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Monthly Archives: November 2016

Infographic: How to Spot Medicare Fraud

Medicare fraud is when doctors or other providers deceive Medicare into paying when it should not or paying more than it should. This is against the law and should be reported.

To report fraud you should either contact 1-800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) or the Inspector General’s fraud hotline at 1-800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477). When it investigates the potential fraud, Medicare will not use your name if you do not want it to.

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Turning 65 and Preparing for Medicare

In January, I’ll blow out the candles on my 65th birthday cake. A family member recently reminded me that I will soon be eligible for Medicare, but this is something I’ve been thinking about all year. It used to annoy me to contemplate growing another year older, yet when it […]

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Medicare Part B Premiums Announced for 2017

Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the Medicare Part B premiums for 2017. Starting January 1, most people with Medicare will see a small increase in their Part B premium, from $104.90 to an average of $109.00 per month. But about 30 percent of people covered by Medicare will see a minimum Part B premium of $134.00, a 10 percent increase from the minimum 2016 premium of $121.80.

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Moving Forward with Renewed Vigor

After last week’s election, the country faces uncertainty on many fronts. Obviously, health care will be a major focus of Congress and the new Administration, although the implications for people with Medicare and their families remain unclear.

You may have already seen news reports about how some members of Congress want to privatize Medicare and transform the Medicare program as we know it today. By no means is this new news, but the election results brought about renewed interest in these ideas.

The Medicare Rights Center will continue to work tirelessly to protect and strengthen Medicare, and we will keep you informed every step of the way.

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Breaking Down Plans to Privatize Medicare

You may be reading news reports about how some members of Congress want to privatize Medicare. By no means is this new news, but this week’s election results brought about renewed interest in these plans. In years past, proposals to privatize Medicare—commonly known as premium support—relied on vouchers that people with Medicare would receive from the federal government to purchase private health plans. Past proposals had important differences: some introduce vouchers for future beneficiaries, some preserve Traditional Medicare as an option, some include defined benefits and consumer protections, etc.

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Medicare Rights Voices Support for Proposed Medigap Consumer Protections

Earlier this fall, the Medigap Consumer Protection Act of 2016 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill would expand access to Medicare supplemental insurance plans, commonly called “Medigap” plans.

Medigap plans are already popular, and many people on Medicare find they are an invaluable part of their health care coverage. As the name suggests, Medigap plans cover gaps in the Medicare program that mostly revolve around out-of-pocket expenses. But while people 65 and older are guaranteed access to Medicap, albeit with significant limitations, people who are under 65 and enrolled in Medicare are not guaranteed access. Some states require Medigap access, but there is no federal right to purchase a Medigap plan for this population.

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Proposed Improvements to Medicare Coverage and Enrollment Offer Important Protections

This week, the Medicare Rights Center submitted a letter of strong support for the Medicare Affordability and Enrollment Act of 2016. Introduced this fall, this bill would cap beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket expenses in Traditional Medicare; eliminate coverage gaps associated with Part B enrollment mistakes; reduce cost-sharing for low-income beneficiaries; increase eligibility for income-dependent programs; and modernize the Medicare enrollment system to facilitate easier enrollment, begin coverage earlier and reduce arbitrary late-enrollment penalties that today are paid for a lifetime.

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American Institutes for Research Highlights Need to Fix Complex Medicare Enrollment System

A new set of issue briefs by the Center on Aging at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) highlights the growing complexities facing thousands of people each day as they become eligible for Medicare. One of the briefs, Medicare Enrollment Maze Puts Older Americans at Risk for Financial Penalties and Coverage Gaps, examines a relatively recent trend where the age of Medicare eligibility and the age of retirement have moved further apart.

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