• Medicare

    Getting Medicare Right – Three Big Deals

    There are three big deals about getting Medicare right: Enroll at the right time. Medicare has a bewildering mix of enrollment periods. You need to use the right one. There’s your Initial Enrollment Period, the General Enrollment Period, the Annual Election Period and various Special Enrollment Periods. Determining which one fits you best is where I come in. Choose the right mix of Medicare coverage. There are only two main paths here. One is Original Medicare (Parts A & B), combined with a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) policy, plus a Part D prescription drug plan. The other path is a Medicare “Advantage” plan (which in most cases I advise against). Understanding…

  • Medicare

    10 illegal Medigap practices to watch for

    10 illegal Medigap practices to watch for. Call the Inspector General’s hotline if you believe a federal law has been broken, like if someone tries to: Pressure you to buy a Medigap policy or lie to get you to switch to a new company or policy. Sell you a second Medigap policy when they know you already have one. (You can only have one at a time.) Sell you a Medigap policy if they know you have Medicaid, except in certain situations. Sell you a Medigap policy if they know you’re in a Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan. (We can replace your MA policy, but you can’t have both at the same time.) Claim that a…

  • Health Care Reform,  Individual Health Insurance

    Short-Term Health Insurance Plans Final Rule

    On August 1st, the Departments of Health & Human Services (HHS), Labor, and Treasury issued the Short-Term Health Insurance Plans Final Rule that changes the maximum duration of short-term, limited-duration health insurance coverage from any period less than 3 months to any period less than 12 months. Short-term health insurance plans, limited-duration coverage is designed to fill gaps in coverage that may occur when an individual is transitioning from one plan or coverage to another plan or coverage, such as an individual who is between jobs. These plans are not required to comply with Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions that apply to individual health coverage plans. Short-term, limited-duration coverage is not considered to be Qualifying Health…

  • Medicare

    Five Myths About Medicare

    Here’s the main five myths about Medicare. It’s been around since 1965, when LBJ signed the H.R. 6675 act in Independence, Missouri. During the Medicare initiation ceremony, Former President Truman was issued the very first Medicare card. According to the National Academy of Social Insurance, only about half of elderly U.S. residents had health insurance at the time Medicare was enacted. Even though Medicare has been around for over 50 years, myths about Medicare continue. Myth #1: Seniors living longer will bankrupt Medicare. Today, it seems like living to an old age is an inconvenience to society. The cost of caring for the elderly has been a major concern. However, new studies show that end-of-life care costs have…

  • Medicare

    Social Security Number Removed from Medicare ID Cards

    I know I’ve address this previously, but it’s worth repeating that a few months ago the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) started issuing Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) numbers in place of Health Insurance Claim Numbers (HICN) (i.e your social security number) on Medicare ID cards. The new ID cards will be mailed out in phases by geographic location. What is the goal? The Social Security Administration hopes to decrease Medicare beneficiaries’ vulnerability to identity theft. How will they do this? They will replace the current SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) shown on Medicare ID Cards with a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) number that does not contain…

  • Medicare

    Does Your Doctor Accept Medicare

    Does your doctor accept Medicare, ninety percent of physicians do take Medicare. It’s called Medicare Assignment, and if your provider accepts Medicare Assignment, there will be no Excess Charges outside of your Part B deductible ($183). There are basically four types of relationships a physician can have with Medicare. None at all, they simply do not accept Medicare. Physician accepts Assignment of Benefits, meaning they bill Medicare. Physician does not accept Assignment and can require you to pay the Medicare allowed amount. Medicare or your Medigap policy can reimburse you. However, the physician can charge an additional 15% surcharge. Doctor accepts Medicare Assignment, but not new patients. Most of the time…

  • Medicare

    Paying Part A & Part B premiums

    Paying Part A & B premiums. If you get Social Security benefits, your Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) premium will get deducted from your benefit payment. Will I get a bill for my Part A or Part B premiums? If you sign up for Part B and you don’t get Social Security, you’ll get a bill called a “Medicare Premium Bill”. If you buy Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) or you owe Part D income-related monthly adjustment amount (IRMAA), you’ll always get a “Medicare Premium Bill” (CMS-500) each month for your premium. There are 4 ways to pay your Medicare bill: 1. Pay directly from your bank account through your bank’s online bill payment service. Contact your bank or go to their…