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 system, 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:[/five_sixth]

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

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

CLOSE 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

Healthcare is among the largest expenses in retirement, but making smart decisions about Medicare coverage early can help down the road, says contributor Mark Miller.

The American Health Care Act Could Chip Away At The Medicare Savings Programs

June 15, 2017 The American Health Care Act (AHCA) is not just an alarming, slapdash effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act-it’s also a plan to radically weaken Medicaid, our nation’s health care safety net.

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

Each year, thousands of Americans miss their deadline to enroll in Medicare, and federal officials and consumer advocates worry that many of them mistakenly think they don’t need to sign up because they have purchased insurance on the health law’s marketplaces. That decision can leave them facing a lifetime of enrollment penalties.

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

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. Trump has returned to speaking of a possible deal on the Republicans’ American Health Care Act.

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

House Republicans have tweaked their Obamacare replacement plan in an effort to help the bill win passage this week, including a proposal that would further weaken Medicare’s long-term finances by accelerating a tax break for the rich. On Monday night, House Republicans revealed changes to the American Health Care Act, the legislation championed by House Speaker Paul Ryan to replace Obamacare.

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 medicareinteractive.org. 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.

About to turn 65? Forgetting to enroll in Medicare may cost you, Schumer warns

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. People are automatically enrolled in Medicare when they become eligible for Social Security benefits.

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

SHIPs are “critical” to Medicare beneficiaries, Stein says 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.

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?

Q. Your questions often relate to Social Security benefits for spouses, especially lower income-earning spouses, or spouses who have not worked. Does Medicare have similar considerations? I have worked all my life. My spouse worked for a few years and then cared for our children. Will he be eligible for Medicare?

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 a bundle

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?

That’s what a proposed pilot program for Medicare is trying to figure out and it’s become a political hot potato. Powerful voices on either side of the debate describe the current system and the possible change as “perverse.”

Medicare prods docs to prescribe cheaper drugs – Bankrate.com

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

For decades, Congress has legislated Medicare payment rates in minute detail. But the Affordable Care Act authorized the secretary of health and human services to test new “payment and service delivery models” and adopt them nationwide if they save money without harming the quality of care.

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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

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 – Chicago Tribune

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.