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Monthly Archives: May 2016

Can I Appeal a Part D Late Enrollment Penalty (Lep)?

Dear Marci,

I enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B a few years ago when I turned 65, but I only recently signed up for a Part D plan. Then I received a notice from the plan telling me that my monthly Part D premium payment will go up because I have a late enrollment penalty on top of my regular premium. Is there any way I can get this penalty to go away?

Carter (Tupelo, MS)

a roll of bills from which spill out pills of many colors
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Medicare Rights Applauds Proposal to Enhance Educational Materials for People Newly Enrolled in Medicare

This week, Medicare Rights expressed support for a formal process to update the “Welcome to Medicare” package and enhance education and understanding among newly eligible beneficiaries about enrollment considerations and rules. In a letter to Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and Ranking Member Jim McDermott (D-WA), leaders of the Health Subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, we applauded this provision in the Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act of 2016 (H.R. 5273), a bipartisan bill advanced by the Committee on Ways and Means.

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Commonwealth Fund Highlights Risk of High Health Care Costs for Some People with Medicare

In an issue brief released this month, the Commonwealth Fund examines the risk of high health care costs for a certain segment of the Medicare population. For more than 50 years, Medicare has provided guaranteed health benefits for millions of older adults and people with disabilities. Yet, a significant number of people with Medicare are exposed to high health care costs, with lower income populations being the most at risk.

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Medicare Rights in Partnership with Health Care Learning & Action Network

This month, the Health Care Payment Learning & Action Network formally acknowledged the Medicare Rights Center as a Committed Partner. Medicare Rights supports the goal of linking 50 percent of U.S. health care payments to quality and value through alternative payment models by 2018. Medicare Rights directly answers nearly 17,000 Medicare questions each year on its free, multilingual helpline, and as a Committed Partner Medicare Rights will provide counseling to ensure that its clients — beneficiaries, caregivers, and professionals — are educated about Medicare-related alternative payment models.

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Kaiser Family Foundation Releases Update on 2016 Medicare Advantage Market

The Kaiser Family Foundation recently released an update on the Medicare Advantage (MA) plan market in 2016. According to the report, enrollment in MA plans continues to increase despite concerns that adjustments in payments to MA plans enacted by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would stifle enrollment. These payment adjustments were put in place to reduce overpayments to MA plans and align costs with Traditional Medicare. As of 2016, payment reductions are fully implemented in 78 percent of counties, which accounts for 70 percent of people with Medicare and 68 percent of people with MA plans.

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Infographic: Three Tips for Communicating With Insurers

If you are like most people, you have called your insurance provider with a question, been put on hold, and finally reached a representative only to discover you did not have all the necessary documents in front of you.

It can be easier. This infographic provides some tips to help you get the best results when communicating with insurers. Remember: If you have questions about your insurance coverage, whether you have Original Medicare or get your benefits through a Medicare Advantage Plan (such as an HMO or PPO), you have the right to get answers.

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Celebrating the Many Contributions of Our Volunteers

At the Medicare Rights Center, our trained volunteers provide counseling on the national Consumer Helpline to over 15,000 callers each year with questions about Medicare issues. They also assist with the processing of applications for benefits that provide critical health care savings for people with Medicare on limited incomes, and they provide administrative support on various in-house projects. All together, our committed volunteers give over 8,000 hours a year of their time.

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Kaiser Family Foundation Brief Highlights Decline in Employer Sponsored Retiree Health Plans

According to a recent issue brief by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), from 1988 to 2015 there was a considerable decrease in the number of large employers that offer retiree health coverage. In 1988, 66 percent of large employers with 200 or more employees offered retiree health benefits and just 23 percent of large employers offered these benefits in 2015.

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