Medicare Nation

How much would you pay out-of-pocket for a five day hospital stay on Medicare? The majority of people have no idea! The problem with Medicare is there is too much information. An overwhelming amount of information and not enough resources. Medicare Nation solves that problem by educating you on all things Medicare, because there are not enough resources out there! This podcast will educate you about the components of Medicare, the different categories of Medicare Plans and Medicare benefits. On other episodes I’ll interview expert guests in the health and wellness field, about diseases, Medicare issues and current changes to the Medicare program. Medicare Nation is dedicated to answering all your questions about Medicare. Expert information and insights regarding Medicare and you! Further information can be found on Don't Forget to SUBSCRIBE to the show! Give us feedback on Facebook!
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Medicare Nation






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Now displaying: January, 2016
Jan 29, 2016

Welcome, Medicare Nation! My guest today is Dr. Ralph Sacco, who is the Executive Director of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Miami. He is also the Chief of Neurology Services at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Dr. Sacco has published extensively in the areas of stroke prevention, treatment, risk factors, human genetics, and stroke recurrence.  He is the recipient of numerous awards and has lectured at national and international meetings and conferences. He was the first neurologist to serve as president of the American Heart Association and serves as the president-elect of the American Academy of Neurology. Dr. Sacco is here to give us valuable information about strokes and stroke prevention. Join us!

  • Tell us what you do at the University of Miami.

“I’ve been the Chairman of Neurology since 2007. Our department has grown and is ranked 15th in NIH funding. We are leading the way in treating various neurological diseases.”


  • Tell our listeners what a stroke is and what the signs and symptoms are.

“Stroke is a huge public health issue, especially as our population ages. About 795,000 strokes occur each year, which is one every 40 seconds! A stroke is like a heart attack in the brain. In a stroke, the brain is injured by bleeding or some other problem with blood vessels. The warning signs are often missed, but our current awareness campaign uses the acronym FAST to help people remember:

F-Face-Drooping on one side 

A-Arm-Weakness in one arm 

S-Speech-Slurred speech 

T-Time-Call 911 immediately!

Other common symptoms are numbness and tingling on one side, severe sudden headache, and difficulty walking.”


  • Are there similarities in treating stroke and treating heart attacks?

“Heart attacks usually allow a little more time for treatment than the brain does. With a stroke, you MUST get to a stroke center immediately. TIME IS BRAIN! A clotbuster drug can be used with success in blood vessel blockages up to 4.5 hours after the stroke begins.”


  • I’ve heard that people should chew on an aspirin if they feel they are having a heart attack. Is that the same advice for a stroke?

“No, some strokes—about 15%--are bleeding strokes. Aspirin can make it worse. We advise calling 911 and getting to a treatment center. We can use drugs and catheters to remove clots up to six hours after stroke onset. This improves outcomes tremendously.”


  • What happens if signs and symptoms aren’t recognized and several hours go by? Is there irreversible brain damage?

“Exactly—the longer we wait in opening that artery, the less chance we have of total recovery. Some recovery can happen between 6-18 hours, but it’s more difficult. Too many people ignore symptoms, and then it’s too late.”


  • One side effect of stroke can be paralysis on one side. What exactly causes that?

“Most symptoms occur on one side of the body since one side of the brain controls the opposite side of the body. Everyone should know FAST and know how to activate the 911 call.”


  • Are there any foods we can eat to promote good blood vessel health? Is there a type of diet that helps?

“Diet is a big factor of ideal cardiovascular health. The AHA estimates that less than 1% of people have ideal cardiovascular health. There are five key components:

Fruits and Vegetables: 4.5 cups each day

Fish: 2 servings each week

Fiber-rich Whole Grain: 3 servings each day

Lower your sodium intake: Sodium increases blood pressure, and high blood pressure is THE single leading modifiable risk factor for stroke. Most people get 3500 mg/day when the recommended limit is only 1500 mg/day!

Limit sugar-sweetened beverages: This increases the risk for diabetes.”


  • What tips can you give about stroke prevention?

“Remember, what’s good for heart health is good for brain health, too. The AHA lists seven key factors, called ‘Life’s Simple Seven’:

  1. Never smoking
  2. Body Mass Index
  3. Physical activity
  4. Diet
  5. Total cholesterol less than 200
  6. Blood pressure not higher than 120/80
  7. Fasting blood glucose less than 100”
  • Doctor, for our seniors—or for anyone—is walking a daily exercise that you recommend?

“Walking is a great exercise. Just 75-100 minutes of walking over a week’s time can really help in the battle for ideal health.”



  • Remember, part of Medicare benefits and preventive care includes nutrition counseling. You can talk to your primary care doctor for more information on how this service can help you. Visit for more information.

The FAST app for your smartphone is now available!


Do you have questions or feedback? I’d love to hear it!


email me:

Thank you for listening! If you enjoyed this podcast, please subscribe and leave a 5 star rating and review in iTunes! (Click here)    


Find out more information about Medicare on Diane Daniel’s website!




Jan 22, 2016


Welcome Medicare Nation! Everyone keeps asking me about the changes to Medicare for 2016. There are quite a few changes, so today I will focus on the biggest ones you want to know about today.


How much will you pay for Medicare Part B (Outpatient Services)?


There is no COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) for 2016. The Hold Harmless Rule comes into play. If there is no COLA, then there can be no increase in Medicare Part B. 


For everyone who is already on Medicare and receiving SS benefits, your Part B stays the same at $104.90. That’s 75% of the people that are on it. 


If you are turning 65 in 2016 and you are on Medicare, your premium will increase. If you delayed taking SS benefits because you continued working, your premium will increase. If you are on Medicare and Medicaid, your premium will go up. You may qualify for the state reimbursement for Medicaid costs. New premiums will be $121.80. Recommendations were that Medicare Part B premiums should be up around $159, but Congress limited the increase to $121.80. In actuality, Congress gave you a loan for the difference between $121.80 and $159, and charged you a fee for the loan until it can be repaid.


Over $65 Billion of Medicare dollars is lost to fraud. Instead of worrying about the fraud, your politicians gave you a loan! Oy Vey!


If you make over $85K in income, your premium will increase to a different amount, which you can reference on the website.



Medicare Part D (Drugs) - Medicare Advantage Plan majority will have drug coverage included already.


For 2016, know your deductible situation (max $360). Some have them and you will have to pay out first, and others will only be triggered with a brand name drug.



The Donut Hole - You don’t want to be in this category. $3310 is the maximum expense for this category. When you add up the amount of money you have paid and the plan has paid, and it exceeds $3310 and now you are in the donut hole. 


Now the government wants you to start paying more for your coverage. The new threshold is $4850 for this level. You will now pay 45% of the cost of the brand name drug and you will pay 58% for a generic drug. What you pay out of pocket plus a 50% manufacturer discount. Once you meet $4850, you now fall into the catastrophic coverage phase.


Catastrophic Phase - Last through the end of the calendar year. You will pay 5% of the cost of the drug or $7.40, whichever is higher. For generics you pay 5% of the cost of the drug or $2.95, whichever is higher.


The slate gets wiped clean as of Jan. 1 and your classification starts all over again.



Medicare Payout for Providers:


For 2016, payments will be reduced by 30%


They are looking at tying procedures together when there are multiple issues stemming from the procedure. Payment will be reduced when you are re-admitted to the hospital within a certain timeframe.


When a patient contracts an infection during a hospital stay, the payments will also be reduced.


They are looking at “Value over Volume”.




If you have been on Medicare for a year, you can have an annual Wellness medicare checkup. This isn’t your annual physical, but a Wellness Medicare Exam.



From now thru Feb. 14, you can drop your Medicate Advantage Plan and go back to original Medicare and have coverage for Part A and Part B. Then you would need to purchase Part D separately.  


  • No premium for Part A (overnight stays in any type of facility) $1288 is the amount you pay for 60 days. Day 61-90, you pay an additional $322/day and after day 90, you pay $644/day. Every person has 60 lifetime reserve days for one time use only.
  • In skilled nursing 0-20, 21-100 (max) you pay $161/day.
  • Part B has a one time deductible of $166, and then 20% of Medicare allowable cost. Find out your co-insurance payment prior to the appointment.


Stand Alone Prescription Drugs Plans:


  • All have premiums
  • Check for the deductibles too
  • You can apply for a supplement for Medicare to help cover the cost of Original Medicare



Do you have questions or feedback? I’d love to hear it!


email me:

Thank you for listening! If you enjoyed this podcast, please subscribe and leave a 5 star rating and review in iTunes! (Click here)    


Find out more information about Medicare on Diane Daniel’s website!



Jan 15, 2016

Welcome! My guest today is Dr. Vincent Bufalino from Illinois. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease. He is the Senior Vice President of the Advocate Heart Institute and the Senior Medical Director of Cardiology of Advanced Medical Group (AMG). AMG is ranked as one of the top five health systems in the US and has 140 physicians in cardiology practice! Let’s hear more from Dr. Bufalino!

  • Tell us what you do at AMG.

“We care for patients in 12 hospitals in the Chicago area. Last year, over 20,000 cardiac procedures were performed at AMG. We provide expert medical care to those with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Our surgical program provides the latest in technology to provide the highest level of quality health care.”


  • Do you treat patients from all around the US?

“We service most of northern Illinois and have outreach clinics even in the rural communities. Most of our patients are from this area, but some continue to access our care for follow-ups, even after they’ve moved to other states.”


  • What is meant by the term “heart disease”?

“We look at risk factors, which are not managed as well as they should be. High cholesterol is very common, and we have many tools to treat it although not everyone needs to be on medications. Some people can be treated with diet and exercise, but those over age 35-40 with family risk factors should be evaluated. Those that are experiencing symptoms should be evaluated. The death rate from heart attacks has decreased from about 20% a few decades ago to just 2% today. Unfortunately, some patients develop heart failure and require advanced care, but there are still many treatment options available.”


  • What are some common signs and symptoms of heart attacks?

“Exertion-related symptoms are common, like discomfort, pressure, tightness, and burning. The two most common symptoms are chest discomfort and shortness of breath. You should also pay attention to rapid heartbeat and fluttering in the chest. Acid indigestion CAN be a symptom, especially if it doesn’t subside when you take an antacid.”


  • What is a stroke?

“Essentially, a stroke is damage to the brain, usually from a blood clot or a ruptured blood vessel. Sometimes a “warning” occurs, known as a TIA (transient ischemic attack). It is accompanied by numbness/weakness on one side, vision loss, and slurred speech. Time is critical since permanent damage can be done. Within the first 60-90 minutes, we can intervene and dissolve the clot.”


  • What are some procedures that Medicare allows to detect heart disease?

“For those over age 65, an ultrasound is allowed to assess the risk of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA), which is the ballooning of the main artery going down into the abdomen. The ultrasound detects any enlargement of the aorta. Those with a family history of aneurysm, men with high blood pressure, and smokers have an increased risk.”


  • Can you explain the Cardiac Disease Screening under Medicare?

“There is a ‘Welcome to Medicare’ physical exam that is allowed during the 12-month period after you turn 65. There are also nutritional therapy services available, and most people don’t even know about them or take advantage of them. The purpose is to try to give people tips that can make a difference and help them live healthier lifestyles.”


  • How is salt tied to heart disease?

“Salt is tied to high blood pressure, and this isn’t just from the salt shaker! Sodium is packed into processed foods, so it’s important to read labels.”


  • You were president of the American Heart Association in Illinois. How can the AHA help people?

“The AHA supports the work we do at AMG with patient education and research. Their website offers resources and even cookbooks. Find them at” 


  • Do you have any tips that people can follow RIGHT NOW to prevent heart disease?

“The two most important things are to eat better and exercise more.”

Resources:  (Find walking groups all around the country.)


Thank you for listening! If you enjoyed this podcast, please subscribe and leave a 5 star rating and review in iTunes! (Click here)    


Find out more information about Medicare on Diane Daniel’s website!



Jan 8, 2016

Welcome! Today’s guest is Brad Hubbard of National Flood Experts. He has built a company and a career dedicated to helping people save huge amounts of money! Join us for more!

  • What is your background that led you to start National Flood Experts? 

“I worked for 12 years as a civil engineer, working with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) on flood zone issues. When I grew tired of working as an engineer, I began working as an insurance agent specializing in flood issues. I noticed how many homeowners were required to carry flood insurance even though there was almost no risk for flood. I found out FEMA has a process to take these homes out of the flood zone and save the homeowner from paying for flood insurance. Before long, I helped 20-30 clients and then created NFE to help millions of Americans who shouldn’t be paying for flood insurance.”


  • Why would someone be required to have flood insurance?

“There are two requirements to have flood insurance: having a mortgage and living in a flood zone, as determined by FEMA. Being near water doesn’t necessarily mean you MUST have flood insurance, and both residential and commercial properties are subject to these requirements.”


  • How are flood insurance rates determined?

“There are different factors that vary according to different agents. The rates are not standardized but are affected by how high the home is built and how high the speculated flood may be.”


  • Is FEMA in charge of determining flood zones?

“Yes. FEMA created the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program, which oversees all federal flood insurance in conjunction with local municipalities. They categorize flood zones and update maps every 10-15 years. NFE actually benefits FEMA by helping make their maps more accurate.”


  • So, as homeowners, is it accurate to say that we can actually CHALLENGE FEMA’s flood zone designation?

“Yes. Challenge is exactly the right word for what we can do. Most people don’t even know that this is possible, because we assume when the government says something, then that’s the end of it.”


  • Can you give us an example of how NFE can help a client?

“Yes. I have a client who lives in a 55+ neighborhood and was paying $1800/year for flood insurance. Our company did an Elevation Certificate and determined that we could help her. We charged her $500 for our services, submitted our report to FEMA, and they took her out of the flood zone within three days. She talked with her mortgage lender and her insurance agent and received a $900 refund from her escrow account and $1800 back from her previous year’s flood insurance. When you are taken out of a flood zone, then you’re entitled to a refund of every penny that you paid in flood insurance from the previous year! In addition to the $2700 refund, her mortgage payment dropped by $200/monthly—all of this was accomplished in just a few days’ time!”


  • How do homeowners get an Elevation Certificate?

“It’s part of the package with a survey and appraisal when you purchase a home or purchase flood insurance. Only about 20% of people don’t have one. Our crew can complete an Elevation Certificate for $150-500. If your home has been built or improved upon in the last 20-30 years, then an Elevation Certificate probably exists. Every municipality is required to keep these as public record in order to have FEMA participation.”


  • Does your service fee vary according to whether a home is in a low-value area or a high-dollar area?

“No, our services are based on a flat rate no matter where you live.”


  • What can NFE do for Medicare recipients?

“In all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and anywhere that FEMA regulates, NFE has a way to make it easy. There is a 24-hour recorded message line: 888-289-3134. You can access our free consumer’s guide to purchasing flood insurance. Our services are 100% guaranteed, with a total refund if we can’t help them, so there is NO RISK! If you mention this podcast when you call, then you will receive a $50 discount.”


  • Tell us what you can do to help our listeners.

“For some, we can get you out of a flood zone designation and eliminate your need for flood insurance. For others, we can reduce your insurance premium in several different ways in reviewing your property and options.”


  • Can you give us a summary of what your company does when a client calls?

“When you call and leave a message, all we need is your name and address to begin our research. We will be in touch with you within 24 hours and give our recommendations regarding how we can help. There is no payment required until a determination is made that we can help. The initial review is free and the only charge happens when we KNOW that we can help (and don’t forget the MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE!)”


  • How does your fee differ from residential and commercial clients?

“The pricing is a little different, based on how much we can save a commercial client in a year, but the process and the guarantee are the same!”


  • What if a residential homeowner has had flooding? Can they still contact you?

“Yes and no. If you’ve had a flood claim, then FEMA is not going to remove you from the flood zone, but there still are things you can do to reduce your premium. Keep in mind that FEMA defines a “flood” as rising water over more than two acres and where two or more properties are affected. Flooding does NOT include broken pipes or a water main break. Your normal homeowners’ insurance covers those water damage issues.


If you are paying for flood insurance, you should give NFE a call at 888-289-3134 or visit their website:

Thank you for listening! If you enjoyed this podcast, please subscribe and leave a 5 star rating and review in iTunes! (Click here)    


Find out more information about Medicare on Diane Daniel’s website!