Medicare Watch

Your Weekly Medicare Consumer Advocacy Update

Medicare Rights Launches a Brand New Medicare Interactive

January 21, 2016

Medicare Rights’ Trusted Resource for Medicare Information is New and Improved

This week, Medicare Rights launched the new and improved Medicare Interactive, a free online resource packed with hundreds of answers to Medicare questions. Last year, more than two million questions were answered on Medicare Interactive for people looking for information from the largest and most reliable independent Medicare resource.

The new design and features ensure that Medicare Interactive users can quickly find the Medicare answers they need for themselves, a family member, or the clients they serve. The new and improved site makes available smart links to relevant MI pages and case examples, a roll-over glossary, and other helpful resources.

By creating a free Medicare Interactive profile, users can bookmark their favorite pages, manage newsletter subscriptions, access free exclusive links/downloads, and receive notices about key Medicare dates. As an initial thanks for registering, users will receive a welcome e-packet from Medicare Rights, complete with the organization’s exclusive New to Medicare Guide.

Additionally, the Medicare Interactive Pro (MI Pro) learning curriculum, which will evolve further in the coming months, is for people who want to dig deeper into Medicare. MI Pro subscribers can access exclusive in-depth Medicare content, quizzes to test their progress, and printable learning tools. Subscribers can also keep track of where they left off within each course and complete coursework at their own pace. Visitors can find out which courses are right for them by taking the free self-assessment.

Visit Medicare Interactive today and register for a free profile.

CMS launches Next Generation Accountable Care Organization Model

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently launched a new accountable care organization (ACO) model called the Next Generation ACO Model. Twenty-one ACOs are participating in this new model—all with previous experience coordinating care for patients through other ACO initiatives, including the Medicare Shared Savings Program and the Pioneer ACO Model. To build on these experiences, CMS is partnering with ACOs that are ready to assume higher levels of financial risk and reward.

Medicare ACOs are comprised of groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers and suppliers who come together voluntarily to provide coordinated, high-quality care at lower costs to their patients with Original Medicare. ACOs are patient-centered organizations where the patient and providers are true partners in care decisions. Participating patients will see no change in their Original Medicare benefits and will keep their freedom to see any Medicare provider. Provider participation in ACOs is also voluntary.

When an ACO succeeds in both delivering high-quality care and spending health care dollars more wisely, it shares in the savings it achieves. Medicare ACOs are currently serving nearly 8.9 million beneficiaries. CMS believes that “the results from the past four years have demonstrated that ACOs can provide better quality of care for beneficiaries while producing savings.” The recently announced Next Generation ACO Model will allow providers who have proven track record to keep a larger percentage of the savings they create for the Medicare program.

More information about the Next Generation ACO Model is available on the CMS Innovation Center website at the Next Generation ACO Model web page.

Volume 7, Issue 3

Medicare Interactive logo

Medicare Reminder

Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs), also known as Medicare Buy-In programs or Medicare Premium Payment Programs, help pay your Medicare costs if you have limited finances. There are three main programs, and each has different income eligibility limits.

Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB): Pays for Medicare Part A and B premiums, deductibles and coinsurances or copays. If you have QMB, you will have no coinsurance or copayment for Medicare-covered services you get from doctors who participate in Medicare or Medicaid or are in your Medicare Advantage planâs network.

Specified Low-income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB): Pays for Medicare’s Part B premium.

Qualifying Individual (QI) Program: Pays for Medicare’s Part B premium.

If you enroll in an MSP, you will also automatically get Extra Help, the federal program that helps pay most of your Medicare prescription drug (Part D) plan costs.

For more information about the Medicare Savings Program visit Medicare Interactive.



On Wednesday, February 17th the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations will hold a live forum, Seniors Decide 2016, featuring candidates for President of the United States. This platform provides voters the opportunity to ask questions of the candidates and for the candidates to speak about policies that affect older adults.

Participate in the event online! For more information and to submit a question for the candidates, visit the website,


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