Medicare Rights in the News
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Joe Baker 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).
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.
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’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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. – Sam Wood, Philadelphia Inquirer
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Making the most of Medicare’s home health care policy is easier than you think. ThinkStock 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.
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.
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.
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?
” 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.
More From Return on Retirement 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
CHICAGO 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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. If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B when you turn 65 and will receive your Medicarecard in the mail three months before your 65th birthday.