about doctor availability? On the Medicare site you can directly compare up to three plans, and when I selected your current plan and these other two plans, I saw that your current plan says it has 1001-1500 “physicians and providers,” compared to 4001-5000 for the other two plans. For each plan you can click on “View provider and physician network website,” which takes you away from Medicare.gov and onto the plan’s own website, where you can search its provider directory to judge for yourself whether it has enough doctors to meet your needs.
Source: consumerreports.org

What You Should Know About Choosing a Medicare D Plan

 What drugs are you on? You may want to speak with your physician about changes that could reduce costs.  What pharmacy do you want to use? You need to be sure your pharmacy accepts the plan you’re considering.  How much does the plan cost?  Do you want to go “a la carte” with a free-standing prescription drug plan (PDP) or choose one that combines medical benefits and prescription drug plans (MA-PD)?  Are you on a retiree plan that limits your choices?  Does your choice of plan affect your spouse’s plan? Be sure you understand the details of how the two interact. Where Can I Get Help? There are several excellent tools available to help you examine all of the plans and analyze your options. As a care manager, I have used all of these tools with great success: 
Source: jewishcentralvoice.com

Alexandria Seniors Can Get Help with Medicare Plan Changes

Open enrollment for making changes to Medicare D and Medicare Advantage plans is under way and will continue until Dec. 7.  Changes made during this period will be effective Jan. 1.   It is important to review your plan because Medicare Part D and Advantage plans are allowed to make changes in their premium costs, deductive, co-payments and formularies (the list of drugs covered by their plan), according to a city news release.   Free counseling will be provided in Alexandria through VICAP, the Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program, and the Department of Community and Human Services Division of Aging and Adult Services. 
Source: patch.com

Kaiser Permanente’s Medicare Plans Earn Top NCQA Health Insurance Rankings for 2012

About Kaiser Permanente Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 9 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: www.kp.org/newscenter.
Source: kp.org

Kaiser study: Romney’s Medicare plan raises costs

What’s more, as Sahil Kapur added, the study “does not project the longer-term implications for traditional Medicare. Many analysts warn that over time, sicker and older patients would choose traditional Medicare over private plans as private insurers tailored their plans to younger, healthier beneficiaries. Without strict rules and adequate risk adjustment, this would put traditional Medicare premiums on a ‘death spiral’ and the public plan would collapse.”
Source: msnbc.com

Feds Say Nursing Homes Overbilled Medicare By $1.5 Billion

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

Christiana Care Kicks off Participation in Home Care Program by Christiana CareThe study released this week by the inspector general’s office of the Department of Health and Human Services concluded that nursing homes billed about a quarter of claims incorrectly in 2009 – the year it studied. Most of those claims were “upcoded,” which means Medicare was billed for services that were more extensive than what was provided or needed. Many of the claims were for intensive physical, speech or occupational therapy.
Source: kaiserhealthnews.org

Video: How To Choose the Best Nursing Home: Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare Website

Doubts aired about Medicare nursing home ranking system

Experts say people looking for nursing homes should certainly check those Medicare ratings, but they should also pay visits to nursing homes under consideration. Visit the homes, and then visit them again. There are no substitutes for your own eyes, ears and nose when it comes to checking the conditions of the facility.
Source: wvnursinghomeabuseattorney.com

Column: Obamacare to affect nursing facilities 

The lowering of drug prices for those with Medicare is a plus, but where are the other benefits? With a decrease of $716 billion for Medicare, President Barack Obama is using a double-edged sword on senior citizens, as hospitals have to downsize staffs to afford budget and salary cuts. This does allow senior citizens in hospitals and nursing homes to have the same benefits with lower costs and deductibles. However, there will not be enough staff to attend to the sick and ill, which in the end will fuel the two main causes of incidents in nursing homes right now — the transferring of patients to different facilitations, as well as abuse and neglect.
Source: uwire.com

Authorities: Psychiatrist sent more than 50,000 fraudulent Medicare, Medicaid nursing home claims

Clozapine, which is prescribed to treat schizophrenia, is under scrutiny in the case: The DOJ says that at one point Reinstein had 1,000 patients on Clozaril as part of an agreement with Novartis to promote the drug. After that agreement ended in 2003, IVAX Pharmaceuticals, Inc. began paying a $50,000 “consulting fee” to Reinstein in exchange for him prescribing generic clozapine, the lawsuit says. Officials say that the physician then “became the largest prescriber of generic clozapine in the country.”
Source: mcknights.com

Medicare expands reimbursement for some skilled nursing, home health beneficiaries

Judith Stein, director of the nonprofit Center for Medicare Advocacy that is lead counsel for beneficiaries, said the settlement would cast aside a major barrier to care for thousands with chronic or degenerative conditions from multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries to Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Source: medcitynews.com

Medicare Nursing Home Ranking System Under Scrutiny in North Carolina

While not every injury case meets our criteria, we offer free initial confidential injury case consultation, so call us toll free at (800) 752-0042. If you cannot get through due to high call volume, please leave a voicemail so we can return your call.
Source: hsinjurylaw.com

Medicare Overbilling Rampant in Nursing Homes

Medicare is billed based on what are referred to as “minimum data set reviews.”  The minimum data set (MDS) is used by the skilled nursing facilities to assess each resident.  The skilled nursing facilities use that information to classify beneficiaries into resource utilization groups (RUG).   The RUG score of the resident determines how much Medicare will pay the skilled nursing facility for that resident’s care, i.e., the sicker the resident the more the skilled nursing facility is reimbursed for their treatment.
Source: janssenlaw.com

Industry Likes Medicare Home Care Expansion, But Cost Is Unknown

For decades Medicare’s guidelines cut off coverage of ”skilled” nursing and home care services if patients weren’t shown to be improving. The care in question might have been physical therapy for stroke victims, home nurse visits for those with Alzheimer’s or post-hospital nursing home care for diabetics. Once their conditions plateaued or started deteriorating, Medicare would stop paying.
Source: aarp.org

Arkansas Hospitals Fear Looming Cuts to Medicaid

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

Counter demonstration: wingnuts by tswedenThe U.S. Supreme Court, in finding that the health care reform law was constitutional, forbade the federal government from forcing states to accept the Medicaid expansion. And Republican legislators in Arkansas, with a new majority in both houses of the General Assembly, have been cool to the idea of taking on that additional responsibility.
Source: arkansasbusiness.com

Video: Arkansas Medicare Supplements

Arkansas’ Second District Congressman Named to Ways and Means Committee

Arkansas’ Second District Congressman has been named to a prestigious panel on Capitol Hill in Washington. Rep. Tim Griffin, of Little Rock, is the first Arkansas Republican named to serve on the Ways and Means Committee. Griffin announced his selection by the House Republican Steering Committee today with the following statement. “I am honored to be selected to serve on the House Ways and Means Committee. This is good news for my constituents and good news for all of Arkansas. The Ways and Means Committee handles everything from Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to the tax code and the opening of new markets for American-made goods. Like the Arkansans I represent, I think the tax code is too complex and too burdensome, and as a Member of the Ways and Means Committee, I’ll continue to fight for a fairer, flatter and simpler tax code that will better serve all Americans and encourage job creation.” The Ways and Means Committee is the oldest committee in Congress and is responsible for considering legislation related to trade agreements, the national debt, federal revenues and programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  Since its founding in 1789, only eight Arkansans have served on the committee. Griffin’s predecessor in the Second Congressional District and fellow Hendrix College alumnus, Wilbur D. Mills, was chairman from 1958 to 1975, making him the longest-serving chairman in the Committee’s history. No Arkansan has served on the Committee since 1992. 
Source: arkansasmatters.com

The Need for Clear Medicare Information

One every eight seconds – that’s how many baby boomers will reach age 65 during the next 10 years. That’s about 10,000 boomers becoming eligible for Medicare each day. They will join 49 million Americans who are currently enrolled in Medicare, many of whom struggle to understand the program, according to a 2011 survey from UnitedHealthcare and the National Council on Aging. In fact, this survey found that most respondents were not able to accurately identify what each part (A, B, C and D) of Medicare covers, and nearly 20 percent of respondents who were currently enrolled in Medicare said they didn’t know what type of coverage they had.  
Source: thecitywire.com

Letters To The Editor: Readers’ Thoughts On Hospital Readmissions Penalties; Arkansas’ Health Care Payment Improvement Initiative; And Drug Coupons

This program reads like another government approach to zero-summing total health care expenditures. It penalizes the groups operating below expectations, and benefits those performing better than expectations. … If the Medicaid program really wanted to reduce expenditures then it should simply penalize those groups that operate below expectations. There should be no direct financial reward issued for providing quality care. That should be the basic requirement. If anything, the reward should be that those who provide quality care at the proper cost factor should see an increase in the volume of beneficiaries utilizing their services. … If a facility is continuing to provide poor quality care at a high cost, why continue to finance their operation by allowing beneficiaries to utilize their services? That seems to be an inherent danger to the beneficiary, and sends the wrong signal to the provider community.
Source: kaiserhealthnews.org

How do I Apply for Medicaid in Arkansas

Medicaid is a national health insurance scheme which is provided by the federal government to its citizens via the mediation of private as well as government insurance agents. It is aimed at providing specific kinds of medical protection to certain groups that are deemed vulnerable, threatened and in need for federal protection. This includes pregnant women, elderly residents, low income families, children, and people with disabilities and so on. Since this is a nation-wide scheme, every state has its own setup and the Arkansas chapter of Medicaid is known as Medicaid Arkansas.
Source: medicarearkansas.com

Arkansas Medicaid Officials Apply For $60 Million Federal Grant

The grant application notes that the estimated cost to the state for this system transformation will be about $32.8M over a three and a half year period beginning in January 2013.  That’s a significant sum, but putting it into perspective, that would allow us to achieve lasting and fundamental quality and cost improvements for less than 1% of our current annual expenditures with the potential, if successful, to return over $1 billion in savings to the state Medicaid program through 2020.
Source: talkbusiness.net

Medicare cards should not expose Social Security numbers

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

What's In My Bag... by Amy Dianna“Making the necessary changes will require significant monetary investments, multiple systems and operational changes, not just for CMS and its contractors, but also for (the Social Security Administration), state Medicaid programs, private health plans and providers that CMS interacts with regarding beneficiary information for enrollment and claims payment,” Tavenner said.
Source: triblive.com

Video: Medicare Card Fraud: Protect Your Identity

Woman Shows Medicare Card On Camera For Millions To See At DNC

During former President Bill Clinton’s speech, an audience member who was receiving oxygen through a nose tube showed her Medicare card on camera while Clinton was railing about Republicans wanting to “end Medicare as we know it.”
Source: cbslocal.com

How to Prevent Medicare Card Identity Theft

Note: You’ll notice that your Medicare ID has one or two additional letters or numbers following the digits of the SSN. These identify what kind of beneficiary you are, according to the Social Security Administration. For example, the letter T mainly indicates that you are entitled to Medicare, but are not yet filed for Social Security retirement benefits; whereas W1 indicates that you are a widower who is eligible for Medicare through disability. For the purposes of your photocopy, it doesn’t matter whether you delete these final letters (or letter-number combinations) or leave them in. Also of interest: You can help fight health care fraud. 
Source: aarp.org

In Your Corner: Medicare card scam

AARP, Elderly, in your corner, kfor, medicare card scam, medicare number, medicare open enrollment, oklahoma insurance department, oklahoma state attorney general, scam artists, Seniors, social security card
Source: kfor.com

Medicare card scam scaring information from recipients

Tips from a study at USC (http://n.pr/UKyFOT). • Compare reviews not only within a site, but across different websites. • Reviews by people who are verified by the site are more trustworthy than reviews by anonymous reviewers — especially when it comes to negative reviews. • Read reviews less for whether they give a hotel or a restaurant one star or five stars, but more for the specific information they give about the experience. • Reviews are very useful for information that experts or merchants might not think to provide — how late a swimming pool stays open could be useful if you are traveling with a family. • Focus on aggregates, not outliers. You can’t trust a handful of bad reviews or glowing reviews, but trends are much harder to fake.
Source: wordpress.com

Phone scam targets Medicare users

Consumers have reported a cold caller tells them to expect a new Medicare card in January. But before getting the new card, you have to verify your social security number or supply a bank account number.
Source: wmbfnews.com

Why Medicare Cards Still Show Social Security Numbers

The answer is that the federal government has been dragging its heels for years on making a change, because, according to various reports from the agency that oversees Medicare, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, it would be both expensive and complex technologically to re-issue cards with new identification numbers.
Source: protectingmedicare.org

Does Medicare Card shows address?

No there is no such thing on Medicare card…what I have found very easy to get to prove one’s address is bank statement.Go for it… and bank statements are quite handy in this regard.and changes if any can be made by simple visit to bank branch..I have used it whenever I wanted…it is acceptable by Government Dep’ts … Get your proof of age card as well…if you don’t have any… Best luck…
Source: expatforum.com

The Fastest Way to Get your Medicare Card

The supplemental insurance agent we use at work joined Columbia River Insurance Services over a year ago. We got some great rates on our new personal life insurance policies. Chrys suggested we get a quote on our home and auto policies. Another employee advised she had CR take a look at her policies and she saved a ton so we finally checked it out. With farm, home, residential rental, and multiple vehicles it wasn’t the easiest policy to review. This was no 15 minutes and you’re done! As it turns out we didn’t really save much if any money, but gained A LOT of necessary coverage – much of which we didn’t realize was missing under our old policy!! We couldn’t be happier. We’re recommending Columbia River to all our friends and family. Thanks Chastain & Chrys!
Source: columbiariverinsuranceservices.com

Wombacher Disability & Elder Law Blog: Identity theft

Here is one suggestion from that fact sheet that’s worth considering: “If you feel you must carry your health insurance or Medicare card with you at all times, try this. Photocopy the card and cut it down to wallet size. Then remove or cut out the last four digits of the [Social Security number]. Carry that with you rather than the actual card. But be sure to carry your original Medicare card with you the first time you visit your health-care provider. They are likely to want to make a photocopy of it for their files.”
Source: wombacherlawoffice.com

New Medicare Scam Targets Seniors

The Better Business Bureau has a few tips incase scammers come after you.  First, do not give out personal information to anyone, ever.  Second, Medicare does not make phone calls regarding new cards, nor will they ask for sensitive financial information.  Lastly, if you suspect anything suspicious, just hang-up.
Source: klkntv.com

Francis X Archibald: The first Medicare Card

Do you know who got the first Medicare card? Harry Truman. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson moved the Medicare bill signing from Washington, D.C., to Independence, MO. so former President Truman could be on hand for the signing and receive the first card. This was a tribute to Mr. Truman’s efforts 20 years earlier to create a national health insurance plan.
Source: blogspot.com

Medicare For Those With Disabilities

• If you have End-Stage Renal Disease you are not automatically enrolled in Medicare, but you can apply if you have worked the required amount of time according to Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board, or if you are the spouse or dependent child of someone who has. Contact Social Security for details. You would need both Medicare A and B to cover certain dialysis and kidney transplant services. The coverage usually starts the fourth month of dialysis treatments.
Source: medicareecompare.com

$30.7 Million Cut to Louisiana Medicare Begins October 1st, 2012

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

THE PEOPLES LEADER by SS&SS“At both political conventions – and in health policy forums like those sponsored by AARP today in New Orleans – seniors’ Medicare-funded nursing home care and its ongoing funding adequacy has been part of a vigorous, necessary national discussion,” stated Alan G. Rosenbloom, President of AQNHC, which funded the data analysis. “The higher profile of nursing home funding in the 2012 election reflects the growing importance of ending what essentially amounts to a ‘cut now, ask questions later’ governmental funding policy. We hope to help engender a consensus that bigger-picture, systemic reforms that reduce costs, improve efficiency and optimize care quality must be pursued once the election is over.”
Source: seniorlivingcare.com

Video: Louisiana SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) revised

Medicare fraud scheme puts Louisiana woman, others behind bars

The woman was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 18 months in prison. In addition, she will be supervised for a period of two years after her release from prison and will be required to pay $3.18 million as restitution for her supposed crimes. Documents show that eight other defendants have been sentenced in regards to this scheme with three more people still awaiting their sentences. In most criminal cases, the sooner a defense attorney is contacted the more effective he or she will be in developing an effective strategy in response to any charges.
Source: steveleblanc.com

Louisiana Federal District Court Approves MSA Based on G&L Expert Testimony :Gould & Lamb

Gould & Lamb provides its clients with Medicare Compliance Services and Programs focused on reducing claim costs and positioning claims for settlement. To this end, Gould & Lamb has prepared a Settlement Language Guide to assist insurers and self insured entities navigate the complex sea of Medicare Secondary Payer compliance. The guide contains language for possible claims settlement scenarios with a description and analysis of possible actions. Once the Conditional Payment or Medicare Set Aside issue has been brought to light, Gould & Lamb will assist with recommending MSP appropriate and protective settlement language. If you have already produced settlement documentation that contains such language, Gould & Lamb will review same and make recommendations on any needed changes, additions, or deletions. Gould & Lamb also offers our clients detailed and specific to the claim analysis of all Medicare Secondary Payer exposure issues that may exist in your case. Gould & Lamb’s extensive and experienced MSP legal team will provide a written analysis, including statutory, regulatory, and case law citations, that outlines any Medicare Secondary Payer exposure and recommends solutions to any discovered potential problems or issues. Gould & Lamb also provides expert advice on MSP issues, available to provide expert testimony on any MSP issue at meetings, mediations, depositions, hearings, trials, or any other event our client deems our expert analysis helpful or necessary.
Source: themedicarecomplianceblog.com

Four people arrested for Medicare fraud

“Such activity has not only siphoned precious taxpayer resources, drive up health care costs and jeopardized the strength of the Medicare program, it also disproportionately victimized the most vulnerable members of our society including the elderly, disabled and impoverished Americans.”
Source: wafb.com

The Official Medicare Set Aside Blog And Information Resource: Other Federal Courts Inspired by Zealous Judges in Louisiana?

Obviously the fear of possible (yet unlikely) future recovery actions by CMS is stronger than I give it credit for. I guess I just don’t understand why someone would fight the fight proactively rather than wait for the government to initiate an action after the money has in fact disappeared and related treatment was needed. Plaintiff’s related cancer (I’m guessing given the testimony of an oncologist as there was no mention of any of the case details in the opinion) can’t be that advanced or serious given his $608.09 debt and lifetime surveillance costs of only $4,330. Or perhaps it is and he will blow through that $4,500 in short order and the order capping Medicare’s exclusion will be imperative for access to much needed treatment? [but wouldn’t that be fraud and negate the order anyway?] Again, none of this necessarily means that this insurance policy had any obligation to provide for 100% of lifetime care, but this scenario screams of minimal liability or minimal medical damages and indicates that this MSA was a CYA maneuver to demonstrate that they did something rather than nothing since plaintiff is in fact a Medicare beneficiary. And that is fine and recommended, but why involve the courts? What was the cost of obtaining that order, both for the court and the parties?
Source: medicaresetasideblog.com

Fraud charges for man accused of cheating Medicare and Medicaid

As a result of this investigation, a Louisiana doctor has recently plead guilty to a federal fraud charge. In this case, investigators claim that this 81-year-old man participated in a scheme to defraud Medicaid and Medicare. Prosecutors claim that this man acted with fake patients to run unnecessary medical tests. These tests were allegedly done repeatedly at different clinics although there was no medical reason to run the tests. In some cases, the tests were supposedly ordered but never completed.
Source: louisianafederalcriminaldefense.com

Louisiana Federal Judge Affirms Medicare Overpaid Health Provider

NEW ORLEANS – A Louisiana federal judge on Aug. 24 affirmed that the operator of an inpatient rehabilitation facility had received Medicare overpayments after an audit of claims submitted for payment (United Medical Healthcare Inc. v. Department of Health and Human Services, No. 10-4158, E.D. La.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12046).Full story on lexis.com
Source: lexisnexis.com

Obama Administration Proposes $340 Billion in Medicare Cuts in Preliminary “Fiscal Cliff” Negotiations

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

ILGWU senior female members and retirees holding placards urging "fair play for the aged", "hands off social security", "don't mess with medicare", "keep your promises Mr. President", and more. by Kheel Center, Cornell UniversityAccording to news reports on Nov. 28 and 29, President Barack Obama has proposed cutting $340 billion from Medicare spending over 10 years, in his fiscal year 2013 budget, as part of his initial bargaining stance with Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner (R-OH) and congressional Republicans, during the so-called “fiscal cliff” negotiations. The $340 billion in Medicare cuts would include avoidable readmissions reduction-related reimbursement cuts; requiring some pharmaceutical manufacturers to pay rebates to the Medicare program in some circumstances; reducing coverage of bad debts that hospitals and nursing homes have failed to collect from patients; and charging higher premiums to high-income Medicare beneficiaries, according to a Nov. 29 article in The New York Times.
Source: healthcare-informatics.com

Video: Medicare information in Krio

Medicare Plan Finder for Health, Prescription Drug and Medigap plans

The page could not be loaded. The Medicare.gov Home page currently does not fully support browsers with "JavaScript" disabled. Please note that if you choose to continue without enabling "JavaScript" certain functionalities on this website may not be available.
Source: medicare.gov

The New Medicare.gov: Making Medicare Information Clearer & Simpler

The new Medicare.gov is just one of our efforts over the past year to make it easier for you to understand your Medicare. Whether it’s putting our information in simple, straightforward language so you can understand it the first time you read it or improving the design of the “Medicare Summary Notice ” so you can better understand your Medicare claims,  we’re committed to making Medicare information clearer and simpler.
Source: medicare.gov

The New Medicare.gov: Making Medicare Information Clearer & Simpler

The new Medicare.gov is just one of our efforts to make Medicare easier to understand. Whether it’s putting our information in simple, straightforward language so you can understand it the first time you read it or improving the design of the “Medicare Summary Notice” (MSN) so beneficiaries can better understand their Medicare claims, we’re committed to making Medicare information clearer and simpler.
Source: cms.gov

Phone scam targets Medicare users

Consumers have reported a cold caller tells them to expect a new Medicare card in January. But before getting the new card, you have to verify your social security number or supply a bank account number.
Source: wmbfnews.com

Medicare Continues Effort To Give Consumers More Information On Health Care Quality

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced the first three participants in a program designed to help consumers get more information regarding their local doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers.  The Medicare Data Sharing for Performance Measurement program, made possible by the health care law, makes Medicare claims data available, under strict privacy requirements, to groups that HHS certifies as qualified to handle this data and protect patient privacy. These groups will combine Medicare and private insurance data to create comprehensive, useful reports on provider performance.  (Source: CMS)  [Read article]
Source: worh.org

Senators Urge CMS to Provide Information about Medicare and Medicaid Reimbursement for Compounded Drugs

Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, has written a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, asking her to direct the HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to conduct an investigation into CMS’ policies with respect to reimbursement for compounded drugs. Public Citizen cited conflicting provisions of the Medicare Benefit Policy Manual that, on the one hand, instruct carriers to deny coverage for drugs that have not been approved by the FDA and, on the other hand, direct carriers not to deny coverage for such drugs unless directed to by CMS. Public Citizen also noted that CMS is aware of the dangers posed by compounded drugs. In 2007, its four regional Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) denied coverage for compounded inhalation drugs administrated via nebulizers, noting that the drugs were not FDA-approved and citing safety concerns. The senators, Public Citizen, and the public await the agencies’ response.
Source: wolterskluwerlb.com

The Need for Clear Medicare Information

One every eight seconds – that’s how many baby boomers will reach age 65 during the next 10 years. That’s about 10,000 boomers becoming eligible for Medicare each day. They will join 49 million Americans who are currently enrolled in Medicare, many of whom struggle to understand the program, according to a 2011 survey from UnitedHealthcare and the National Council on Aging. In fact, this survey found that most respondents were not able to accurately identify what each part (A, B, C and D) of Medicare covers, and nearly 20 percent of respondents who were currently enrolled in Medicare said they didn’t know what type of coverage they had.  
Source: thecitywire.com

Fiscal Crisis, Threats Of Sequestration Cause Provider Angst

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

Deputy Administrator and Director for the Center of Medicare at CMS Jonathan Blum visits Christiana Care to speak about accountable care organizations by Christiana CareModern Healthcare: Fiscal Cliff For-Profit Providers: Fitch For-profit providers face the greatest risk from slashed spending and tax hikes known as the fiscal cliff, one major credit rating agency said in a newly released outlook for the health care industry. For-profit providers could see lost revenue under a scheduled 2 percent Medicare pay cut and a slump in business “should elements of the fiscal cliff reduce economic activity and increase unemployment,” Fitch Ratings said in its 2013 outlook for for-profit health care, which includes acute-care hospital operators, drug and device manufacturers, diagnostic and life science companies and the health care service sector. Overall, the weak economy and fiscal cliff will drag on health care growth despite an aging population, the chronically ill and demand from emerging markets, the report said. The sector’s outlook is stable, Fitch said (Evans, 11/29).
Source: kaiserhealthnews.org

Video: Medicare Spending Per Beneficiary Measure National Provider Call – February 9, 2012

Medicare Reimbursement Explained: MedPAC Briefings on Medicare Payment Methods for Providers, Medicare Advantage, and Drug Plans

Kip Piper is a Medicare, Medicaid, and health reform consultant, speaker, and author.  A senior consultant with Sellers Dorsey, a national healthcare consultancy, as well as an advisor with Fleishman-Hillard and TogoRun.  Kip advises health plans, hospitals and health systems, states, drug and device manufacturers, and investment firms throughout the U.S.  For more, visit KipPiper.com.  Follow on Twitter at @KipPiper and connect with Kip on LinkedIn.
Source: piperreport.com

Medicare RACs Recoup $2.3B in 2012, Smashing Collections Record

In the federal government’s 2012 fiscal year, Medicare Recovery Auditors (RACs) collected $2.29 billion in overpayments from providers — a record that nearly tripled last year’s total overpayment collections, according to the latest figures from CMS (pdf). In the fourth quarter alone, the private, for-profit RACs collected $648 million in overpayments. This figure was just shy of the third quarter’s recoupment total of $657.2 million. In FY 2012, RACs returned $109.4 million in underpayments to providers, bringing total corrections on the year to $2.4 billion. Essentially, for every $1 RACs returned to providers in underpayments, they recouped almost $21. Since the program started in October 2009, RACs have collected $3.16 billion in overpayments and have returned $268.2 million in underpayments, equaling $3.43 billion in total corrections.
Source: beckershospitalreview.com

A Need for Free Market Competition in Medicare

While limited government advocates would be expected to cheer this change, it would in fact have far greater negative impacts on the size of government.  Medicare’s prescription drug benefit (“Part D”) is notable in that it has come in over 40 percent under budget.  By making drug companies compete for seniors, market forces have delivered a far more efficient prescription drug benefit compared to Medicare’s hospital insurance and doctor visit components.
Source: capoliticalreview.com

Providers File The Bulk Of Medicare Appeals

Medicare beneficiaries and providers can challenge the denial of a claim in several appeals stages, but the first two are decided by contractors working for Medicare who base their opinions on case files.  In the third step, which is the focus of the report, appellants have a hearing before a judge, testimony can be provided, witnesses can be cross-examined, and new evidence can be introduced.  The judges are lawyers in the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals, an independent agency within HHS.
Source: kaiserhealthnews.org

The cold, hard realities behind Medicare cuts

I’ll be 78 in January so I guess I’m a high-maintenance Medicare user. I belong to a terrific nonprofit with salaried doctors, excellent care, and a five-star Medicare rating. The fact is we shouldn’t have Medicare. We should have gone to a single-payer system for everybody decades ago, which would have spread out the cost among the healthy and the not-so-healthy. But of course reactionary screams of socialism and horror tales about coverage in other countries prevented that from ever happening. As a result we have wasted millions on private insurance dividends and executive salaries. Now we are reaping what we have sown. So when I’ve spent my savings down to their last fifty bucks, I’ll buy a six-pack and some barbiturates, which will end any need I have for Medicare.
Source: politico.com

Medicare Providers Cannot Object to RAC Decision to Re

Court documents state that Palomar Medical Center provided therapy to an individual who needed rehabilitative services following a hip surgery. At the time the therapy was delivered, Medicare reimbursed the facility. However, as RAC investigation determined that the services were not reasonable and necessary, and could have been delivered in a less expensive setting such as a nursing home or rehabilitation facility.
Source: about.com

Report: Medicare EHR Incentive Program Vulnerable to Abuse

The report noted that although CMS officials are making sure that providers are checking off the necessary boxes in their submitted forms, the officials are not taking the additional steps to ensure that providers are providing truthful and accurate information. The agency also does not require physicians and hospitals to submit additional documentation illustrating evidence of their claims.
Source: ihealthbeat.org

Reminder: Optometrists subject to $500+ fee for Medicare DMEPOS enrollment

The Medicare DMEPOS registration fee is distinct from the health plan’s DMEPOS provider surety bond requirement, from which optometrists have been exempted unless they provide eyeglasses to the public without any sort of examination of the patient, and separate from the DMEPOS accreditation requirement, until the CMS decides to implement supplier standards for physicians.
Source: newsfromaoa.org

New AMIC Survey Data Shows 2010 Medicare Payment Cuts Forcing Physician Practices and Imaging Providers to Reduce Patient

In the past, the Obama Administration has proposed using RBMs in the Medicare program.  However, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)  previously weighed in on prior authorization in the Medicare program, noting in 2008 that a prior authorization program could be “inconsistent with the public nature of the Medicare program,” since such programs rely on private companies using proprietary systems to deny care prescribed by a physician.  HHS also noted that the Medicare appeals process guaranteed to every beneficiary could overturn a “high proportion” of denials, rendering the policy ineffective.  In an environment of reduced reimbursements, the AMIC survey further demonstrates that application of RBMs is an ineffective model imposing unnecessary administrative costs on practices, thereby creating artificial barriers for patients in need of care.
Source: rightscanrighttime.org

Michigan Home Health Providers Fend Off Unionization, Hold onto Medicare Funding

AAHomecare AARP AARP Public Policy Institute Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation Almost Family Amedisys Amedisys Inc. American Association for Homecare American Association for Long Term Care Insurance Apria Healthcare Group Brookdale Senior Living Care.com Center for Medicare Advocacy CMS Employee Benefit Research Institute Ensign Group featured First Care Home Health Care Gentiva Gentiva Health Services Gentiva Health Services Inc. HHS Home Health Depot Home Health International Home Visit Doctors Houston Compassionate Care Humana IntegraCare Intel-GE Care Innovations Jordan Health Services Kindred Healthcare Mathematica Policy Research MDLIVE MedPAC Microsoft Milford Regional Medical Center National Association for Home Care & Hospice Nationwide Northwestern Medicine Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare PHI Sentara Healthcare VA Visiting Nurse Association
Source: homehealthcarenews.com

GAO: More enrollees take advantage of Medicare Savings Programs

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

Newsweek Magazine (February 16, 2009) ... Lenders Add Bigger Fannie, Freddie Fee – Thanks to Payroll Tax Cut (January 15, 2012) ...item 2.. Dupuy: GOP trying to sell pyrmaid scheme to voters (September 3, 2012) ... by marsmet526Despite historically low numbers, enrollment for the Medicare Savings Programs is up, the Government Accountability Office reported Friday. With enrollment rising every year since 2007, the report suggests the Social Security Administration has been successful at eliminating barriers to enrollment, which could reduce Medicaid spending for certain beneficiaries. Historically, low enrollment has been attributed to a lack of awareness about the four programs (Qualified Medicare Beneficiary, Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary, Qualifying Individual, and Qualified Disabled and Working Individual), as well as cumbersome enrollment processes through state Medicaid programs, GAO noted. For instance, in 2004, only a third (33 percent) of eligible beneficiaries were enrolled for the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary program, and only 13 percent were enrolled in the Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary program, the report noted.
Source: fiercehealthcare.com

Video: Medicare Shared Savings Program Overview 12/7/11

Westlaw Insider | Blog | New Medicare Shared Savings program likely to create conflict for physicians: Impact on malpractice?

Ferd H. Mitchell’s university faculty career includes teaching, researching and publishing in technical, management and health care disciplines. He has served as an academic administrator for a medical school, where he was director of a master’s degree program, and as vice-president of a company operating a contracted-out Medicaid program. He has performed numerous health care studies for federal and state governments. Ferd received a fellowship from the Japan Foundation to present a series of lectures in Japan on the U.S. health care system. He also participated, as the only U.S. representative, in a European study group developing new approaches to meeting the health care needs of the elderly.
Source: westlawinsider.com

West Des Moines Hospital Joins Voluntary Medicare Savings Program

“Using Mercy health coaches, our patients with chronic conditions like diabetes, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and congestive heart failure will receive additional care coordination between scheduled medical visits,” Swieskowski said. “Our well-patients will also benefit. Wellness information and access to wellness activities, including screenings and immunizations, will help prevent or detect an illness before it becomes serious.”
Source: patch.com

Physicians Leading Majority of ACOs in Medicare Shared Savings Program

This week, CMS unveiled the 27 health systems it has chosen to participate in Medicare’s Shared Savings Program as accountable care organizations (ACOs). But what’s most interesting about the announcement is not the number of ACOs that will be formed, but the type of ACOs that will be formed. “There were some people who feared that the only entities that would participate would be hospital-dominated systems,” Jonathan Blum, director of the Center for Medicare at the CMS, said in a call with reporters, according to ModernHealthcare. “That has not happened.” In fact, just over half of the health systems chosen to participate in the shared savings program — which will receive financial incentives if they manage to improve quality of patient care at reduced costs — are physician-led, according to CMS. [For more information on ACOs from a physician-perspective, read “ACOs: A Guide for Physicians.”] Essentially, it appears that more and more physicians are embracing new models of care — and they are beginning to take the lead when it comes to adopting them. Not only that, larger healthcare systems and hospitals appear to be looking for physicians to take on more leadership roles. Why? As reimbursement shifts from volume of services to value of services, physicians will help determine a health system’s financial success or failure. That’s because physicians work closest with patients, they make the key treatment decisions, and as a result, they play a key role in quality and cost of care. “To be successful, healthcare organizations can no longer afford to use the ‘us’ (practitioners) against ‘them’ (administrators) paradigm,” Christine Mackey-Ross, a senior vice president of the executive search firm Witt/Kieffer, wrote in a recent article appearing in The Atlantic. “They need a combined talent approach that puts the best minds on the field, advancing quality, safety, and cost goals together.” She notes that there has already been a “major uptick” in the number of physicians who are taking on new leadership roles major healthcare systems, such as that of chief quality officer and chief clinical integration officer. In fact, according to Witt/Kieffer, 64 physician CEOs are already leading healthcare systems across the country, and many more physician executives are in the talent pipeline. Also in the pipeline? Many more physician-led ACOs. CMS is reviewing another 150 applications from additional ACOs seeking to enter the program in July. For now, the 27 ACOs just announced will serve an estimated 375,000 beneficiaries in 18 states, according to CMS. Florida and New York will each boast five ACOs; North Carolina and New Jersey, three; California, Texas, and Massachusetts, two; and Arizona, Kentucky, Georgia, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire, one. What do you think? Will new models of care like ACOs and new reimbursement trends result in more physician leadership roles? If so, how do you think that will influence the healthcare delivery system?
Source: physicianspractice.com

Study: Medicare ACOs May See Limited Savings From Quality Improvements

1. A composite of hemoglobin A1c below 8 percent, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol below 100 mg/dL, blood pressure below 140/90 mmHg, tobacco nonuse and use of aspirin. 2. HbA1c below 8 percent. In the simulation, across all measures, a 10 percentage point improvement in performance prevented up to 4.1 percent of adverse events, such as strokes, myocardial infarctions and microvascular complications. The prevented adverse events yielded up to 1.22 percent savings — below the 2 percent threshold CMS set for shared savings with providers. When the authors accounted for the costs of visits and tests needed to achieve the improved performance, only the composite, blood pressure, aspirin and smoking measures generated savings, ranging from 0.02 percent to approximately 1 percent. When the costs for drugs were also taken into account, savings were achieved for only blood pressure and smoking cessation measures, at 0.11 percent and 0.78 percent, respectively. ACOs would receive only 50 percent or 60 percent of these savings, depending on whether they are in the savings only or savings/losses ACO model. The authors suggest the limited savings from improving clinical performance means ACOs will need to find savings in other areas, such as care management programs and health IT.
Source: beckershospitalreview.com

Consumer Group Releases Report on Medicare Savings recertification State of New York

The report, recertification, New York: The revolving door of Medicare savings, calls to New York to replace the current paper recertification for MSPs with a passive renewal process, in which the state use the income data that is already automatically should recertify consumers whose income is unlikely to change from year to year. To ensure the integrity of the program, resources could be devoted to control only with consumers who may have a change of circumstances. This process should ensure the continued health coverage for New Yorkers and reduce administrative costs borne by the State of New York.
Source: fast-pms-remedy.com

Marci’s Medicare Answers

COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act) is the federal law that gives you the right to continue your health insurance once it ends because of job loss, divorce, death or other reasons. COBRA is also known as “continuation coverage” and acts as a secondary payer to Medicare. This means that Medicare pays first on any health care services you receive and COBRA pays second. COBRA is not considered current employer insurance. You should enroll into Medicare when you become eligible to ensure that you have primary health insurance and to avoid any gaps in your health care coverage.
Source: homeboundresources.com

Viewpoints: ‘Bad Idea’ About Repealing Medicare Cost Board; Conservatives Say Health Law Repeal Fight Is Not Over

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

Healthcare Costs by Images_of_MoneyThe New York Times: A Bad Idea Resurfaces House Republicans like to talk about the need to find common ground with President Obama to make progress on important national issues, especially after the election. Yet within days, they were setting an agenda to eliminate an important element of his signature domestic achievement, the Affordable Care Act. Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the majority leader, recently proposed that House Republicans set their sights on repealing the part of the law that creates an independent board that is supposed to help limit growth in Medicare spending (11/17).
Source: kaiserhealthnews.org

Video: What Does Medicare Cost?

Daily Kos: Why Medicare and Medicaid cuts need to be off the table completely in fiscal talks

but health care costs are more tightly controlled.  Our medical care costs are driven sky high by people that have little or no health care until they reach Medicare age and then their lifetime of bad health becomes incredibly expensive.  We also have a medical system that is rewarded for finding and curing disease, so they find and cure non-existent cancers….wella….early detection and cures for microscopic cells that may or may not turn into cancer.  They scare people to death, poison them and call it a miracle and charge hundreds of thousands of dollars. ….it is a hell of a bad system.   We also fail to coordinate care which means, your specialist gives you a medication and then you never see them again, your primary fails to monitor and you end up being made incredibly ill by the side effects of the medication.   I have recently seen two cases of this and it is expensive and very damaging.  You have seniors taking 10 medications, what they hell would you need 10 medications for.  They just keep piling them on instead of addressing the problem.  Yes, there are people with special conditions that need all the meds but the “average” old person has a counter full of crap, all expensive and paid for by Medicare.  
Source: dailykos.com

Chart: Medicare Costs for Seniors Increase Under Obama’s Plan

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Source: heritage.org

Best Bets for Reducing Medicare Costs for Dual Eligible Beneficiaries: Assessing the Evidence

With pressure mounting to slow the growth in federal health care spending, policymakers are exploring ways to reform the way care is delivered to the 9 million low-income Medicare beneficiaries who also receive Medicaid – a group that on average is sicker and frailer than other Medicare beneficiaries, and therefore receive significantly more care at greater cost. Major efforts are underway at the federal and state level to better coordinate care for this population and lower health care costs – with some estimates projecting hundreds of billions of dollars in savings over the next decade.
Source: kff.org

Medicare cost control in action

Modern Principles of Economics Launching The Innovation Renaissance The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All the Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will(Eventually) Feel Better Create Your Own Economy: The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World Discover Your Inner Economist Good and Plenty: The Creative Successes of American Arts Funding Judge and Jury: American Tort Law on Trial Markets and Cultural Voices: Liberty vs. Power in the Lives of Mexican Amate Painters (Economics, Cognition, and Society) The Voluntary City: Choice, Community, and Civil Society (Economics, Cognition, and Society) Creative Destruction: How Globalization Is Changing the World’s Cultures Changing the Guard: Private Prisons and the Control of Crime What Price Fame? In Praise of Commercial Culture Entrepreneurial Economics: Bright Ideas from the Dismal Science
Source: marginalrevolution.com

The cold, hard realities behind Medicare cuts

I’ll be 78 in January so I guess I’m a high-maintenance Medicare user. I belong to a terrific nonprofit with salaried doctors, excellent care, and a five-star Medicare rating. The fact is we shouldn’t have Medicare. We should have gone to a single-payer system for everybody decades ago, which would have spread out the cost among the healthy and the not-so-healthy. But of course reactionary screams of socialism and horror tales about coverage in other countries prevented that from ever happening. As a result we have wasted millions on private insurance dividends and executive salaries. Now we are reaping what we have sown. So when I’ve spent my savings down to their last fifty bucks, I’ll buy a six-pack and some barbiturates, which will end any need I have for Medicare.
Source: politico.com

Is Medicare More Efficient Than Private Insurance

From 1970 to 2009, Medicare spending per beneficiary grew by an average of 1 percentage point less each year than comparable private insurance premiums. Between 2000 and 2009, Medicare’s cost advantage was even larger – its spending per beneficiary grew at an average annual rate of 5.1 percent while per-capita premiums for private health insurance plans grew at 7.2 percent, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Source: patinleftfield.com

GOP Counteroffer Would Raise Medicare’s Eligibility Age To 67

Posted by:  :  Category: Medicare

Benefit Security Card .. HALF of the U.S live in households that receive government benefits (26 May 2012) ...item 2.. Brevard man gets 4 years in Social Security fraud case (Jun 1, 2012 ) ... by marsmet481McClatchy: GOP Fiscal-Cliff Counter: Cut Tax Rates, Limit Deductions To Increase Revenue A Republican proposal Monday to shave $2.2 trillion off projected budget deficits sets up a fiscal-cliff showdown with the White House because the plan includes reductions in the very tax rates that Democrats seek to raise. The Obama administration’s opening offer sought to raise $1.6 trillion in taxes over 10 years, much of it from higher income-tax rates on the wealthy. Republican leaders in the House of Representatives countered Monday with their own offer, saying their plan would raise $800 billion in new tax revenues but basing that on cuts in tax rates coupled with limits on deductions that would make more income taxable. …The other $900 billion would come from so-called mandatory programs and health care, presumably Medicare, Medicaid and other programs in which spending is often subject to automatic formulas (Lightman and Hall, 12/3).
Source: kaiserhealthnews.org

Video: Improving Medicare in 2011

GOP plan would raise Medicare age, lower Social Security COLAs, while raising $800B in revenue

Here at Maclean’s, we appreciate the written word. And we appreciate you, the reader. We are always looking for ways to create a better user experience for you and wanted to try out a new functionality that provides you with a reading experience in which the words and fonts take centre stage. We believe you’ll appreciate the clean, white layout as you read our feature articles. But we don’t want to force it on you and it’s completely optional. Click "View in Clean Reading Mode" on any article if you want to try it out. Once there, you can click "Go back to regular view" at the top or bottom of the article to return to the regular layout.
Source: macleans.ca

DSCC: Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

Nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation And Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Republican Plan Would Drive Up Seniors’ Out-Of-Pocket Costs By $6,400. In April 2011, Politifact reported “According to the CBO analysis (see page 20 -25), under the Ryan [Republican budget] plan, the $8,000 premium support voucher in 2022 would cover 39 percent of the cost of the average private plan for a 65-year-old. Which means the plan actually costs about $20,500 and that beneficiaries would be on the hook for about $12,500 of the cost. The CBO also presented estimates for an ‘alternative fiscal scenario’ –- which incorporates ‘several changes to then-current law that were widely expected to occur or that would modify some provisions of law that might be difficult to sustain for a long period.’ Under this scenario, the typical beneficiary who enrolled in traditional Medicare would pay about 30 percent of the cost of the average private plan in 2022, or about $6,150. In other words, the increased amount the 65-year-old would have to pay would be about $6,400. The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, which did an analysis of the CBO data, came up with the same numbers as Obama. So did the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.” [Politifact, 4/18/2011; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 4/7/2011; Kaiser Family Foundation, 4/2011]
Source: dscc.org

Eligible For Medicare? Learn New Changes And Benefits for 2011

Audio Included in Post. Runs 17 Minutes. Audio ©2010 WTLC/Radio One. Crystal Thomas, Regional Director of the Department of Health and Human Services recently talked with Amos and Afternoons with Amos about the Open Enrollment period for Medicare.  In the interview Thomas talks about positive changes in medicare as part of the new Health Care Law.  Listen to the interview above.  And click beflow to go diretly to the Medicare Web Site.
Source: praiseindy.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

Budgets cuts will hurt the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians

But proposals to replace the sequester with significant cuts to other core programs, like Medicaid and Medicare, will also cost jobs and threaten vital services.  If federal Medicaid funding to states were cut by 5%, Pennsylvania would lose an estimated $1,505,722,000 in potential business activity.  These cuts would result in 12,230 job losses in Pennsylvania alone.  Cuts to Medicaid would limit access to healthcare for people in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, 2,215,700 people were enrolled in Medicaid in June 2011.  Because more than 95% of Medicaid costs are used toward health benefits, even minor cuts to Medicaid would result in loss of benefits, services, and access for the most vulnerable populations, especially in a time when more people are accessing Medicaid.
Source: fightforphilly.org