Medicare Rights in the News

We routinely provide the press with news that impacts millions of people with Medicare—and their family, friends, coworkers and communities. By alerting print, broadcast and online media outlets, we’re able to keep people abreast of changes in the Medicare program, share our research findings and recommendations for reform, and inform them about new Medicare Rights Center initiatives. Our experts, services and resources are often featured in the news. Here are some recent examples that have appeared in prominent media outlets:

Congress Considers Bill to Address Medicare Late Penalties, Coverage Gap

Some 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day and become eligible for Medicare, but enrollment mistakes can subject them to a lifetime of late penalties, as well as a months-long coverage gap. Legislation that would fix these problems was one of the bills discussed at a hearing held by the House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee 2 weeks ago.

Why Won’t Congress Ease Medicare Enrollment For Those Not Yet Taking Social Security?

You are turning 65. But- like 40 percent of other 65-year-olds- you have not yet claimed your Social Security benefits. For many older adults, that choice makes good financial sense. Except for one problem: You may find yourself getting hit with big penalties for failing to enroll in Medicare. Why?

The 2020 Health Power 100; 51-100

Arthur Fougner was elected last year to lead the Medical Society of the State of New York, the state’s primary nonprofit professional organization for physicians, residents and medical students. The Northwell Health gynecologist is responsible for advocating on behalf of physicians across the state and advancing legislative agendas to improve public health.

Medicare open enrollment ends soon. What to do if you picked the wrong coverage

For Medicare’s 61 million or so beneficiaries, Saturday marks the day that their coverage for 2020 is locked in – sort of. The fall enrollment period, which opened Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7, is when you can make certain changes to your Medicare coverage, effective Jan. 1.

Website Errors Raise Calls For Medicare To Be Flexible With Seniors’ Enrollment

This story also ran on This story can be republished for free ( NPR. details). Saturday is the deadline for most people with Medicare coverage to sign up for private drug and medical plans for next year.

This Medicare Open Season, Review Your Part D Drug Benefit

A word of advice now that we are in the midst of Medicare’s open season: Please review your Part D drug coverage. If you don’t, you are likely to see your premiums and copays rise. And you could be missing out on an opportunity to find a less costly plan in a market where premium prices alone can vary by six-fold.

Shopping For The New Medicare Advantage Supplemental Benefits

By Fred Riccardi, Medicare Rights Center President and Next Avenue Contributor Beginning this year and continuing into 2020, Medicare Advantage plans (ones from private insurers) have increased flexibility to provide coverage for what the government calls supplemental benefits. These are services otherwise excluded by law from what’s known as Original Medicare coverage.

Medicare Part B premiums going up about $10 a month in 2020

A jump in the cost of Medicare Part B premiums is going to put a dent in the Social Security checks of some recipients next year. The standard monthly premium for enrollees will be $144.60 in 2020, almost $10 a month more than the current $135.50, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which recently released the figures.

Medicare’s outpatient ‘Part B’ premium going up to $144.60

WASHINGTON (AP) – Medicare’s “Part B” premium for outpatient care will rise by nearly 7% to $144.60 a month next year, officials said Friday. They blamed rising spending on medications. The $9.10 monthly increase follows a smaller $1.50 rise this year.

Medicare open enrollment 2020: Skipping this step, or rushing through, could cost you

About 60 million Medicare recipients have the chance to change their coverage during the health care service’s annual open enrollment season, which opened on October 15 and closes on December 7. But research indicates fewer than 4 in 10 seniors review their Medicare plan each year to find the best deal.

Medicare 2020: 4 major changes you should know about

Medicare open enrollment for 2020 begins this week, and it’s important for newcomers and repeat enrollees to understand some key changes to the program. Between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7, you can sign up for the first time for Medicare. You can also change from Medicare to Medicare Advantage, health insurance plans administered by private insurers.

Perspective | Medicare open enrollment starts Oct. 15. Do a checkup on your coverage.

If you’re covered under Medicare, don’t let complacency prevent you from reviewing your health insurance options and maybe saving some money. Open enrollment for Medicare begins Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7. It is during this period that those covered by Medicare – people 65 and older – can change their health plan and prescription drug coverage for 2020.

Shopping For Medicare? What To Know About The New Plan Finder

The Fall Open Enrollment Period for Medicare is nearly here, running October 15 through December 7. It’s the time for people 65 and older to sign up for Medicare plans for 2020 to ensure they’ll have coverage meeting their needs. The Medicare site’s Medicare Plan Finder tool can help find plans in your area, but it was just updated significantly.

As Medicare Enrollment Nears, Popular Price Comparison Tool Is Missing

For more than a decade, customers used the online plan finder to compare dozens of policies. Yet after a redesign of the website, the search results no longer list which plan offers a customer the best value. Federal officials say it will be fixed before enrollment begins next week.

Medicare Shopping Season Is Here

Every fall, the 60 million Americans who use the health plan can compare options and save money. Here’s what to consider. If you’re enrolled in Medicare but worry about the cost of health care, your chance to do something about it is here. Most people enroll in Medicare when they become eligible at age 65.

Trump’s Medicare Plan Gets Mixed Reviews

Reactions to President Trump’s plans to revamp Medicare — outlined in an executive order released Thursday — split largely along partisan lines, with most medical professional societies preferring to remain on the sidelines for now.

Opinion | Medicare and the Trump Budget: Differing Views

Re ” Not All Medicare Cuts Are Bad ” (editorial, March 26): While your editorial board and the Trump administration may not always see eye to eye, this editorial finds important areas of agreement. The president’s 2020 budget takes thoughtful steps to strengthen and protect the Medicare program for America’s seniors.

Unhappy With Your Medicare Advantage Plan? It’s Not Too Late to Switch

If you’re unhappy with your Medicare Advantage plan, you still have time to change it. Consumer Reports explains how to choose the right Medicare plan for you.

If You Do Medicare Sign-Up Wrong, It Will Cost You

Retiring Tony Farrell turned 65 four years ago – the age when most people shift their health coverage to Medicare. But he was still employed and covered by his company’s group insurance. When his birthday came around, he began researching whether he needed to move to Medicare, and determined he could stick with his employer’s plan, said Mr. Farrell, a marketing and merchandising executive for specialty retailers.

Denied by Medicare Advantage? Here’s what to do

If a Medicare Advantage plan denies you coverage for medically necessary care, don’t take it lying down. File an appeal, and your odds are good that the plan will overturn its decision.

How Does the Government Shutdown Affect Medicare?

Plus, find out about the partial shutdown’s impact on health coverage for veterans and government employees. By , Contributing Editor Q Does the government shutdown affect Medicare enrollment, claims or support? ANo. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been funded through September 30, 2019, and its programs (Medicare and Medicaid) haven’t been affected by the partial government shutdown.

What’s New For Medicare In 2019?

Medicare costs change each year, so if you’re 65 or older, it’s important to understand and review your benefits for the upcoming year. Some new rules affect the cost of prescription drugs covered under Part D (Medicare’s prescription drug benefit) and change the times when you can revise your Medicare health and drug coverage.

Let’s See How Ready for Retirement You Really Are

I’m planning to retire in 2019, but the turmoil in the markets has me worried. Any thoughts about retiring in a bear market? Is it better to wait for things to settle down? I have no idea when, or if, markets will settle down.

Medicare Advantage plans get unfair push from U.S. government: critics

Insurance companies do not need any help marketing Medicare Advantage plans – just ask anyone over age 65 about the pitches that clog their mailboxes every year during the fall enrollment period, or check out the television ads that flood cable channels.

Paying Cash Can Help Exit Medicare Drug Doughnut Hole

Counting your out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions under Medicare can get you out of the coverage gap faster. By , Associate Editor Given the high cost of many prescription drugs, you sometimes are better off paying a lower cash price instead of using insurance. Why?

GUIDE TO MEDICARE: Where to go for help

Help is available for Medicare questions and to see if you qualify for financial assistance. Here are some resources: Call 1-800-Medicare to speak to a representative and review your plan choices with you over the phone. People outside of New York State can call 1-800-Medicare for assistance over the phone.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Sign Up for Medicare Part B

The New Old Age Twenty years ago, George Zeppenfeldt-Cestero left his job as a hospital administrator in New York to open a one-person health care consulting firm. Since he was losing his employee medical coverage, he shopped around and bought a private health insurance plan through Aetna.

How to Review Your Medicare Plan’s Prescription Coverage

Signing up for Medicare can be a daunting task, but once you’re in, your work isn’t done yet. It’s important to review your plan every year during open enrollment – from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year – because rules and coverages change from one year to the next.

Finding home healthcare under Medicare plans can be difficult

Social worker is visiting a senior woman in her own apartment. Getty Images Due to its elderly population, South Florida is the most competitive market in the country for Medicare plans. Home healthcare is a “a necessary benefit” of Medicare, said Kathleen Sarmiento, SHINE (Servicing Health Insurance Needs of Elders) Liaison at the Alliance for Aging.

Have You Really Been Admitted – as an Inpatient – to the Hospital?

You’re in a hospital bed, and there you remain overnight – perhaps longer. Whatever adversity you’re facing, one thing you may never consider is whether or not you’ve been admitted to the hospital: that is, specifically, if you’re an inpatient. Under most circumstances, a patient cared for in the hospital is – or quickly becomes – an inpatient.

These free resources can help with your Medicare decisions

There are a number of good resources you can turn to that can help you choose Medicare coverage that better suits your needs. Dear Savvy Senior, I’m considering making changes in my Medicare coverage during the open-enrollment period. Can you recommend any free resources that can help with my choices?

Social Security Benefits to Get 2.8% Boost, Largest Since 2012

WASHINGTON-Seniors and other Americans receiving Social Security will see the largest increase to their benefits in seven years in January, a bit of relief that for the first time in years won’t be largely consumed by higher health-care costs.

New Laws Lift ‘Gag Clauses’ on Pharmacists

The changes ban rules in pharmacy contracts with insurers that prevented pharmacists from suggesting ways to save money on prescriptions. By , Associate Editor When you pick up your prescription at your local drugstore, you may not be aware that the pharmacist might be prohibited from telling you whether you could save money by paying out of pocket instead of using your insurance.

Medicare Fall Open Enrollment Advice

If you are enrolled in Medicare – the federal health insurance program for people 65 and older and some people with disabilities – you will soon have the opportunity to make changes to your health and prescription drug coverage. Medicare’s Fall Open Enrollment begins Monday, October 15 and lasts through Friday, December 7.

How Preexisting Conditions Can Affect Medigap Insurance

In many cases, insurers can take preexisting conditions into account when deciding whether to sell you a medigap policy and what to charge you. By , Contributing Editor Q Is it true that an insurance company can factor in preexisting conditions when deciding whether to offer you a medigap policy or when setting the premiums? AThat’s correct.

Full interview: Health-care policy expert Julie Carter talks about the future of Medicare and Medicaid

While Medicare and Medicaid have become programs on which many American seniors rely, the programs are facing issues as the U.S. population is aging and the use of prescription drugs has become more common.

Opinion | Medicare Advantage Perks

Re ” New Medicare Advantage Perks, and Questions ” (The New Old Age, Science Times, July 24): While it’s a step forward that some people with Medicare with chronic conditions will get assistance to help them continue to live at home, it also raises concerns.

Some Doctors, Patients Balk At Medicare’s ‘Flat Fee’ Payment Proposal

The Trump administration announced a plan Friday that would affect about 40 percent of the payments physicians receive from Medicare. Not everybody’s pleased. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services calls its proposed plan a historic effort to reduce paperwork and improve patient care.

Retirement: Medicare deadlines for older workers

Many workers are staying on the job — and on their employer’s health insurance — beyond the age of 65, when retirees usually sign up for Medicare . If you’re among them, once you retire, you will be eligible for a special enrollment period to sign up for Medicare.

Opinion | Unconscionable proposed changes to Medicare and Medicaid

Regarding the June 22 news article ” Government reorganization plan embraces conservative goals for safety net “: Last week, the House majority followed through with its plan to use deficits created by last year’s tax-cut legislation as an excuse to gut Medicare, Medicaid and other programs on which older adults and people with disabilities and their families rely.

U.S. Medicare expands offer to reverse late enrollment penalties

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Call it the Obamacare-Medicare penalty. You sign up for an Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace exchange health policy sometime before you turn 65 – and then you mistakenly stay there past age 65, when by law you need to switch to Medicare.

Ask Your Pharmacist This Question If You Want to Lower Your Medicare Drug Costs

If you are on Medicare, you can get cheaper prices on prescription drugs by asking the pharmacist if you can use cash instead of insurance.

Medicare Part D Drug Coverage Gap Closing at Faster Clip

Retirees should spend less on brand-name prescriptions in 2019, but it’s still a good idea to compare Part D options during open enrollment this fall. By , Editor Headlines earlier this year announced the “doughnut hole” in Medicare’s Part D prescription-drug coverage is closing ahead of schedule.

Ideology threatens to trump facts in official Medicare handbook

In September, the federal government will mail a handbook on Medicare enrollment to 43 million households. “Medicare & You” is an important, authoritative source on a wide array of plan options for the annual enrollment period that runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, and it has been mailed out to beneficiaries each year since 1999.

Shining Some Light on Traditional Medicare

Next year is expected to be Medicare managed care’s time in the sun. The managed care plans in the Medicare Advantage program are gearing up to submit bids by June 4 to serve beneficiaries in 2019. Enrollment is on the upswing.

If You’re 65 and Still Working, Avoid Pitfalls and Maximize Benefits

If you plan to delay retirement, watch out for these benefit traps. By , Senior Editor If saving enough money to retire comfortably is a math problem, working longer is the easiest way to solve it. And some people in their mid sixties simply aren’t ready to give up a career they love.

Senior advocates say new draft guide to Medicare distorts facts. Here’s what you need to know

Medicare & You is the government’s seminal guide to all things Medicare, and is a primary resource used by consumers in each year’s annual enrollment season beginning Oct. 15. As such, it is or should be the gold standard of reliable information for more than 65 million people already enrolled in Medicare and the millions of people who newly enroll each year.

Cuidado con los estafadores: esto es lo que debes saber sobre la nueva tarjeta de Medicare

A partir de abril, el programa de salud federal para adultos mayores enviará carnets que por razones de seguridad ya no contendrán el número de seguro social del beneficiario. Si recibes una llamada o correo electrónico solicitando información personal no respondas y repórtalo, advierten las autoridades.

There’s a Major Medicare Change Taking Place. Here’s Everything You Need to Know

The government is altering how 59 million Medicare recipients are identified.

More than 50 groups push Congress to extend Medicare programs

More than 50 health-care organizations are urging Congress to quickly pass a package of Medicare extenders, ideally in an upcoming short-term spending bill, arguing the delay could hurt seniors.

Medicare Vs. Medicare Advantage: How To Choose

As health insurers struggle with shifting government policies and considerable uncertainty, one market remains remarkably stable: Medicare Advantage plans. That’s good news for seniors as they select coverage for the year ahead during Medicare’s annual open enrollment period (this year running from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7).

Your 2018 Medicare Open Enrollment Checklist

Don’t love everything about your Medicare coverage? Here’s your chance to fix it. Medicare’s fall open enrollment period began Oct. 15 and runs until Dec. 7. This is the time when enrollees can re-shop their prescription drug coverage (Part D) or Advantage plans–the managed care all-in-one alternative to traditional Medicare.

Medicare open enrollment has begun: What you need to know

Most beneficiaries have from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 to decide on drug coverage and whether to switch from traditional Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan. Older or disabled Americans with Medicare coverage have probably noticed an uptick in mail solicitations from health insurance companies, which can mean only one thing: It’s time for the annual Medicare open enrollment.

Standard Medigap plans are learning some new tricks

Medigap supplement policies have begun to change, moving away from being the plain-vanilla member of the Medicare family. Increasingly, these private insurance policies are likely to cover health-club memberships and perhaps also set up health care provider networks to save money for themselves and their policyholders.

Keeping elderly in their homes a healthy goal

By 2030, the number of people aged 65 and older is expected to double in the United States. That statistic is alarming to Andrea M. Montgomery, director of St. Lawrence County’s Office for the Aging. Mrs.

My physician isn’t in my Medicare Advantage network. What can I do?

“My Medicare Advantage plan made a mistake about my physician network,” writes one of our readers. “The day my coverage began, I attempted to make an appointment with the physician, but was told by the insurance billing office that none of the physicians in their office is in the network!”

How to appeal higher Medicare premiums – InvestmentNews

It’s time to prepare higher-income clients for a nasty surprise that awaits some of them this fall. Notices of monthly surcharges involving both Medicare Part B and Part D premiums in 2018 will be sent to affected Medicare enrollees in October. But sometimes those surcharges can be reversed.

Social Security says I owe money for Medicare coverage I didn’t get. How do I appeal?

Editor’s Note: Journalist Philip Moeller is here to provide the answers you need on aging and retirement. His weekly column, “Ask Phil,” aims to help older Americans and their families by answering their health care and financial questions.

Five ways to get the most from Medicare

Looking for ways to save money in retirement? Start with healthcare. A healthy 65-year-old couple retiring this year can expect to spend $322,000 (today’s dollars) on Medicare premiums and dental insurance, according to Healthview Services, a maker of healthcare cost projection software. Add in deductibles, copays, hearing, vision, and dental cost sharing, and that figure rises to $404,000.

New Senate health bill still risky for older people’s premiums, any pre-existing conditions

Consumers could buy more bare-bones health insurance for less money under an amendment to the latest version Senate health plan, but insurers warn the change could cause premiums for older Americans and those with pre-existing conditions to skyrocket.

Medicaid cut in GOP health bill worries the nursing home set

The Senate Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act would cut projected Medicaid spending over the next decade by 25 percent. In the case of Bernard’s 83-year-old mother, retired teacher Franceen Golditch, the $4,000 that she receives each month from her pension and Social Security goes almost entirely to the nursing home.

As Seniors Get Sicker, They’re More Likely To Drop Medicare Advantage Plans

When Sol Shipotow enrolled in a new Medicare Advantage health plan earlier this year, he expected to keep the doctor who treats his serious eye condition. “That turned out not to be so,” said Shipotow, 83, who lives in Bensalem, Pa.

5 Ways to Get the Most From Medicare

Looking for ways to save money in retirement? Start with healthcare. A healthy 65-year-old couple retiring this year can expect to spend $322,000 (today’s dollars) on Medicare premiums and dental insurance, according to Healthview Services, a maker of healthcare cost projection software. Add in deductibles, copays, hearing, vision, and dental cost sharing, and that figure rises to $404,000.

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Feds To Waive Penalties For Some Who Signed Up Late For Medicare

UPDATE: Since this article was published, Medicare officials extended the deadline for applying for an exemption to the Part B late enrollment penalty to Sept. 30, 2018. The announcement came in a fact sheet posted on Oct. 12, 2017.

FAQs About Medicare

When you turn 65, you have to master a new health care system. We’re here to help. By , Contributing Editor From May 2017 About 10,000 people turn 65 every day, and along with that milestone comes a challenge: You need to get up to speed on the many ins and outs of Medicare.

Albany health experts still uncertain about Obamacare

A week ago, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan conceded defeat of his party’s proposal to replace the federal Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, declaring it “the law of the land.” Six days later, on Thursday, local health industry officials and consumer advocates were wondering anew whether that would remain true for, in Ryan’s words, “the foreseeable future,” as President Donald J.

Senior advocacy groups quick to applaud repeal bill failure

AARP and others say interests of older adults will be much better protected by continuing Obamacare.

This New Tweak to the GOP Health Care Bill Will Make Medicare Less Stable

Tweaks to the GOP Obamacare replacement bill would accelerate a tax break for the rich on the back of Medicare’s long-term strength.

Experts worry ObamaCare repeal plan puts Medicare trust fund at risk

A little noticed element of the Republican plan for repealing and replacing ObamaCare could put the Medicare trust fund at risk, experts worry. The plan, which faces a vote before the House Budget Committee on Thursday, would slash revenue for the fund that pays for hospital benefits – a precedent-setting move if signed into law.

By Law, Hospitals Now Must Tell Medicare Patients When Care Is ‘Observation’ Only

Under a new federal law, hospitals across the country must now alert Medicare patients when they are getting observation care and why they were not admitted – even if they stay in the hospital a few nights.

Column: What you need to know about Medicare this week

Editor’s Note: Journalist Philip Moeller is here to provide the answers you need on aging and retirement. His weekly column, “Ask Phil,” aims to help older Americans and their families by answering their health care and financial questions.

Ask Kim: Can I switch out of a Medicare Advantage plan now?

Q: I recently signed up for a Medicare Advantage plan and started to use it, but I discovered that some of my doctors weren’t included. Can I switch to another Medicare Advantage plan or switch back to traditional Medicare? A: You generally can’t switch to another Medicare Advantage plan until open enrollment in the fall, which runs from Oct.

Another Voice: Older New Yorkers stand to lose in health care debate

Congressional leaders and President Trump have made it clear: Upending our nation’s health care system is at the top of their agenda. First up, lawmakers intend to follow through on Trump’s campaign pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This action alone would profoundly affect older New Yorkers’ health care costs and access to care.

Tom Price owes us answers on Medicare, not clichés

Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance will convene a nomination hearing for Congressman Tom Price, President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). As the Committee that oversees Medicare, it’s essential that this hearing delve into the Congressman’s long held positions on the program, and particularly on any stance that forces people with Medicare to pay even higher health care costs.

Opinion | Medicare and the Health Law

Re ” The Coming Health Care Crisis ” (editorial, Jan. 5): Seniors and baby boomers should take note: The rush to repeal and delay the Affordable Care Act will harm them, too. Like working-class Americans and their families, people with Medicare are at grave risk.

Medicare pulls 2017 benefit details from Plan Finder

Medicare’s online Plan Finder, launched 11 years ago, is the federal government’s official one-stop shop for Medicare Advantage coverage offered through private insurers. Yet seniors eager to browse health care and prescription drug plans before 2017 open enrollment ends Dec. 7 may find the Plan Finder shelves a bit bare.

Here’s where you can find advice on figuring out Medicare

The Medicare Rights Center runs a hotline (800-333-4114, Monday through Friday) that answers more than 20,000 calls a year and also manages a helpful, information-packed website at In every state, federally funded programs offer individualized counseling to people who are preparing to enroll in Medicare.

How To Enroll In Medicare And Avoid Costly Mistakes

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that a special eight-month enrollment period is not available to seniors who work for small employers when they leave their jobs. Your 65th birthday is coming up. Soon, you think, the government will send you a packet explaining how to enroll in Medicare – its vast health program for 46 million seniors.

Some American have too much insurance

Ever since the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces opened for business in 2014, the Obama administration has worked hard to get Americans to sign up. Yet officials now are telling some older people that they might have too much insurance and should cancel their marketplace policies.

Medicare Annual Open Enrollment: 6 Steps for Picking the Best Plan

With all the media attention on Obamacare, it’s easy to overlook the annual open enrollment period for the nation’s more than 55 million Medicare beneficiaries, which runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. Now is the time to switch Medicare Advantage and stand-alone Part D prescription-drug plans

Medicare Open Enrollment Is Here: How to Save Hundreds a Month

Spending some time to search for better Medicare coverage can cut your monthly expenses by hundreds of dollars next year, even though the program doesn’t make it easy for retirees to find the best deals. Open enrollment for Medicare started Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7.

Medicare Open Enrollment 2016: What You Need to Know

Open enrollment for 2017 Medicare coverage began on Oct. 15. Here are key facts and places to find even more information. What is Medicare open enrollment? It’s an annual period when people with Medicare can change their coverage.

Seniors socked with huge unexpected bills after receiving hospital observation care

After three nights in the hospital following a fall, 73-year-old Gail Rubin learned she would need rehab in a skilled nursing facility before she could go back to her Lansdale home. Twenty-five days later, Rubin left rehab walloped with out-of-pocket expenses totaling more than $9,000 and a hard lesson in the high cost of Medicare’s complicated rules.

Medicare Enrollment Mistakes, Medicare Part D, and Enrollment

Earning 40 credits by paying payroll taxes at work – about 10 years’ work – ensures that you won’t have to pay premiums for Part A services (mainly hospital insurance) when you join Medicare. But you don’t need any work credits to qualify for Part B (doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical equipment) and Part D (prescription drugs), provided that you’re 65 or older, and a U.S.

Open enrollment period offers a chance for a Medicare ‘do-over’

Medicare’s open enrollment is a lemon law for health care. So says retirement expert Philip Moeller, author of the new book Get What’s Yours for Medicare: Maximize Your Coverage, Minimize Your Costs. The annual open enrollment period for millions of Medicare beneficiaries begins Saturday and runs through Dec.

Retirement Revised: At age 50, let’s weigh the future of Medicare

Medicare is having a midlife identity crisis. Our most important health insurance program celebrated its 50th birthday in July, 2015, and two political and policy visions for Medicare’s future are competing for supremacy in Washington. The winning direction will have important consequences for retirees in the decades ahead.

Some seniors surprised to find themselves automatically enrolled in private Medicare plans

Turning 65 soon? Your mailbox probably is stuffed with ads from health care companies eager to sign you up for Medicare coverage. Be aware, though: buried in there may be a notice that you are about to be automatically enrolled in an HMO-style, private Medicare Advantage plan by your current insurance company.

Op-Ed: Don’t make these Medicare mistakes

More than 55 million older and disabled people depend on Medicare for their health needs. Many if not most of them will tell you, if asked, that Medicare should be an easy and affordable program but that it often is not.

How to save big on Medicare? Know when to sign up

Enrolling in Medicare can be stressful and confusing, but delay signing up and it can also set you back a bundle. Late enrollment penalties can hike a monthly premium by 10 percent or more – for the rest of your life.

Missing the Medicare enrollment window can cost you big – for the rest of your life

There is a specific seven-month enrollment period for Medicare Part A and Part B that is centered around your 65th birthday. Miss that window of opportunity and there’s a good chance of a monetary penalty being tacked onto your monthly Medicare Part B premium – for the rest of your life.

Budget cuts threaten SHIP Medicare counseling program

Would you call a U.S. program that helps 7 million seniors save money on Medicare annually “unnecessary”? Probably not. But a network of more than 3,300 free Medicare counseling services could lose its $52 million in federal funding due to budget cuts.

In Report to Congress, Panel Targets Rising Medicare Drug Costs

Congress should move to slow spending in Medicare’s drug benefit by adopting a package of changes that could save billions, but would also add costs to insurers and have mixed effects on enrollees, an independent advisory commission said earlier this month.

Schumer: Seniors need Medicare enrollment reminder

medicarecard.jpg (Ingram Publishing) SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Medicare should notify people about to turn 65 to enroll in the federal health insurance program so they are not forced to pay hefty financial penalties for the rest of their lives, according to Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-NY.

Medicare Patients Struggle With Prescription Prices

Senior Citizens across the U.S. face a unique struggle when it comes to dealing with their high prescription prices. Find out how you might be able to reduce costs.

Senate committee-approved spending bill would eliminate Medicare assistance program – McKnight’s Long Term Care News

A federal program that provides seniors with advice for the Medicare program is one of 18 groups on the chopping block under a spending bill approved by a Senate committee last week. The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee approved the $161.9 billion spending bill for fiscal year 2017, which includes funding boosts for health, labor and education-related initiatives.

Senate Panel Kills Medicare Program That Offers Help On Enrollment, Billing Issues

It’s not clear yet if the full Senate or House will concur in the plan to cut funding for the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, which operates in all states and gives beneficiaries free advice on enrollment in drug and insurance plans, appealing coverage decisions and applying for financial subsidies.

Two experts square off on Part B pilot

Bill Gates wants genetically modified mosquitoes, and the man who was once favored to win the GOP nomination is instead closing out the AHIP conference today. But first: Inside the battle roiling Washington’s health care community. PULSE CHECK: Two experts square off on Part B.

Medicare Rules for Home Health Care

Making the most of Medicare’s home health care policy is easier than you think. By , Senior Editor From June 2016 Medicare home health coverage can be a crucial benefit for seniors who have just been discharged from the hospital or who struggle with a chronic condition and have difficulty leaving home.

Federal Program That Helps Patients Navigate Medicare May Be Cut

A program that has helped seniors understand the many intricacies of Medicare, as well as save them millions of dollars, would be eliminated by a budget bill overwhelmingly approved last week by the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. The State Health Insurance Assistance Program, or SHIP, is among more than a dozen programs left out of the bill by the committee.

Advisory Panel Targets Rising Medicare Drug Costs In Its Latest Report To Congress

Congress should move to slow spending in Medicare’s drug benefit by adopting a package of changes that could save billions, but would also add costs to insurers and have mixed effects on enrollees, an independent advisory commission said Wednesday.

Can My Spouse Qualify for Medicare on My Work Record?

Spouses can qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A on their partner’s work record if both members of the couple meet certain requirements.

Opinion | Reducing the Cost of Drugs

” Proposal to Reduce Medicare Drug Payments Draws Bipartisan Criticism ” (news article, May 23) details the backlash over a proposal to test new ways to pay for prescription drugs covered under Medicare Part B and also alludes to support among some lawmakers and patient advocates.

What you don’t know about Medicare could cost you

Turning 65 is a milestone in many respects , one of which is qualifying for Medicare, the federally sponsored health-insurance program. Yet for many, the Medicare process can be daunting, from how to enroll to which of the various options to select.

Medicare’s Drug-Pricing Experiment Stirs Opposition

A broad proposal by Medicare to change the way it pays for some drugs has drawn intense reaction and lobbying, with much of the debate centering on whether the plan gives too much power over drug prices to government regulators.

Congressional Hearing Goof Pulls Back The Curtain On How Washington Really Works

WASHINGTON — Everyone knows Washington can be a virtual echo chamber, but a pair of witnesses at a congressional hearing this week took things a little too far. It’s usual for witnesses on the same side of an issue to share a point of view.

This controversial rule could change how doctors profit from using the most expensive drugs

A controversial effort by the Obama administration to reform how doctors earn money from administering injection drugs would reduce their earnings on the most expensive drugs while making many older generics more lucrative, according to a new analysis.

Medicare change: ‘Perverse’ incentive or ‘perverse’ reform?

If you have cancer does your doctor give you the best drug to fight it or the one that makes your doctor the most money? A Medicare experiment might find out.

Medicare prods docs to prescribe cheaper drugs

Last week Medicare announced that it was experimenting with a new way of paying doctors for administering drugs. The agency hopes the new change in its prescription drug models will lower how much patients have to pay for them.

Cigna Profits As Medicare Softens Penalty Policy

Cigna will get to keep hundreds of millions of dollars in bonus payments for some of its Medicare Advantage plans, despite recently-imposed sanctions for mismanaging those plans in ways that federal officials said threatened seniors’ health and safety.

Groups Scrutinize White House Plan to Cut Drug Costs in Medicare

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration touched off a tempest on Wednesday with its plan to test new ways of paying for prescription drugs under Medicare, widely seen as the administration’s first serious attempt to rein in drug spending. Groups representing Medicare beneficiaries welcomed some of the proposals but expressed concern about others.

Dangers lurk within health savings accounts for retirees

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Health Savings Accounts are surging in popularity – and that can lead to some complications for older workers who enroll in Medicare. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are offered to workers enrolled in high-deductible health insurance plans.

Medicare Advantage ratings proving to be boon to insurers, patients

Vantage Health Plan executives saw an opportunity when they realized few of their female Medicare members were being screened for osteoporosis after they broke bones. The test to identify women at increased risk for fractures is one of 40 measures that Medicare applies to produce its 5-star ratings comparing the private plans chosen by nearly a third of seniors over traditional coverage.

Cuomo Keeps Lifeline in Place for Medicare Recipients

In January, we got some good news in New York State when Governor Andrew Cuomo maintained funding in his 2016-2017 Executive Budget for the State’s Managed Care Consumer Assistance Program. MCCAP is a network of six community-based organizations across New York State that work together to serve seniors and people with disabilities and their families by helping them access needed health services and reduce their Medicare costs.

Your Medicare tax dollars at work

Economy Editor’s Note: Journalist Philip Moeller, who writes widely on health and retirement, is here to provide the Medicare answers you need in “Ask Phil, the Medicare Maven.” Send your questions to Phil. Karen – Wash.: You can call this story “Your Tax Dollars at Work.”

Turning 65? Here’s what you need to do to receive your benefits

Q: I will turn 65 this year. What decisions do I need to make? A: For most people, turning 65 brings big changes in health coverage. You can sign up for Medicare anytime from three months before to three months after the month you turn 65.