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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 about all the things you want to know about 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 www.callsamm.com Give us feedback on Facebook! www.facebook.com/MedicareNation
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Now displaying: Category: general
Apr 13, 2018

Hey Medicare Nation!

Do you know what "Drop Foot" is?

Foot Drop is a weakness or paralysis of the muscles involved in lifting the front part of the foot necessary for walking.

It causes a person to drag the foot and toes, or engage in a high-stepping walk called a "steppage gait."

This increases the risk of falling for individuals. 

There are about 70,000 people diagnosed with Food Drop in the State of Florida alone!

I have teamed up with the Freedom to Walk Foundation, to assist them in raising funds for the purchase of WalkAides.

WalkAides are electronic stimulating devices when worn on the calf, sends electric impulses to the affected foot, causing the muscles to contract and lift the foot and leg.

Children and adults are WALKING agian with the help of WalkAides!

The one major problem, is that most medical insurance companies don't cover WalkAides.

Medicare will only cover WalkAides for those diagnosed with "Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury."

Those diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebal Palsy, stroke, traumatic brain injuries and complete spinal cord injuries, are not covered by most insurance companies.

How can you help?

A WalkAide costs $5,000 to purchase.

A $5.00 or more donation to the Freedom to Walk Foundation will help children and adults purchase WalkAides.

Please be considerate and donate with your heart!

www.FreedomtoWalkFoundation.org/donate

Thank You!

NEW MEDICARE CARDS are being mailed now.

Your New Medicare Cards…….which are now called “Medicare Beneficiary Identifier” or MBI……have started mailing!

  1. People who are enrolling in Medicare for the first time will be among the first in the country to receive the new cards.
  2. Your new card will automatically come to you. You don't need to do anything as long as your address is up to date. If you need to update your address, visit ssa.gov and sign up for MySocialSecurity Account.
  3. Once you get your new Medicare card, destroy your old Medicare card and start using your new card right away.

Current States Receiving New Medicare Cards

 Delaware

Pennsylvania

Virginia

Washington D.C.   AND…..

West Virginia

Want to know when YOUR card has been mailed?

Go to Medicare.gov/NewCard

Enter your email to receive an email when your new Medicare Card is mailed to you.

What do the New Medicare Cards Look Like?

Across the top of the New Medicare Card will read…..Medicare Health Insurance….in “white” letters inside a blue border. There is also an image of an Eagle in white outline.

Your Name will appear on the next line.

The next line will be the NEW set of Characters.

The New Card will have  “11 Characters – both numbers and letters of the alphabet.

All Letters will be Capitalized and spot # 2, 5, 8 & 9 on your card, will ALWAYS be a Letter of the alphabet.

 

Finally, you’ll see Your effective date of your Part A of Medicare……..

And you’ll see Your effective date of Part B if you enrolled in Medicare Part B.

Here are things to know about your new Medicare card

  1. Your new card will automatically be mailed to you. You don’t have to do anything as long as your address is up to date.

If you need to update your address, go to www.ssa.org  and enroll in a My Social Security Account. 

  1. Your Medicare coverage and benefits will stay the same.
  2. Your card may arrive at a different time than your friend’s or neighbor’s. Medicare is mailing over 60 million New Cards. CMS says they will have completed the mailing by April of 2019. We’ll see if that’s true!
  3. Once you get your new Medicare card, destroy your old Medicare card and start using your new card right away.
  4. If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO), your Medicare Advantage Plan ID card is your main card for Medicare—Use your Medicare Advantage Plan ID Card whenever you need care.

And, if you have a separate Medicare precrption drug plan, be sure to keep that ID card as well.  

  1. Doctors, other health care providers and facilities know it’s coming and will ask for your new Medicare card when you need care, so carry it with you.
  2. Only give your new Medicare Number to doctors, pharmacists, other health care providers, your insurers, or people you trust to work with Medicare
  3. If you forget your new card, you, your doctor or other health care provider may be able to look up your Medicare Number online.

And….until January 2020, health care providers may use your New Medicare Card or your Social Security number to process claims.

FINALLY…..

Be Careful!

Scammers are out there  trying to steal your identity!

Medicare will NEVER call you and ask for Personal Information!

The Government can’t even process Medicare Advantage Plan Changes timely…….they certainly don’t have the staff or the time to call Medicare Beneficiaries. So DON”T trust ANYONE who calls and says they are calling you from Medicare.

Your Insurance Agent, Medicare Advisor or a representative from your Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan will call you …..WITH YOUR PERMISSION!

 

If someone calls and says they are calling about your New Medicare card…..

HANG UP THE PHONE ON THEM!          

 

If someone calls and says they are from your Medicare Advantage Plan….

Ask them a few questions to make sure they are legit.

Ask them these questions:

 

  1. How much is my current premium for my Medicare Plan?

If they are from your Medicare Insurance Plan….they should know the answer!

 

  1. Ask them who your Primary Doctor is.

Again……they should have that information documented.

 

  1. Finally……if you are still unsure of who you are talking to…..HANG UP!

Call the customer service number on the back of your Medicare Insurance Plan card and when a representative answers……ask them if they just contacted you.

RESOURCES:

ssa.org

www.medicare.gov/newcard

 

Feb 2, 2018

Hey Medicare Nation!

www.TheMedicareNation.com

Special Election Period Extended through March 31, 2018 for Medicare Beneficiaries Affected by California Wildfires.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has extended the Special Election Period (SEP) for Medicare Beneficiaries affected by the California Wildfires to March 31, 2018.

Any Medicaer Beneficiary who resides in, or resided in an area for which the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared a disaster area is eligible for the SEP......if......the beneficiary was unable to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan or stand-alone-prescription drug plan, during the annual enrollment period (AEP) or other qualifying election period.

Also....if you don't live in the affected counties of California, but you receive assistance from someone living in one of the affected areas that was declared a disaster area, you are eligible for the SEP.

You can call Medicare at 800-633-4227, or you can contact a Medicare Advisor or Medicare Consultant to assist you in finding a plan that will suit your unique needs.

How do you find a Medicare Advisor or Medicare Consultant like me?

Google it!

Type in ......Medicare Consultant Los Angeles California....or Medicare Advisor San Francisco California.

After you get beyond the "ADS" by all the paid advertisers.....you will start seeing results for what you asked for.

So here are the COUNTIES  in California affected by the WildFires, which have a SEP:

Butte

Lake

Los Angeles

Mendocino

Napa

Nevada

Orange

Riverside

San Diego

Santa Barbara

Solano

Sonoma

Ventura

and Yuba.

You can also go to the FEMA website and read more infomation at:

www.fema.gov/disasters

Any questions? Have a special guest you'd like to hear on Medicare Nation?

Send Diane an email to - 

Support@TheMedicareNation.com

Need help with Medicare......Contact Diane and she will schedule a call with you to determine your needs.

Send your request to Support@TheMedicareNation.com

Have a Happy, Peaceful and Prosperous Week!

www.TheMedicareNation.com

 

Jan 19, 2018

Hey Medicare Nation!

It's January 2018!

I hope everyone made informed decisions regarding your Medicare Advantage Plans for 2018.

If you missed the last episode, go back and listen to it!

I discussed the Medicare Premiums, co-pays and co-insurance for 2018.

Many of you have sent me emails "asking me" if you can change your Medicare Advantage Plan in January.

The answer is......yes....with specific guidelines.

Currently, it is the Medicare Advantage Plan "Disenrollment Period."

The current Disenrollment Period runs from January 1st through February 14th each year.

During this time, you can "drop" your Medicare Advantage Plan and go back onto Original Medicare.

You do this by contacting MEDICARE by phone     800-633-4227.....and telling the Medicare representative that you would like to "Disenroll from your Medicare Advantage Plan" to go back onto Original Medicare. Medicare may also help you with a Part D prescription Drug Plan if you'd like.

On Original Medicare, you are covered under Part A and Part B of Medicare. 

Under Part A....you are covered for Medicare benefits where you would stay at a location as an "inpatient."

The most common location is .....The Hospital. Another location where you stay overnight as an inpatient is....a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF).

A SNF is NOT a Nursing Home. An SNF is a location where you are admitted as an inpatient to receive medical care and rehab 24hrs a day.

Also..... if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, your doctor may suggest you enter Hospice as an inpatient. 

All the services covered in the Hospital, SNF and Hospice are covered under Part A of Medicare.

There is a "Deductible" each time you are admitted to the Hospital. The Deductible cost for being admitted as an inpatient in the hospital is $1,340.00 in 2018. The Deductible is due EACH benefit period you are admitted.

Part B of Medicare is for "Outpatient Services."

Benefits under Medicare for Outpatient Services covered under Part B include, but not limited to:

* Doctor Vists

* MRI's

* Laboratory Blood Draws

* Outpatient Same Day Surgery 

* Oxygen in your home

There is an "Annual Deductible" for Part B of $183.00.

After you pay your $183.00 annual deductible, you will be responsible for the remaining 20% Medicare Allowable Charges for services under Part B.

What does that mean? 

Let's say you already visited your Cardiologist and had bloodwork drawn at Quest or Labcorp.

We'll say your out-of-pocket costs for both cost a total of $183.00.

That takes care of your annual Part B deductible for 2018.

Now....let's say three months later.....you need to have an MRI. We'll say the Medicare allowable cost is $1,500.00.

Medicare Part B covers 80% of the $1,500.00, which is $1,200.00.

You will be responsible for the remaining 20%, which is $300.00.

You will pay 20% of ALL Part B Medicare Allowable Charges. There is NO Cap!

You may also need Prescription Drug Coverage.

Prescription Drugs are NOT covered under Part A or Part B in general. Prescription Drugs will be covered while you are admitted to one of the facilities under Part A. 

If you want Prescription Drug coverage, you WILL need to enroll in a stand-alone-prescription-drug-plan.

You can find which Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) is available in your area, by going onto the Medicare.gov website and "hover" over the FIRST Blue Box named "Sign Up/Change Plans."

A column will appear and go down to where it reads..."Find Health & Drug Plans."

"Click" on that box and it will bring you to the Medicare Plan Finder site.

Type in your zipcode and follow the instructions.

 

If you are comfortable with the costs associated with Original Medicare Parts A & Part B.....then that's all you need to do.

If you'd like to add additional coverage to protect you against the on-going out-of-pocket costs associated with Original Medicare, you can purchase a Medicare Supplement (a.k.a. Medi-Gap) Plan.

A Medicare Supplement Plan is an Insurance Policy, where you pay the insurance carrier a monthly premium and the plan will pay Medicare out-of-pocket costs that you have pre-determined.

Medicare Supplement Plans "VARY" in coverage and in premiums.

The "Medicare Benefits" they pay for you, are the SAME, no matter where you live in the U.S.

So.....if you chose a Supplement Plan "F," which is the policy which pays ALL your out-of-pocket costs for Medically Necessary services under Medicare, and you live in Seattle, WA.......you will be covered for the EXACT SAME Medicare benefits as a person living in Tampa, FL.

What is different you ask?

The difference is in the PREMIUM you pay.

Insurance Carriers that offer Medicare Supplement Policies charge DIFFERENT  Premiums!

You NEED to know what the difference in Premiums are by EACH Insurance Carrier for the SAME TYPE OF PLAN.

Here's an example:

Mary is turning 65 in March of 2018. Mary has a history of heart problems and would like to remain on Original Medicare and purchase a Medicare Supplement Plan "F" so that she can see ANY Cardiologist that is contracted with Medicare.... in ANY State. 

Mary also wants to have a budget for her out-of-pocket health costs and having a Medicare Supplement "F" plan will allow her to do that.

Mary lives in Miami, FL and calls her Medicare Specialist Diane.

Mary discusses purchasing a Medicare Supplement with Diane and asks for her expertise and guidance.

Diane tells Mary that the 3 lowest premiums in her zipcode have the following montly premiums:

1. $239.00 From Acme Insurance Co.

2. $250.00 From Beta Insurance Co.

and 

3. $275.00 From Delta Insurance Co.

These premiums are for the EXACT same Plan with the SAME benefits!

Why would you pay Delta insurance company $275.00 a month, when you can pay Acme Insurance Company $36.00 a month less....for the SAME benefits!

That's why it's soooo important to speak with a Medicare Specialist or Medicare Consultant like myself.

I speak MEDICARE! I care about YOUR best interests! I have NO loyalties to ANY Insurance Company! 

You can also STAY on the Medicare Advantage Plan you are enrolled in.

Do your Due Dilligenct to ensure you are doing what's best for your health and out of pocket costs for 2018.

 

I'm hear to help you if you need me!

You can contact me by email at Support@TheMedicareNation.com

You can contact me by phone: 855-855-7266.

I will even answer your question by email if I can answer it in ONE paragraph!

If I have to do any kind of research, you need to hire me as your consultant.

My time is valuable and I want to do what's best for you!

Thanks for listening Nation!

Would love a Review if you would take a minute to do it for me!

Leave me a "Voice" review at www.TheMedicareNation.com

or ...... an iTunes review.

Go to iTunes or Stitcher and in the SEARCH bar type in MEDICARE NATION

MY show comes right up. "Click" on Subscribe and then click on Rating or Review.

Leave me your feedback and if you can.....give us 5 stars!

Thank you and have a Happy, Peaceful & Prosperous Week!

Diane

Nov 18, 2017

Hey Medicare Nation!

The Center For Medicare & Medicaid Services has finally announced 2018 Premiums and deductibles for Part A & Part B of Medicare.

Just as I had anticipated...... CMS has increased the Part B premium in 2018. A hefty amount....I might add.

The 2018 Part B Premium for 2018 will be $134.00.

Over 50 Million Medicare beneficiaries were protected by the "held harmless" regulation in 2017.

Those Medicare beneficiaries did not see an increase in their Part B Premium for 2017, since the Part B Premium increase of $134.00 was higher than the Social Security COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) of .3%.

When Social Security approved a 2% COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) for 2018, that gave Medicare the "go ahead" to increase the Part B premium. 

As long as the Medicare Part B Premium is equal to or less than the Social Security COLA adjustment, the Part B Premium increase will go into effect. 

Such is the case for 2018.

With a 2% COLA increase in Social Security benefits, the majority of Social Security beneficiaries will see an increase of about $24-$25 in their Social Security benefit checks.

Those same Social Security beneficiaries, make up about 70% of the Medicare population.

CMS planned this out perfectly!

The majority of Medicare beneficiaries that make up the same 70%, currently pay about $109.00 for their Medicare Part B Premium.

If you add $25 to $109.00, you get........

$134.00!

CMS adjusted the amount to become $134.00, to be aligned with the remaining 30% of Medicare beneficiaries, who currently already pay $134.00 for their Part B Premium.

Now the majority of Medicare beneficiaries will be paying $134.00 a month for their Part B Premium in 2018.

It's not rocket science people. Medicare needs more money to stay solvent. 

When you take over 50 million people and add $25 a month in premiums.....that equates to BILLIONS of dollars A MONTH!

Let's look at the remaining 2018 Deductibles:

Part A Hospital Deductible - $1,340.00 per benefit period. 

In English.....that means you pay $1,340.00 each time you are admitted to the hospital as an inpatient. Whether you are an inpatient for one day or sixty days, you will pay a $1,340.00 deductible.

That's an increase of $24.00 from 2017.

If you need to remain in the hospital for over 60 consecutive days, you will pay $335.00 per day from days 61-90 of a hospitalization.

If you require more than 90 consecutive days in a hospital, you can use your "lifetime reserve" days.

You are given 60 lifetime reserve days.

When you use a lifetime reserve day....it's gone....forever. 

Let's say you have a piggy bank that has 60 pennies in it. If you break open the piggy bank and take 1 penny out to use....you have 59 left in the bank.

Works the same way for lifetime reserve days.

Each lifetime reserve day you use, will cost you $670 per lifetime reserve day in 2018. An increase of $12. from 2017.

Skilled Nursing Facility

Medicare allows up to 100 consecutive days in a Skilled Nursing Facility.

Days 1-20 as a inpatient in a Skilled Nursing Facility will cost you $0.

Days 21-100 of extended care services in a Skilled Nursing Facility in the same benefit period will have a co-pay of $167.50 per day. If you require more than 100 consecutive days in a Skilled Nursing Facility, you are responsible for 100% of the charges.

 

Part B of Medicare

Aside from paying $134.00 a month for being a "member" of Medicare Part B, you will also have out-of-pocket costs when you use outpatient services.

The annual deductible for Part B in 2018 will be $183.00.

That is the same amount as 2017. There will be on increase in the Part B deductible.

Once you pay your Part B deductible, you will be responsible for 20% of the remaining Medicare allowable charge....under Original Medicare.

Let's say you had to visit a Cardiologist and the Medicare allowable charge was $100.00

Medicare would pay 80% of the $100.00 and you would pay the remaining 20%.

So....Medicare pays $80 and you would pay $20.

You will continue to pay 20% of all Medicare allowable charges under Part B.

 

Advocacy Groups For Medicare

Here are some national advocacy groups, fighting for your rights under Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Help the cause by volunteering or donating a few bucks to ensure the fight for your rights continue.

 
The National Committee is dedicated to protecting Social Security and Medicare benefits for all communities and generations.
 
 
The Center for Medicare Advocacy’s mission is to advance access to comprehensive Medicare coverage and quality health care for older people and people with disabilities by providing exceptional legal analysis, education, and advocacy.
 
 
provide free, in depth, one-on-one insurance counseling and assistance to Medicare beneficiaries, their families, friends, and caregivers. SHIPs operate in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and are grant-funded projects of the federal U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL).
 
 
Consulting During Medicare Annual Enrollment
 
If you would like to hire me as a consultant to assist you in comparing Medicare Plans or employer coverage, I am available to assist you.
 
Send me an email to Support@TheMedicareNation.com
and send me your information and how I can assist you.
 
You can also go to the website - www.TheMedicareNation.com and "click" on the contact tab.
 
I am also available as a professional speaker or emcee for your event.
 
Thank you for listening to Medicare Nation!
 
I appreciate your support!
 
Diane Daniels
 
Nov 3, 2017

Hey Medicare Nation!

It's Medicare Annual Enrollment Time! The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period runs from October 15th through December 7th, each year.

Many of you are looking at different Medicare Advantage Plans and Prescription Drug Plans for 2018.

Some of you are staying with the Medicare Advantage Plan you're already on.

What many of you don't know.......is that the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has added a Special Election Period for individuals affected by weather related disaster's since September.

Anyone that resides in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, South Carolina or the U.S. Virgin Islands, may qualify for this special election period, due to hurricane Irma.

Anyone residing in Louisiana and Mississippi may qualify for the Special Election Period, due to Tropical Storm Nate.

Residents of Texas may qualify due to Hurricane Harvey.

To determine if you qualify for this special election period, CMS has deferred the locations affected by Weather Disaster's to FEMA.

Go to the FEMA website - www.fema.gov/disasters

and click on the weather related emergency, to see if your location was declared an emergency by FEMA.

If your county or State has been declared an emergency due to the unique weather event, you will be granted an SEP by CMS, to change your Medicare Advantage Plan or stand alone Prescription Drug Plan. 

In addition, the weather related special election period is available to..... those individuals who don't live in the affected areas but rely on help making healthcare decisions from friends or family members who live in the affected areas.

Go to www.fema.gov and click on the link for the weather related disaster in your State, to see if you qualify for this special election period.

You can call Medicare if you have questions regarding the "weather event" special election period.

Call 800-633-4227.

The "weather event" special election period runs till December 31, 2017.

 

Oct 6, 2017

Hey Medicare Nation!

It's October, and that means it's Medicare season!

If you need help navigating the 2018 Medicare Advantage Plans or Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, I'm available to help!

Go to my website...... www.TheMedicareNation.com  and click on the "contact" button. Send me a short email of how I can assist you and I'll get back to you with details.

 

How many of you receive excess letters, brochures and booklets from Medicare insurance companies? I'm sure most of you do.

How many of you, in the past, have received an "official looking" postcard or letter, that you believed came from Medicare or the Social Security Administration...... only to find out it's a "scam?"  Again.....I'm certain many of you did.

Right now, many of you or your parents, have or will be receiving an actual letter from the social security administration, that is real! I'm serious.....it's not a scam!

That's right...... in a joint venture to promote the Medicare Savings Program and the Extra Help Program, the federal government has been sending letters to Medicare beneficiaries, who may qualify for one or both programs.

The letter details the criteria to qualify for the programs, as well as how to apply for each program.

So..... what is the Medicare Savings Program?

The Medicare Savings Program is run by your State's Medicaid Program. The program assists those who can't afford Medicare premiums or Medicare deductibles, co-insurance and/or co-payments.

To qualify for a Medicare Savings Program, your "monthly" income and total "resources" (like money in the bank, stocks, annuities etc.) must be at or below the amounts the program has set as "The Threshold." 

The house you live in, as well as one car you own, does not count towards the "resource" level.

Let's take a look at those "thresholds" now.

Medicare Savings Program

2017 Monthly Income Limit:

Single Person

$1,377.00 

Married (living together)

$1,847.00

 

2017 Total "Resource" Limit:

Single Person

$7,390

Married (living together)

$11,090

To apply for the Medicare Savings Program, go to the official Medicare website www.Medicare.gov/contacts

or.... call Medicare and ask them for your State's Medicaid office telephone number (800-633-4227).

Now....let's take a look at the "Extra Help" program.

The "Extra Help" program is run by the Social Security Administration. 

Extra Help is a Medicare program that may help you or your parents pay Medicare prescription drug (Part D) deductibles, premiums, co-insurance and/or co-payments.

You must be enrolled in Medicare Part D to be considered for the Extra Help program.

You don't have to file two separate applications to apply for the Extra Help and the Medicare Savings Program.

When you apply for the Extra Help program, Social Security will send your information to your State Medicaid office, to see if you also qualify for the Medicare Savings Program.

If you don't want to apply for the Medicare Savings Program, you will need to indicate that on the application or advise the State Medicaid representative that you do not want to apply for the Medicare Savings Program.

Let's take a look at the criteria for the Extra Help program.

Extra Help Program

2017 Monthly Income Limit:

Single Person

$1,507.50 

Married (living together)

$2,030.00

 

2017 Total "Resource" Limit:

Single Person

$13,820.00

Married (living together)

$27,600.00

To Apply for the Extra Help program, go to the official social security website - www.socialsecurityl.gov/extrahelp

or call Medicaid......800-772-1212 to ask for an application.

You can also go to your local Social Security office and wait in line if you'd like...... go here to find your local office -

www.socialsecurity.gov/locator

That's it for today Nation!

I"ll see you next week with more Medicare information and resources!

Diane

Oct 1, 2017

2018 Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Cost Sharing

It's October folks! Medicare season has begun!

As of October 1st, licensed health insurance agents may begin speaking about 2018 Medicare Advantage Plans and stand-alone prescription drug plans.

If you have a relationship with a licensed health insurance agent, Medicare Specialist or Medicare Consultant, they will more than likely start contacting you about your current plan.

This is the time to discuss your concerns with your Medicare Specialist. You need to determine if all your prescription drugs are listed in the plan's 2018 formulary. 

You also need to determine what your 2018 monthly costs will be for all your prescription medications.

Ask yourself......."Have my out-of-pocket prescription drugs costs remained feasible on my current plan for 2018?"

If so..... that's great! If not, it may be time to take a look at a new stand-alone-prescription drug plan.

If you're on a Medicare Advantage Drug Plan, you will need to determine if your physicians are still in your plan's network and if your medical out-of-pocket costs are reasonable before you make any decisions.

It is important to remember........

Medicare Specialists cannot take an enrollment application from you .......BEFORE October 15th!

That is a Medicare Regulation! 

If a Medicare licensed agent tries to take a signed application from you PRIOR to October 15th.......

FIND A NEW AGENT!

As a reminder........ NO ONE from Medicare will be knocking on your door or CALL you on the phone.

Medicare will send you mail from the Social Security Administration ONLY!

Any post cards or any letters with a return address from anywhere else on this Earth other than the Social Security Administration........ is not from MEDICARE! 

It is most likely a solicitation from an Insurance Agent trying to get your business. Throw it out!

Ok......let's take a look at the 2018 changes to Part D Prescription Drug Plans.

Annual Deductible 

The 2018 Maximum PDP Annual Deductible is $405.00.

That's an increase of $5.00 from $400.00 in 2017.

Starting January 1st of 2018....... if you are on a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan or Stand-Alone-Prescription Drug Plan...... that has a annual deductible, you will fit in one of two categories:

1. You will need to pay your annual deductible right away        prior to your plan's benefits kicking-in. 

As of January 1, 2018, when you hand in a prescription for a listed drug on your plan's formulary, you will be expected to pay the full cost of that drug or the listed annual prescription deductible, whichever is less.

For example, your stand-alone prescription drug plan has an annual prescription deductible of $405 on all tiers.

You hand in your first prescription for lisinopril, which is listed as a Tier 1 on your plan's formulary. The listed      co-pay for a Tier 1 drug on your plan is $2.00.

The total cost for a 30 day supply of lisinopril at your preferred pharmacy is $100.00. Since you have a $405.00 deductible, the cost for the 30 day supply of lisinopril  at $100.00 would be a lower out-of-pocket cost than the full $405.00 deductible. Therefore, you pay the $100.00 and deduct that amount from the $405.00 annual deductible, leaving you with a balance of $305.00.

You will pay $100.00 for February, March and April for your lisinopril and in May you will pay the remaining balance of your deductible, which is $5.00. Then, your prescription drug benefits will kick in and you will also pay your $2.00 co-pay.

Beginning in June, you will pay a $2.00 co-pay for your lisinopril for the remainder of the year. 

                                    OR

2. You will pay the annual deductible if and when you            "trigger" the deductible.

As an example, You would trigger the annual deductible if you requested a prescription for a drug that was a Tier 3, Tier 4 or Tier 5 on your Medicare Advantage Drug Plan or Stand-Alone Prescription Drug Plan.

If you requested a drug that was a Tier 1 or Tier 2 on that same plan, you would NOT "trigger" the annual deductible. Therefore, you would just pay the listed co-pay or co-insurance for that Tier 1 or Tier 2 prescription drug on your plan.

So.....as we used lisinopril in the above example, in this case you would just pay your $2.00 co-pay for the 30 day supply of lisinopril starting right away in January.

This is because lisinopril is listed as a Tier 1 drug on your plan's formulary. You wouldn't pay an annual deductible, since you haven't requested a prescription that was a Tier 3, Tier 4 or Tier 5 drug.

You will continue to pay a $2.00 co-pay for your lisinopril for the remainder of 2018.

The next portion of cost-sharing under prescription drug plans is called the Initial Coverage Period (ICP)

During this portion of cost-sharing, the total amount spent during the Initial Coverage Period (ICP) is $3,750.00.

The costs of covered drugs are shared - 25% by the beneficiary and 75% by the plan.

If you do not have an annual deductible for prescription coverage, the maximum a beneficiary would spend out of pocket during the ICP is $937.50. The plan would pay the remaining balance, which is $2,812.50 ($3,750.00 - $2,812.50 = $937.50)

You pay your co-pays and/or co-insurance, which is placed towards the $937.50. The plan pays the remaining balance of the Medicare negotiated price for the prescription, which is applied towards the $2,812.50.

Once the total amount of your prescription drug costs (from your out of pocket costs and the plan's contributions) reach $3,750.00, you move into the next phase of cost-sharing.

The next phase of Part D cost-sharing is called, The Coverage Gap, or commonly known as the "Donut Hole."

During this phase, you will pay more for your prescription drugs.

You will pay 35% for Brand name drugs and 44% for Generic drugs.

Let's use Lisinopril again to look at the costs during the Donut Hole. 

We stated a 30 day supply of Lisinopril from a preferred pharmacy is $100.00. Lisinopril is a generic drug, listed as a Tier 1 on your plan. In the Donut Hole, you are required to pay 44% of the Medicare negotiated price for Generics. In this example, you would pay $44.00 for a 30 day supply of Lisinopril in the Donut Hole.

You are also paying a "Dispensing Fee," (about $1-$3 per drug) while in the Donut Hole.

If you have a Brand prescription drug that is listed on a Tier 3, Tier 4 or Tier 5 on your plan, you will pay 35% of the Medicare negotiated price, while in the Donut Hole.

Only True out-of-pocket (TrOOP) costs are counted toward the cost-sharing amount in the Donut Hole.

TrOOP costs are -

1. The drug costs paid by the beneficiary

2. A 50% discount on Brand-Name drugs that is provided by the drug manufacturer.

Payments made by the "plan" during the Donut Hole on Brand Name drugs DO NOT count toward TrOOP.

If you DO have an annual deductible for your prescription drug coverage, the amount you pay out-of-pocket for your deductible is applied towards the ICP of $3,750.00.

The maximum amount you would pay out-of-pocket during the Donut Hole portion of cost-sharing is $3,758.75

If the total cost-sharing amount reaches $3,758.75 in the Donut Hole phase, you will then move into the final phase of cost-sharing for 2018, which is called the "Catastrophic Stage."

In the Catastrophic Stage, you will pay reduced co-pays and or co-insurance.

You will pay either:

A 5% co-insurance or a $3.35 co-pay for Generic drugs or a $8.35 co-pay for Brand drugs.

You will pay whichever amount is greater.

Let's use our example of Lisinopril one more time. With a total cost of Lisinopril being $100.00, a 5% co-insurance would be $5.00.

With $5.00 being greater than $3.35 for Generic drugs, you would pay $5.00 for the 30 day supply of Lisinopril.

You will remain in the "Catastrophic Phase" until January 1, 2019, when the slate is wiped clean and we start all over again.

 

I hope that answers your questions regarding changes to Prescription Drug Costs for 2018.

If you have a question, and I can answer it in ONE paragraph or less, send me an email to -

Support@TheMedicareNation.com

I'll be happy to answer your question.

If my answer requires more than one paragraph, or I need to research an answer....... you will need to hire me as a consultant to assist you.

Go to this link and request a consultation from the "contact" tab.

www.TheMedicareNation.com

That's it for this week's show!

I would love for you to rate & review Medicare Nation!

Go to this link and tell me what you think! 

https://goo.gl/sb3JXo

 

Have a happy, peaceful and prosperous week everyone!

 

Jul 7, 2017

Hey Medicare Nation!

Here I am bringing you yet another Medicare Advantage Plan Sponsor, being slapped by CMS, for failing to comply with Medicare requirements related to Part C (Medicare Choice) and Part D (Medicare Prescription Drug Plans).

Today, I will be discussing the CMS Civil Money Penalty (CMP) that was imposed on Fallon Community Health Plan.

On June 29, 2017, a letter was issued to Mr. Richard Burke, the President and CEO of Fallon Community Health Plan, from Vikki Ahern, Director of the Medicare Parts C and D Oversight and Enforcement Group.

The letter was written relating to a "Notice of Imposition of Civil Money Penalty for Medicare Advantage-Prescription Drug Contract Numbers: H2411, H2470 and H9001.

Summary of Noncomplliance

CMS conducted an audit of Fallon's Medicare operations from February 16, 2016 through February 26, 2016.

In the audit report issued on July 20, 2016, CMS auditors reported that Fallon failed to comply with Medicare requirements related to...."Part C and Part D organization/coverage determinations, appeals and grievances in violation of 42 CFR" (Code of Federal Regulations). 

The audit report lists the exact subsections of 42 CFR that were violated

The letter goes on to state....Fallon's failures in these areas were systemic and resulted in enrollees inappropriately experiencing delayed or denied access to benefits and/or increased out-of-pocket costs.

CMS made a determination to impose a civil money penalty (CMP) for Fallon's failure to comply, in the amount of $344,100.00.

That's a BIG fine! 

Fallon Comunity Health Plan was founded in 1977. They have a product portfolio of group and individual health plan options.

Fallon also has a Senior Care Services Division, oversees all products, programs and solutions which focus on the senior population.

If you are a member of a Fallon Medicare Advantage Plan and you have questions regarding your plan, I would call the Senior Care Services Division.

The number is - 800-868-5200.

If you are a current member of a Fallon Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan, your benefits are intact and working for you. 

The $300,100 CMP was issued due to the incorrect classifications of "grievances", "organization determinations" for Part C complaints or "coverage determinations" for Part D complaints by members.

These incorrect classifications resulted in members not receiving the required level of review, and/or experiencing delayed access to medically necessary or life-sustaining treatments.

How does something like this happen, you may ask? 

Insufficient training of Fallon customer representatives and agents.

Employers like Fallon, need to ensure their employees are properly trained in CMS Medicare Advantage Plan and Medicare Part D regulations as well as Fallon's Medicare Health Plans and benefits.

Train your employees Fallon! 

Fallon needs to ensure their employees are competent and complying with Medicare rules & regulations relating to Medicare Advantage Part C and Medicare Part D. 

What Should You Do if You or Your Parent(s) are on a Fallon Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan?

Pay attention to your MONTHLY Explanation of Benefits (EOB) letter.

Look the document over and ensure all the prescriptions you filled that month are correct!

Look and make sure the provider(s) listed on your EOB are doctors or facilities you visited. Ensure any treatments or diagnostic tests were ones you actually did!

If you find a discrepancy, call Fallon customer service to notify them of it.

A Fallon customer service rep should be able to assist you with this issue.

If Fallon customer service is unable to assist you or if they refuse to assist you, you have two good options:

1. Call your Medicare Agent or Medicare Advisor. They enrolled you in the Fallon Medicare plan and should be a liaison between you and Fallon.

2. Call Senior Medicare Patrol.

     Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) is an awesome resource that is available to you for free!

     SMP Volunteer's are seniors and understand what you're going through. They are trained to investigate or notify the agency who can investigate, suspicious or fraudulent charges on your EOB statement.

     Go to the SMP website to find an SMP location near you:

      www.SMPresource.org

If you believe you were denied coverage or delayed in receiving your benefits, you have a right to appea

Ask your Medicare Agent or Medicare Advisor to assist you and explain your options.

Your coverage and benefits are intact and not in danger at Fallon Health Plan.

Fallon has the right to appeal the CMS CMP by August 29, 2017. 

We'll see what happens.

In the meantime, due your due-dilligence and monitor your EOB statements no matter which Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan you are on.

Report any discrepancies or suspicions right away.

I am available for consultations if you feel you have been denied a claim or your benefits were delayed due to an incorrect classification.

I also can initiate a reconsideration appeal for Part C claims or a redetermination appeal for Part D claims.

Contact me at Support@TheMedicareNation if you'd like me to consult with you.

Thank you for listening to Medicare Nation!

I appreciate you taking the time to learn more about Medicare and Medicare Plans.

Help your parents and grandparents learn about Medicare, by showing them how to gain access to the Medicare Nation Podcast!

Questions about Medicare or your Medicare Plan you need answered?

Send me an email to Support@TheMedicareNation.com or go to my website www.callsamm.com

Have a very happy, peaceful and prosperous week everyone!

Diane Daniels

 

Jun 19, 2017

Hey Medicare Nation!

I'm so happy to be here and tell you the latest, regarding Cigna-HealthSpring (Cigna) Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans (MAPD) and Prescription Drug Plans (PDP).

In January of 2016, CMS suspended Cigna from enrolling NEW Medicare Beneficiaries into their Medicare Advantage and stand-alone Prescription Drug Plans.

The following States were affected by the suspension:

Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Tennesse.

ON June 16, 2017, CMS released the suspension of marketing and enrollment sanctions on Cigna.....with a big BUT.

On March 17, 2017, CMS received an attestation from Cigna, stating Cigna had corrected all  the violations that were listed in the CMS sanction notice.

Quoted from the letter CMS sent to Cigna interim CEO & COO Mr. Shawn Moore -

"CMS required Cigna to hire an independent auditor to conduct a validation audit provide CMS with the results of the audit.

CMS used the information in the audit report to determine whether Cigna corrected the deficiencies that formed the basis for the sanction."

Based on the results of the audit report, CMS determined that......"Cigna's deficiencies have been sufficiently corrected." Therefore, effective June 16, 2017, CMS is lifting the intermediate sanctions for Cigna's contracts and Cigna will return to normal marketing and enrollment status."

Further down in the CMS document, on page 2, paragraph 1, line 3, it states...."In addition, during the independent validation audit, several findings were indentified, none of which prevent CMS from releasing Cigna from sanctions, but some of which merit additional monitoring and reporting.

.......For up to one year, CMS will also conduct targeted monitoring in certain areas to ensure that Cigna continues to improve its operations. 

What does that mean if you are currently a Medicare beneficiary on a Cigna-HealthSpring MAPD or PDP Plan?

First of all, you are completely covered. Your benefits are intact and current.

What you need to do now is become more "diligent" in reviewing your "explanation of benefits" (EOB) statement.

Your EOB statement will contain information regarding prescription drugs, medical visits, diagnostics etc. 

You should be ensuring the prescriptions listed on your EOB are the ones you received and that each doctor, diagnostic tests & procedures, hospitalizations etc. were actually done!

Mistakes happen more than you know. Human errors and computer errors happen frequently. When you look at your EOB Statement every month you help eliminate these errors. 

It is soooo important to review your EOB statement each month.

If you find an error on your EOB statement, you have several options to rectify it.

#1. Call Cigna Customer Support (800-668-3813)

       Explain to customer support the "discrepency" you          found on your EOB statement. That may easily              correct the issue you found. 

#2. Call your Medicare Consultant, Medicare                  Advisor or Agent.

       Your Medicare Agent, who "sold" you this             policy, should be available to assist you with questions  or issues with your Cigna plan.

#3. Contact Senior Medicare Patrol

       Go to the Senior Medicare Patrol website to look up resources in your area.

        Senior Medicare Patrol

#4.  Contact your State Dept. of Aging

         Every State has a Department of Aging or Department of Elder Affairs, which will assist you with many types of issues.

         The "Healthy Aging" website has a list of each State's contact information for their Department of Aging or Elder Affairs. 

          Here's the link:

          Healthy Aging List of State Agencies

#5.   Contact Medicare

         As a last resort, call Medicare directly. Government "downsizing" has caused delays in telephone correspondence, but it is still a reliable source.

         Expect to be on hold from ten minutes to an hour, depending on the day and season.

 

Expect to see Cigna hit the airwaves and your mailboxes with advertisements regarding their Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plans.

If you are not sure if you should remain on a Cigna Medicare Advantage Plan for 2018 and you have no one to speak to for assistance, call me!

I am available for consulting and I do so on an hourly basis. I charge $150.00 an hour and I assure you, I am very honest in my time.

If you have an interest in contacting me for consulting, send me an email to:

Support@TheMedicareNation.com

You can also visit my website for more information.

www.CallSamm.com

 

I thank each of you for listening to Medicare Nation and I look forward to hearing from you with any questions you have regarding Medicare.

 

Until next time, have a happy, peaceful and prosperous week!

Diane 

 

          

Apr 28, 2017

Hey Medicare Nation!

Learn More About Medicare Here

I receive many questions from clients and listeners about Medicare. 

A question that is quite common is:

"What vaccinations are covered under Medicare?"

That's what this week's episode is all about.... vaccinations!

There are currently three vaccinations that are covered under preventative and screening services under Medicare:

1. Flu Shot

2. Hepatitis Shot

3. Pneumococcal Vaccine

 

Flu Shot

If you are enrolled in Medicare Part B, you can receive a Flu Shot from your doctor or other qualified health provider, who accepts Medicare assignment for administering the flu shot. 

The cost for the Flu Shot under this scenario is $0 out-of-pocket for you.

If your doctor or other healthcare provider does not accept Medicare assignment, your out-of-pocket cost be up to 100% of the cost of the Flu shot.

Ensure your doctor or healthcare physician is contracted with Medicare before receiving treatment.

For more information on the Flu, I'm sending you to this website:

www.Flu.gov

 

Hepatitis B

The Hepatitis B shot is available to individuals who are enrolled in Medicare Part B, have a doctor or other qualified health provider, who accepts Medicare assignment and you are at a "Medium" or "High" Risk to contract Hepatitis B.

What indicates a Medium or High Risk?

Well....there are many answers, but if you have certain diseases like hemophilia, ESRD (End Stage Renal Failure), Diabetes or other conditions that lower your resistance to infection are some good examples.

If you have any questions regarding your eligibility for the Hepatitis B shot, ask your doctor.

Since the Hepatitis B shot is covered under the Preventative and Screening Services of Medicare, there is $0 out-of-pocket cost to you.

To learn more about Hepatitis B, I'm giving you the link to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Learn More About Hepatitis B

 

Pneumococcal Shot

You are entitled to a Pneumococcal Shot if your doctor believes you need one, he or she is a qualified health provider, who accepts Medicare assignment and you are enrolled in Medicare Part B.

There is also a second, different Pneumococcal shot that is administered one year after the first shot is given. Medicare Part B will cover this additional shot if your doctor says you need the two shots.

You should always discuss your options and your concerns with your primary doctor.

Here is the link to the CDC website on additional information about pneumococcal vaccinations:

Learn More About Pneumococcal Vaccinations

 

Additional Vaccinations and Shots Available

Other commercially administered vaccinations are available under Medicare Part "D"

Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis (Whooping Cough) are examples of Part D coverage. A "Booster" shot, given to adults, adolescents and children is available as Tdap.

Depending on what type of Prescription Drug Plan you are on, will depend on your out-of-pocket cost.

You should contact your Medicare Insurance Carrier customer service department to request such information.

 

Shingles

The Shingles Vaccine (Herpes Zoster) is also available under Part "D" of Medicare.

The Shingles Vaccine out-of-pocket costs will vary by plan. You must contact your Medicare Plan Carrier's customer service department to determine your out-of-pocket cost for the Shingles Vaccine. 

If you are not enrolled in Medicare Part D, you may have to pay up to 100% of the cost for the Shingles Vaccine.

Here is the link to the CDC website for information on Shingles.

Learn More about Shingles

I also did an ENTIRE EPISODE ON SHINGLES!

Go to Apple Podcasts and search in the Medicare Nation "Feed" directory.

You'll see the episode is number 46, and was published on June 17, 2016.

Listen to that episode! It is EXTREMELY educational.

As the Medicare season has slowed down, I will be taking a break from the weekly publishing for the next few months.

I'll post a new episode about every 3-4 weeks until September, when I'll pick right up and publish weekly shows again.

Thank you soooo much for being a loyal Medicare Nation listener! 

If you are enjoying Medicare Nation, give us a 5 Star Review on Apple Podcasts!

The more people we can reach, the more people will learn more about Medicare. It' as simple as that!

Thank you for listening to Medicare Nation!

I'm so happy you are here! Share Medicare Nation with your family and friends, so they can learn more about Medicare and their benefits.

Have a peaceful and prosperous week!

Diane

 

 

 

Mar 10, 2017

Hey Medicare Nation!

I receive many phone calls from clients, who say they were unable to schedule an appointment with a new doctor; even though they are on a Medicare Supplement Plan

I made many phone calls, with my clients to physician offices, in order to fix these issues.

What I found out didn't surprise me.

Many of the staff at physician office's across the country are inadequately trained in the different types of Medicare Plans.

I decided to educate you on how to make an appointment with a physician, lab, hospital, SNF or radiology center, if you have a Medicare Supplement Plan.

Having a Medicare Supplement Plan allows you the freedom to see any physician or provider you want.....,as long as the provider "accepts assignment" with Medicare.

Let's take an example.

If you wanted to make an appointment with a new Cardiologist,

1. call the office you want to be seen in.

2. Tell the person, who is scheduling your appointment, that          Medicare is your Primary Insurance.

3. You may be asked if you have a "secondary insurance." If you are enrolled in a Medicare Supplement Plan, the answer is .... "Yes, I have a Medicare Supplement Plan."

If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, the Medicare Advantage Plan is your "Primary Insurance."

Most likely, you don't have another plan.

When you visit the physician's office for the first time, show the receptionist your Medicare Supplement ID Card. You may be asked if you have your Medicare ID Card. Hopefully, you've made a copy of your Medicare ID Card and have left your original Medicare ID Card at home in a safe place. You shouldn't be carrying your Original Medicare ID Card!

The staff will bill Medicare and the Medicare Supplement Plan for the amount you would have owed, if on Original Medicare.

You should not receive any paperwork to submit to Medicare or a Medicare Insurance Carrier. 

Prior to any physician visits or procedures, call and ask if you have any co-pay, co-insurance or deductible if you are enrolled in a Medicare Supplement Plan that is not designated by the letter "F."

Medicare Supplement Plans are designated by Letters of the Alphabet and those "letter" plans can be offered by many different Insurance Companies. 

Each "lettered" plan pays co-pays, co-insurance or deductibles, on your behalf, based on the plan you select. 

After the physician's staff has your Medicare Supplement Plan info on file, they shouldn't require you to show them your card the next time you come in for an appointment.

Hopefully, this has helped you understand what is going on in the real world, and it will make it a less frustrating place for you!

Thank you for listening to Medicare Nation!

If you are part of my “Sandwich Generation,” Share this show with your parents and/or grandparents. They have many questions about Medicare and this show will answer them! Buy them a “Smart Phone,” and introduce them to Medicare Nation!

If you are a Baby Boomer, share Medicare Nation with other “Baby Boomers.” I want to educate as many of you as I can about Medicare! I certainly can use  your help in putting the word out!

If you have any questions, send them to Support@TheMedicareNation.com

If I can answer it in one email - I will personally answer you!

If your question requires research or additional contact with you, I do offer consulting if you would like me to assist you in that manner.

Want to hear a topic on Medicare Nation? A special guest? Let me know and I'll do my best to get them on the show!

Thanks again for listening!

Mar 3, 2017

Hey Medicare Nation!

Many of you carry your Medicare ID card in your wallet or purse. If you are a Medicare Advantage beneficiary, you have a “separate” medical ID card from the insurance carrier. It is not necessary to carry your Medicare ID card, If you have a Medicare Advantage ID card.

Who should carry their Medicare ID Card?

If the official Medicare program is your “primary” insurance, you should be carrying your Medicare ID card.

Now….. let me discuss with you how you can carry your Medicare ID card in a safer way.

Currently, your Medicare ID Card has your Social Security number on it, with a letter at the end of your Social Security number.  If you have your social security number memorized, take these steps to help prevent “identity theft.”

  1. Make a copy of your Medicare ID Card
  2. Place your original Medicare ID Card in a safe place.
  3. Take a Black Permanent Marker and “black out” all of the numbers of your social security number( except the last four numbers and the letter), on the copy.
  4. Laminate the copy
  5. Put this copy of your Medicare ID card in your wallet or purse.

 

If you are on a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Supplement to Medicare Plan, you should be carrying the Medical ID card the insurance carrier provided you.

If you have a stand-alone prescription drug plan, you will also have a separate card for your prescriptions. You will need to carry this card in your wallet or purse also.

 

How Do I Replace My Medicare ID Card if I Lost it or it Was Stolen?

If you made a copy of your Medicare ID Card like I described above, you won’t have a problem.

You can retrieve your Medicare ID Card from it’s safe place and make a new copy of the card.

If you didn’t make a copy of your Medicare ID Card, you will need to ask the Social Security Administration for a replacement card.

Follow these steps:

You can ask for a Medicare Replacement Card :

  1. Online
  2. By phone
  3. At a local Social Security office location                                                            A.Online
    1. Go to ssa.gov
    2. You’ll see pretty pictures on the home page. On the left side is a picture, with the caption… “Learn What You Can Do Online.”
    3. “Click” on the that photo.
    4. When the next page opens, look down to about the 7th
    5. It will read….”If you get Social Security benefits or have Medicare you can….”
    6. “Click” on that line.
    7. Sign in or Register for a “My Social Security Account.”
    8. 5th line down should read….. “Get a Replacement Medicare Card”
    9. Select – “Replacement Documents” tab.
    10. Fill out the required information.
    11. If the site “accepts” your information, you are all set! You should receive your replacement Medicare Card in 30 – 60 days.
    12. If the site shows any kind of “error” or “red flags,” you will need to physically go down to a local Social Security location.             B. By Phone

                     1. Call 800 - 633 - 4227

                    C. Social Security Office 

                     1. Click on the "Social Security Location" tab and put in your                          zip code to find the nearest location to you.

 

Thanks so much for listening to Medicare Nation!

I appreciate the time you took to listen. If you have a parent or grandparent, who is approaching Medicare age (65) or is already receiving Medicare benefits, help them “Subscribe” to Medicare Nation.

Buy them a Smartphone!

If you buy them an Apple phone…show them the “purple” podcast icon on the phone and how they access Medicare Nation. Once the Medicare Nation page loads….. click on “subscribe.” All current shows will load automatically once a week for them!

If you buy them an Android phone, just go to Google Play and “Search” for the app – “Stitcher.”

Download the Stitcher App.

When you open Stitcher, they will need to sign up with an email address and password.

Once the home page opens, show them how to “swipe” to the left, until they reach the “last page.” This is the “Search” page.

In the “search” bar…. Type in “Medicare Nation.”

Medicare Nation comes right up!

“Click” on the Subscribe button…… they are set!

Help your parents “search” for other types of podcasts they would have an interest in. You will be opening up a brand new world for them and they WILL thank you for it!

Feb 24, 2017

Hey Medicare Nation!

I hope everyone is having an awesome week!

Say goodbye to February! I know all of you Northerners are thrilled to see it go! Bring it on March!

You know, I see many, many clients and one of the top questions I am asked is, "What does the letter on my Medicare ID card mean?"

It happens so often, I figured I better dedicate an episode to just that!

The Social Security Administration (SSA) assigns a letter and a number, (if you fit into a sub-group) when you apply for Social Security Benefits and/or Medicare.

The letter (and number if it applies) is found on your Medicare ID Card, right after your social security number.

As an example, if you have worked and contributed to FICA (Federal Insurance Contribution Act), and started receiving your Social Security benefits at age 64, and you enrolled in Medicare at age 65, the letter "A" will be designated to you.

The "claim" number would look like this on your Medicare ID Card:

123-45-6789A

Just as "Different Strokes for different Folks," the Social Security Administration assigns "claim" numbers for different situations.

"Where Do I find the full list of Social Security claim letters?"

You can go to the following locations to see a full list of claim letters:

1. www.ssa.gov

2. Title XVIII of the Social Security Act

3. For a Free List of the Codes Listed by the Social Security Administration on their website, go to

my website -

www.callsamm.com

 

Thanks for listening to Medicare Nation!

Please SHOW someone how to "subscribe" to Medicare Nation, so they can learn about their Medicare benefits and what type of Medicare Plan they should be on!

 

Feb 10, 2017

Hey There Medicare Nation!

Today, I'm speaking with a special guest.

I'm speaking with my good friend James Van Prooyen. James recently retired from the military, where he spent twenty years in the Air Force.

James didn't always want to serve in the Military. At first, James wanted to follow in his grandfather's footsteps and become an electrician.

While James was a senior in High School, in Northern Michigan, he was introduced to a recruiting officer. James learned a great deal about being in the Military, and James wanted to serve - for four years! 

Shortly approaching his fourth year in the Air Force, James thought about his future. He had a wonderful wife and a new baby. James loved working with his Air Force family, and he decided to enlist again for four more years. Those four years soon turned into twenty, and James found himself retiring and not knowing what to do next. 

James kept very busy after retiring from the Air Force by helping his wife with her nutritional business and helping to take care of his daughter.

James soon began networking and found himself part of the Tampa Bay Business Owners Association, and he soon learned he wanted to be an entrepreneur.

James learned about Podcasting and new he wanted to have a Military Show.

The Veteran's in Business Show was born!

James wants the Veteran's in Business Show to be a conduit for veterans who already own a business, to guide and teach veterans who will be leaving the military in the coming year. Veteran's who want to start their own business, will learn from other veterans, who have done it before them.

Resources for veteran's. James wants to make the transition easier for his brother and sister veterans.

If you are a veteran business owner and would like to be interviewed on Jame's podcast..... send him an email to 

TheMilitaryPodcastNetwork@gmail.com

If you know of a veteran who would love to learn how to start their own business, tell them to listen to the Veteran's in Business Show with James Van Prooyen.

Find the podcast here:

veterans-in-business-show

Contact James Van Prooyen:

@JamesVanProoyen

on Snap Chat - JamesVanProoyen

LinkedIn - James Van Prooyen

James - Thank You for your Service!

 

Tell a family or friend about Medicare Nation! 

Help someone get on Medicare Nation with a Smart Phone! 

The resources for people 64 and older is so valuable!

I'm counting on my "Sandwich Generation" to help out and get their parents on the show!

Help me to help you!

Thanks for listenening!

 

 

 

Jan 20, 2017

Hey Medicare Nation!

How many of you have just found out your Doctor is leaving the Medicare Advantage Network you're in?

I'm certain there are "Thousands of you."

That is the #1 complaint I receive from clients, is that their "Doctor" is leaving or has left their Medicare Advantage Plan (MAPD) Network.

Medicare has regulations about how a Medicare Advantage Organization (MAO) can "terminate" a Doctor contracted in their network and in reverse, there are regulations on how a Doctor can leave a MAO.

There are also regulations on how a MAO publishes it's "Provider Directory" for their network.

Chapter 4, Section 110.1.1 of the Medicare Managed Care Manual, titled, Provider Network Standards, lists in part.... 

"MAO's are required to establish and maintain provider networks that:

...... Are accurately reflected in up-to-date directories. Plans are responsible for verifying and regularly updating their network directories to ensure that providers included in the directories are available to their enrollees (ie, listed providers accept new patients who are enrolled in the plan).

 

In section 110.2.2 labeled Provider Directory Updates, it states in part:

....MAO's must include information regarding all contracted network providers in directories at the time of enrollment. Directories must include information about the number, mix, and distribution of all network providers. MAO's may have separate directories for each geographic area they serve (e.g. metropolitan areas, surrounding county areas), provided that all directories together cover the entire service area.

Provider Directories must be updated anytime the MAO becomes aware of changes. They have 30 days to update the changes or be non-compliant.

When there is a change to the provider network (a provider is terminated or the provider is leaving the network), The MAO "must make a good faith effort to provide a written notice of a termination of a contracted provider at least 30 calendar days before the termination effective date to all enrollees who are patients seen on a regular basis by the provider whose contract is terminating."

In regards to termination of "Primary Care Physicians," all enrollees who are patients of that primary care professional must be notified."

 

So.....what's being done about all the inaccuracies to provider directories?

 

CMS conducted it's first review of 54 Medicare Advantage Organizations (MAO's) online provider directories, between February and August of 2016.

The finding......45% of provider directory locations listed in these online directories were inaccurate!

About one-third of all MAO's with 5,832 providers were reviewed in total.

Twenty-One MAO's received warning letters from CMS around January 6th, and they have 30 days to fix the errors or face possible fines or sanctions, which could include suspending marketing and enrollment of medicare beneficiaries.

Here are the Medicare Advantage Plans that received warning letters from CMS to immediately fix the errors in their provider directories.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island - RI

Rhode IslandBlue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan - FL MI, MO WI

Catholic Health Partners - IA,KY, MI, OH

CIGNA  - IL, IA

Community Health Plan of Washington - WA

Emblem Health Inc. - CT, NY, RI

Fallon Community Health - MA

Gateway Health Plan, LP - OH, PA, WV

Health Partners Plans, Inc. - PA

Highmark Health - PA

Humana Inc. - WI

Indiana University Health - IA

Magellan Health Inc. - NY

Moda, Inc. AK, ID, MT, NM, OR, WA

Molina Healthcare, Inc. - UT

Piedmont Community Health Plan - VA

Premera - WA

Samaritan Health Services - OR

SCAN Health Plan - CA

UnitedHealth Group, Inc. - CO

Wellcare Health Plans - IL

 

Now.... if you are a member of one of these MAO plans that received a "warning letter," you may qualify for a "Special Enrollment Period," from Medicare.

What should you do?........

1. Call Medicare - 800-633-4227

2. Tell the Medicare employee that you are a member of the ________ Medicare Advantage Plan, that received a "Warning Letter" from CMS for non-compliance of their provider directory.

3. State (if it's true!) that you were not notified by your physician or the MAO of the termination of your doctor, and your directory wasn't updated.

4. VERY IMPORTANT  TO STATE.....

    Tell the Medicare employee you RELY on the directory to locate an in-network provider, and by the Medicare Advantage Plan & the Doctor NOT informing you that he/she was LEAVING the network, it caused a SIGNIFICANT access to care barrier for you! 

Because now...... You can't see your doctor who has taken such good care of you..... due to the error.

5. Ask for a Special Election Period, so that you can choose a Medicare Advantage Plan where your Doctor is in-network.

6. If they grant you the Special Election Period, tell the Medicare employee which Medicare Advantage Plan you want to be on.

7. If they say "NO,"  Thank the Medicare Representative for their help and say goodbye.

 

What do you do now????

See if you qualify for a different Special Election Period. Listen to my earlier episode on SEP's.

Listen to Last Friday's episode on 5 STAR Plans.

Listen to the episode on the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period. It also includes information on Special Need Plans.

If NONE of these ideas offer you the opportunity to change your Medicare Advantage Plan to a better option, than you will have to remain on the Medicare Advantage Plan you are on until the Annual Enrollment Period to change plans.

Do your Due Dilligence Nation!

Don't enroll in another Medicare Advantage Plan.... just because the doctor who is leaving the network is on that one!

Make sure the plan will fit your Medical, financial and prescription needs for 2017!

Share Medicare Nation with someone!

Teach your parents, your grandparents how to access this podcast! Buy them a smartphone.

The more they know, the less they will ask you for help.

It's not easy being the "Sandwich Generation."

So...... do yourself and your parents a favor and help them listen to Medicare Nation! 

 

Jan 13, 2017

Hey Medicare Nation!

Medicare has announced the 2017 "5 Star Plans."

What are 5 Star Plans?

Medicare rates all health and prescription drug plans each year, based on a plan's quality and performance. Medicare Star ratings will help you understand the job a plan is doing.

There are 2 main types of Star Ratings:

1. Overall Star Rating that combines all of the plan's scores.

2. A Summary Star Rating that focuses on a plan's medical or prescription drug services.

A few areas Medicare reviews for these Star Ratings include:

1. How plan members rate their plan's services and care.

2. How well a plan's network of doctors detect illnesses and keep members healthy.

3. How well a plan helps it's members use recommended and safe prescription medications.

A plan can receive a 1 to 5 Star Rating.

5 Stars is Excellent

4 Stars is above average

3 Stars is average

2. Stars is below average

and 1 Star is poor.

You can only switch to a 5 Star Rating Medicare Advantage Plan or a 5 Star Stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan, that is available in your area.

You can only switch to a 5 Star Medicare Advantage Plan, Medicare Cost Plan or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan once from December 8th to November 30th of the next year.

Once you use your election to enroll in a 5 Star Plan, you cannot use it again.

If a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Stand-Alone Prescription Drug Plan has received a 5 Star Rating from Medicare, it doesnot mean you automatically go out and enroll in the 5 Star Plan.

That 5 Star Plan may not fit your unique needs!

The option is available..... if you need it!

Some people enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan during the Annual Enrollment Period, and only switched plans because they received an incentive from the new plan.

Ex: Your neighbor "Phil" tells you he is on the greatest Medicare Advantage Plan. He receives $30 in "Bandaids" from his plan every month. He tells you to "switch" plans so you can get $30 worth of over-the-counter supplies every month. Phil hands you his "Agent's" card.

You call Phil's "Agent," who gladly comes out and enrolls you into the same exact plan that Phil has. The plan goes into effect January 1st. You call your Primary Doctor on February 6th for an appointment because you think you have the flu. 

The secretary advises you that Dr. Jones does not accept the new plan your on. What? You didn't check to see if your Primary Doctor accepts the new plan? Phil's "Agent" didn't check to see if your Primary Doctor was in the new plan's network?

Sorry......you should have done your due diligence. Now you will have to "remain" on this plan until the next Annual Enrollment Period. You are "locked-in," until October 15th. 

Maybe you were better off on the plan you originally were on.

In this example, you may have another option!

You find out in January, that XYZ Medicare Advantage Plan has a 5 Star Rating in your area. You can look up the XYZ Plans and determine if one of their plans accepts your Primary Doctor in their network. Check the co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles on the new plan. Check that all your prescription drugs are in the new 5 Star Plan's formulary.

If you like what you found out about the 5 Star Rating Plan that is available in your area, you are allowed to "switch" one time from the Medicare Advantage Plan you are stuck on, to the 5 Star Rating Plan available in your area. 

Once you make the election to switch to the 5 Star Plan, you cannot enroll into another plan - whether it has 5 Stars or not. 

Only a criteria that fits a Special Election Period will be allowed.

Look on the www.Medicare.gov website for the list of Special Election Period examples.

The 14 Medicare advantage Plans that received "5 Star Ratings" for 2017 are:

     Company Name                           Service Area

1. KS Plan Administrators, LLC -     4 Counties TX

2. Kaiser Found. HP, INC                 31 Counties CA

3. Kaiser Found. HP of CO               17 Counties CO

4. Kaiser Found. of the Mid-            D.C. &         Atlantic States                              11 Counties MD                                                             9 Counties VA

5. Tufts Assoc. HMO                       10 Counties MA

6. BCBS of MA HMO Blue                11 Counties MA

7. Group Health Plan (MN)            87 Counties MN                                                           8 Counties WI

8. Aultcare Health Ins. Corp          12 Counties OH

9. Physicians Health Choice TX     19 Counties TX

10. Gundersen Health Plan            1 County IA,                                                                 8 Counties WI

11. Optimum Healthcare Inc.        25 Counties FL

12. Kaiser Found. HP of NW          9 Counties OR                                                            4 Counties WA

13. Sierra Health & Life Ins.         1 County CO,                   1 County KS, 2 Counties MA, 3 Counties MD.             1 County MI, 2 Counties NJ, 2 Counties PA,               2 Counties TX, 1 County in VA

 

If you live in the service area of the above 5 Star Rated Plans, you should go onto the Medicare.gov website and compare the 5 Star Plan to the Plan you are currently on. Make sure your doctors are in the network. Make sure ALL your prescription drugs are covered in the formulary. Look at the co-pays, co-insurance and any deductibles.

Make sure the "5 Star Plan," is worth "switching" too!

Just because it was given a 5 Star Rating from Medicare, doesn't mean the plan will automatically be the best choice for your unique needs.

Do your Due Diligence! 

You can check the Medicare.gov site for any 5 Star Prescription Drug Plans in your service area and Medicare Advantage Plans that are health plans only and do not offer prescription drug coverage on that particular plan.

You can also listen to episode MN061. I give you information on the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment period and information on Special Need Plans.

You don't have to be "stuck" on a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesnot suit your needs.

This is the time of year to make changes. Make sure you switch to a better plan this time!

Questions??

Send them to Support@TheMedicareNation.com

Thanks for listening to Medicare Nation.

If you like the information that is provided, give us a 5 Star Review on iTunes!

The more reviews we get, the more exposure iTunes will give Medicare Nation, and that means more people will be able to find the show.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/medicare-nation/id1031060767?mt=2

Have a happy, peaceful & prosperous week!                         

Jan 6, 2017

Hello Medicare Nation! Happy New Year to everyone.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season.

The Annual Enrollment Period is over. I hope each of you did your due diligence in deciding which plan will fit you best for 2017.

I have many episodes available for you to learn all about Medicare Advantage Plans, Original Medicare and Part D of Medicare.

If you determine the Medicare Advantage Plan you are on is not suitable for you or a loved one in 2017, you may have other options available to you.

Right now, you are in the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period. It started on December 8th and will end on February 14th of 2017.

Here is how you "dis-enroll" from a Medicare Advantage Plan during this time period.

1. Call Medicare 800-633-4227

2. Advise the Medicare Representative that you would like to "dis-enroll" from your current Medicare Advantage Plan and go back onto Original Medicare.

3. You can enroll in a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan.

4. You can also enroll in a Supplement to Original Medicare plan, that will assist you in paying your out of pocket costs for Part A & Part B. 

Each Supplement to Original Medicare Plan (Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, Plan D, Plan F, Plan G, Plan J, Plan K, Plan L and Plan N.) cover different out of pocket Medicare costs. Research each one prior to enrolling in the Supplement plan to determine the plan that will fit your health & financial needs for 2017.

If you find it difficult to figure out if Original Medicare and enrolling in a Part D and/or a Supplement to Original Medicare Plan is right for you, contact me at either - 

Support@TheMedicareNation.com

OR

Go to my website..... www.CallSamm.com and tell me in the "Contact Me" how I can assist you.

 

SPECIAL NEED PLANS

Are you a Diabetic? Do you have COPD? Do you have Cardiovascular Disease?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you may be eligible to enroll in a special needs plan.

A special needs plan is a Medicare Advantage Plan. If you are diagnosed with any of the conditions I listed above, you may use a special election to change to a special needs plan one time during the year.

How do you determine if you have Special Need Plans in your area?

Go to www.medicare.gov and click on the "find health and drug plans." The database will take you through several screens and you should select "special needs plan," when you advise Medicare what type of plan you are on.

The database will provide you with the special need plans in your area.

You can also look under special election periods, to determine if you have a qualified reason to change.

If you like Medicare Nation, please give us a 5 Star Review on iTunes!

https://goo.gl/uAhvLe

When you leave us a great review, iTunes gives Medicare Nation more exposure. More exposure means individuals who need advise about Medicare will find the show!

I appreciate you listening to Medicare Nation!

Have a happy, healthy & prosperous week!

 

 

Nov 29, 2016

 

10 Days left in the Annual Enrollment Period. That's plenty of time to find the plan that fits your needs for 2017,

The one change that everyone is talking about is the increase to the Medicare Part B Premium.

Last month, Social Security announced a .03% COLA for Social Security beneficiaries in 2017.

With the COLA announcement, the hold harmless rule is in effect.                   This means if the social security COLA doesn’t cover the increase to the Medicare Part B base premium, those individuals who already have their Medicare Part B premium taken out of their Social Security benefit check will not see that deduction in their benefit check.

The hold harmless individuals, who make up about 70% of all Medicare beneficiaries, won’t even come close to covering the $134.00 base Part B premium in 2017.  The hold harmless protection will squeak out a Medicare Part B premium increase of about $109.00.

The hold harmless rule does not protect individuals who:

  1. Are enrolling in Medicare Part B for the first time.
  2. Haven’t started receiving their Social Security Benefits and are enrolled in Medicare Part B.
  3. Are directly billed for their Medicare Part B premium
  4. Make an annual income of $85,000.00 or more
  5. Are enrolled in the Medicare Savings Program (States pay the new Medicare Premium increase).
  6. Are enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid, the State pays for the individual’s Medicare premiums.

Individuals who are not protected by the hold harmless rule, and have an annual income of less than $85,000.00, will be paying a base Part B premium of a whopping $134.00 a month in 2017.

Individuals with an annual income of more than $85,000.00, but less than $107,000.00, will pay a Part B premium of $107.50 a month.

Individuals who earn an annual income between $107,000.00 and $160,000.00, will pay a monthly Part B premium of $243.60.

Those who earn an annual income between $160,000.00 up to $214,000.00, will pay $316.70 a month premium for Medicare Part B.

Finally, those individuals who earn an annual income of more than $214,000.00, will pay $389.80 a month.

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is in full swing and allows Medicare Advantage enrollees the opportunity to voluntarily make plan changes, which are effective January 1, 2017.

Individuals can make the following changes during the Annual Enrollment Period:

  1. Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan.
  2. Drop their Medicare Advantage Plan and go back to Original Medicare.
  3. Switch from a Stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan to a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan and vice versa.
  4. Go from Original Medicare onto a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  5. Stay with the Medicare Advantage Plan they currently have.
  6. Switch from a Medicare Supplement Plan to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  7. Drop a Medicare Advantage Plan and enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan (underwriting may apply).

But according to a brief published by The Kaiser Family Foundation in September of 2016, from 2007 – 2014, only an average of 10% of Medicare Advantage enrollees voluntarily switched plans each year. (https://goo.gl/KqmCXL)

In my experience, Medicare enrollees do not have enough resources to make informed decisions in selecting a Medicare plan for themselves. During the Annual Enrollment Period, people are bombarded with TV infomercials, newspaper ads, direct mail offerings and inaccurate advice from friends and family. Overwhelming information!

So what is the answer for over 31% of Medicare beneficiaries on Medicare Advantage Plans during the Annual Enrollment Period?

There are several options available.

  1. If you have a Medicare Advisor or Insurance Agent, who can offer you several different Medicare Advantage carriers in their portfolio – call them.

It wouldn’t be in your best interest to contact an insurance agent, who works for only one Medicare insurance carrier. These agents are only able to offer you Medicare Advantage Plans from their one carrier. They will not have your best interest in mind. If they don’t enroll you in one of their plans, they won’t get paid.

Using a Medicare Advisor or insurance agent, who has different Medicare carriers available to you, will have your best interest. They will help find you a Medicare plan that fits your unique needs.  

If you don’t personally know a Medicare Advisor or insurance agent, you can Google “Medicare Advisor + your town.” An example would be – Medicare Advisor Tampa, FL. 

  1. Each State has a Department of Aging, with volunteers to assist you with your Medicare questions.

Advise the representative that you’d like to speak with someone who is knowledgeable with the different Medicare Advantage Plans in your area and they will connect you with a person who is unbiased.

Many States have educational seminars on Medicare at community Senior Centers. Ask if any will be in your area.

 

  1. Individuals can go onto the www.Medicare.gov website and use the plan finder database, but understand the information is not 100% complete.

 When you are deciding between two plans, go onto the insurance plan's website to look at the plan details to compare out of pocket costs for each plan.

The Medicare Part B premium increase for 2017, is going to make many people anxious and frustrated.  It is in your best interest to plan ahead and research your Medicare plan options at least three to four months prior to turning 65.

If you are still employed and on an employer’s health insurance plan, compare your cost for your employer’s plan against Medicare plans.

Don’t forget to calculate the Medicare Part B premium into your comparison.

You can participate in a credible employer health plan and not have to enroll in Medicare Part B when you turn 65.

In my experience, I have found over 80% of the time, a Medicare Supplement plan is more cost effective than the employer’s plan. The Medicare Supplement plan also provides the freedom to choose any physician in the United States, who is contracted with Medicare. Take your time and do your due diligence.

 

 “A stitch in time saves nine.” Properly preparing for your initial enrollment in Medicare and choosing a Medicare plan that fits your unique needs, will save you the aggravation and possibly making a poor financial and health coverage decision.

 

Diane Daniels

Medicare Advisor                                                                                           Senior Advocates For Medicare & Medicaid, LLC                                                 855-855-7266

Nov 11, 2016

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, has recently announced the costs for Medicare in 2017. 

The one change that everyone is talking about is the increase to the Medicare Part B Premium.

Last month, Social Security announced a .03% COLA for Social Security beneficiaries in 2017.

With the COLA announcement, the hold harmless rule is in effect.                   This means if the social security COLA doesn’t cover the increase to the Medicare Part B base premium, those individuals who already have their Medicare Part B premium taken out of their Social Security benefit check will not see that deduction in their benefit check.

The hold harmless individuals, who make up about 70% of all Medicare beneficiaries, won’t even come close to covering the $134.00 base Part B premium in 2017.  The hold harmless protection will squeak out a Medicare Part B premium increase of about $109.00.

The hold harmless rule does not protect individuals who:

  1. Are enrolling in Medicare Part B for the first time.
  2. Haven’t started receiving their Social Security Benefits and are enrolled in Medicare Part B.
  3. Are directly billed for their Medicare Part B premium
  4. Make an annual income of $85,000.00 or more
  5. Are enrolled in the Medicare Savings Program (States pay the new Medicare Premium increase).
  6. Are enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid, the State pays for the individual’s Medicare premiums.

Individuals who are not protected by the hold harmless rule, and have an annual income of less than $85,000.00, will be paying a base Part B premium of a whopping $134.00 a month in 2017.

Individuals with an annual income of more than $85,000.00, but less than $107,000.00, will pay a Part B premium of $107.50 a month.

Individuals who earn an annual income between $107,000.00 and $160,000.00 will pay a monthly Part B premium of $243.60.

Those who earn an annual income between $160,000.00 up to $214,000.00 will pay $316.70 a month premium for Medicare Part B.

Finally, those individuals who earn an annual income of more than $214,000.00 will pay $389.80 a month.

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is in full swing and allows Medicare Advantage enrollees the opportunity to voluntarily make plan changes, which are effective January 1, 2017.

Individuals can make the following changes during the Annual Enrollment Period:

  1. Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan.
  2. Drop their Medicare Advantage Plan and go back to Original Medicare.
  3. Switch from a Stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan to a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan and vice versa.
  4. Go from Original Medicare onto a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  5. Stay with the Medicare Advantage Plan they currently have.
  6. Switch from a Medicare Supplement Plan to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  7. Drop a Medicare Advantage Plan and enroll in a Medicare Supplement Plan (underwriting may apply).

But according to a brief published by The Kaiser Family Foundation in September of 2016, from 2007 – 2014, only an average of 10% of Medicare Advantage enrollees voluntarily switched plans each year. (https://goo.gl/KqmCXL)

In my experience, Medicare enrollees do not have enough resources to make informed decisions in selecting a Medicare plan for themselves. During the Annual Enrollment Period, people are bombarded with TV infomercials, newspaper ads, direct mail offerings and inaccurate advice from friends and family. Overwhelming information!

So what is the answer for over 31% of Medicare beneficiaries on Medicare Advantage Plans during the Annual Enrollment Period?

There are several options available.

  1. If you have a Medicare Advisor or Insurance Agent, who can offer you several different Medicare Advantage carriers in their portfolio – call them.

It wouldn’t be in your best interest to contact an insurance agent, who works for only one Medicare insurance carrier. These agents are only able to offer you Medicare Advantage Plans from their one carrier. They will not have your best interest in mind. If they don’t enroll you in one of their plans, they won’t get paid.

Using a Medicare Advisor or insurance agent, who has different Medicare carriers available to you, will have your best interest. They will help find you a Medicare plan that fits your unique needs.  

If you don’t personally know a Medicare Advisor or insurance agent, you can Google “Medicare Advisor + your town.” An example would be – Medicare Advisor Tampa, FL. 

  1. Each State has a Department of Aging, with volunteers to assist you with your Medicare questions.

Advise the representative that you’d like to speak with someone who is knowledgeable with the different Medicare Advantage Plans in your area and they will connect you with a person who is unbiased.

Many States have educational seminars on Medicare at community Senior Centers. Ask if any will be in your area.

 

  1. Individuals can go onto the www.Medicare.gov website and use the plan finder database, but understand the information is not 100% complete.

 

The Medicare Part B premium increase for 2017 is going to make many people anxious and frustrated.  It is in your best interest to plan ahead and research your Medicare plan options at least three to four months prior to turning 65.

If you are still employed and on an employer’s health insurance plan, compare your cost for your employer’s plan against Medicare plans.

Don’t forget to calculate the Medicare Part B premium into your comparison.

You can participate in a credible employer health plan and not have to enroll in Medicare Part B when you turn 65.

In my experience, I have found over 80% of the time, a Medicare Supplement plan is more cost effective than the employer’s plan. The Medicare Supplement plan also provides the freedom to choose any physician in the United States, who is contracted with Medicare. Take your time and do your due diligence.

  “A stitch in time saves nine.” Properly preparing for your initial enrollment in Medicare and choosing a Medicare plan that fits your unique needs, will save you the aggravation and possibly making a poor financial and health coverage decision.

 Need help with understanding Medicare?

Call SAMM is available throughout the Annual Enrollment Period to help educate you about Medicare plans.

Call 855-855-7266 for more information.

You can also send an email to Support@TheMedicareNation.com

 

Sep 16, 2016

Welcome, Medicare Nation!

I’m excited about our guest and our important topic today. We’re discussing the confusion surrounding advanced directives. Have you ever thought about what would happen if you can’t speak for yourself and are in an emergency health situation? Who will express your wishes, and will the health care professionals understand? Dr. Ferdinando (Fred) Mirarchi is the ER Director of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Hamot. He has a solution! 

  • Tell us about health care directives and the issues that commonly arise when people come to the ER.
    • There are three types of directives: living will, DNR (Do Not Resuscitate order), and POLST (Physicians’ Order for Life Sustaining Treatment). All three of these have safety issues surrounding them, and all three bring questions. When are they to be followed? None of us know when an emergency situation may arise, so when do we carry these documents with us? Even medical professionals don’t understand these orders, but no one really wants to raise the safety concerns.
  • What happens when someone comes to the ER with no accompanying family and no papers?
    • It’s not just an ER situation, but anywhere in the hospital, for any medical procedure. “You, the patient, are asked if you have a Living Will, then you are subjected to whatever their understanding is as to what that means.” About 78% of the time, physicians assume that a Living Will equals a DNR, but in 64% of cases, a DNR is strictly an end of life order and does not apply to critical care emergencies. Medical professionals assume if you have any advanced directive that you’re an end of life care patient and don’t want care. Many don’t understand the difference between being critically ill and being in an “end of life” situation.
  • If you have advanced directive documents, should you bring them with you to any scheduled procedure, like a colonoscopy?
    • Most physicians would say YES, but I say NO. Keep your document in a safe place so that it doesn’t compromise your care and treatment. Pull it out when you need it, but then you face a retrieval issue. Will the proper medical professional have access to your papers when they need it? We have a process that can insure that those documents are retrieved when needed. Most ER doctors are forced to look at a paper and make an interpretation, based on THEIR understanding, which might not be right for you.
  • Can you explain the difference in a Living Will and a DNR?
    • A Living Will is a legal document, not a medical document. It is for use in situations when someone can’t speak for themselves, develops a terminal condition, or is in a persistent vegetative state. A DNR is specifically for when someone is found with no pulse or breathing, and no CPR is desired. There is a common misunderstanding that a DNR means no medical treatment at all, when it most often applies to end of life care. When someone has a Living Will and the medical professional assumes it’s a DNR, then it can affect care and treatment of any medical emergency. “It’s a coin toss with a 50% chance of being treated or not being treated.”
  • You’ve developed a solution to help people explain their wishes about receiving treatment. Can you explain?
    • At the Institute of Health Care Directives, we have created ID cards containing detailed information to be understood by any medical professional in any hospital. It gives patients a voice to guide their care and treatment. Your ID card has info and directives linked with a QR code that accesses a video recording of your wishes. The recorded video is in a database and can be pulled up on any smart phone for any medical situation you may encounter.
  • Will this ID card work in any medical office, hospital, or ER?
    • Yes, and it’s in clear and understandable medical language so that any professional will know what to do.
  • Can you explain how to find out more and what the service includes?
    • Visit our website: www.institutehcd.com or email us: info@institutehcd.com. You can even call us at 814-490-6584. Dr. Mirarchi is offering a 10% discount to the first 100 MN callers on either of the available packages. The Basic package is for healthy, young people, and the VIP package is for those with multiple medical problems. The VIP package gives you access to an on-call doctor 24/7/365. You can ask any question or any medical professional treating you can call for information about your condition. Our solution is a much clearer and simpler process and has received great response from physicians. The goal is to plan for when you are critically ill and (separately) for when you’re at the end of life. There is a study coming out in 3-6 months on a 15 state trial, and the preliminary results are amazing. This is truly a game-changer in the health care industry.
    • Here is the news story video of the 57y.o. man who was mistakenly noted as "DNR" in his hospital file
  •           whistle blower 9 Investigative news

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 9, 2016

Hello Medicare Nation listeners!

Today, I’ve put together a few questions from our audience that I’d like to read on the air. Many of you ask the same questions, so I’d like to help out as many of you as I can.

 

Wendy from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania asks???

HOW DO I GET A REPLACEMENT MEDICARE CARD?

If you are on Original Medicare, your Medicare ID card is proof of your Medicare insurance. , If your Medicare card was lost, stolen, destroyed or illegible, you can ask for a replacement card by going online and logging in to your Social Security account at www.ssa.gov

If you don’t have an online social security account, you can register one on the www.ssa.gov website.

Once you’ve logged into your account, select the “Replacement Documents” tab. Then select “Mail my replacement Medicare Card.”  Your replacement Medicare card will arrive in the mail in about 30 days, at the address on file with Social Security.

If you moved and you did not update Social Security with your new address, you must update your new address into the database, or Social Security will be sending your replacement Medicare card to your old address!

If you don’t have the internet, a computer or you just want to call Social Security, here’s the number to call:

800-772-1213

You can also go to your nearest Social Security office to get a Medicare card replacement. To find the nearest social security office, get on the home page of www.ssa.gov  “click” on the social security office location tab and type in your zip code for the nearest social security office.

 

Kenny from Rio Rancho, New Mexico asks??????

WHAT INTERNET BROWSER CAN I USE TO VIEW THE MEDICARE.GOV WEBSITE?

The official Medicare.gov website states –

For optimal results, use Internet Explorer 8.0 or 9.0. You can also view in Firefox, Chrome and Opera.

 

June from San Diego – California asks????

WHAT DOES MEDICALLY NECESSARY MEAN?

Medicare will only pay for services that are considered to be medically necessary. According to Medicare.gov,  services or supplies are considered medically necessary if they:

  • Are needed for the diagnosis, or treatment of your medical condition.
  • Are provided for the diagnosis, direct care, and treatment of your medical condition.
  • Meet the standards of good medical practice in the medical community of your local area.
  • Are not mainly for the convenience of you or your doctor.                       AN EXAMPLE of NOT “Medically Necessary,” is cosmetic surgery. Maybe you don’t like your nose because it’s too big for your face. Medicare will not pay for cosmetic surgery to make you look pretty. It must be “Medically Necessary.”  A better example would be if your face was disfigured due to a car accident, a fire or a severe dog bite. You will need treatment to stop the bleeding and to prevent infection, so Medicare will pay for the treatment of those types of injuries.

 Thanks for listening!

 Send your questions to Support@TheMedicareNation.com

Sep 2, 2016

How to Find a New Prescription Drug Plan

Welcome Medicare Nation!

Many clients have been contacting me the last several weeks to tell me their Medicare plan has dropped one or several of their prescription drugs from the plan’s formulary.

MAPD plans and Stand Alone Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) may change their formularies during the calendar year. Two examples of when they can do this, is if a prescription drug is found to be unsafe by the FDA. If a prescription drug may cause serious injury or death, they will remove the drug from the market. All Medicare plans would be forced to remove that drug from their formulary.

Another reason a drug may be removed or added is when a generic of the brand drug comes out. This year Crestor, a brand drug for high cholesterol, became generic. With generic drugs available, the cost of the drug to the Medicare plan goes down. The plan adds the generic to their formulary and either keeps Crestor in addition to the generic, or removes Crestor from the formulary and keeps the generic versions.

If you are on a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan (MAPD), you are locked in the plan, until the open enrollment period which begins on October 15th this year, or you have a special enrollment period.

You can go to www.Medicare.gov to look up special election periods, or you can listen to episode #36 published on April 15, 2016.

Stand Alone Prescription Drug Plans and MAPD plans, which have prescription drugs included, will be announcing their 2017 plans and formularies by October 1, 2016.

Several Medicare Advantage Plans or Stand Alone Prescription Drug Plans may be available in your area.

How do you compare plans to find the right one for you or your loved one?

Use the official Medicare Website Plan Finder’s database.

Go to www.Medicare.gov

  1. You’ll see a Dark Blue Bar under Medicare.gov
  2. Hover your cursor over the tab that reads “Drug Coverage.”
  3. Click on the last item in the column labeled “Find Health & Drug Plans.”
  4. Add your zip code & click on “Find Plans.”
  5. Check the box that pertains to you.

Original Medicare?

Health Plan (MAPD)?

  1. Check the box that pertains to you in regards to assistance.

Do you receive extra help?

I Don’t Know?

  1. Click “Continue.”
  2. Now enter your drugs. All of them.

When you enter a brand drug, a box will come up asking you if you’d prefer to check the “generic.”

If you take the brand, keep the brand drug. If you use the generic – choose the generic. If you don’t know…..choose the generic for now. You can ask your pharmacist or doctor later.

  1. Select “My Drug List is Complete.”
  2. You’ll see on the right side a grayish box that has a Prescription ID#

Copy that number and the Password Date. You will be able to come back and edit the drug list in the future, without having to add all the previous drugs again. What a timesaver!

  1. Now select a pharmacy you use.
  2. Then select “Continue to plan results”
  3. On this page, you’ll see a summary of your search.
  4. Select the box that pertains to your plan.

   Either Prescription Drug Plan with Original Medicare or

   Health Plan with Prescription Drug Plan (MAPD).

      All the drug plans in your geographical area available to you will be displayed.

      Now you can look at each plan to determine which plans have all your prescription drugs and which ones do not.

      You can enroll directly from the Medicare.gov portal, call Medicare directly or call your insurance agent or better yet – your Medicare Advisor.

      You have several options.

      With your Prescription ID# and the Password Date,  you will be able to come back at a later date and edit your list.

      Start getting your list together, so it will be easier for you to check out 2017 plans!

 Here's the link to read the guidelines your Primary Doctor uses in prescribing you scheduled drugs.

www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/prescribing/guideline

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

I may answer one of your questions on the air!

email me:

support@themedicarenation.com       

Go to the Contact page and send me an email or “click” on the “Speak” button and talk to me!

No other equipment is needed!

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!

www.CallSamm.com

 

 

Aug 27, 2016

How to Find a New Prescription Drug Plan

Welcome Medicare Nation!

Many clients have been contacting me the last several weeks to tell me their Medicare plan has dropped one or several of their prescription drugs from the plan’s formulary.

MAPD plans and Stand Alone Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) may change their formularies during the calendar year. Two examples of when they can do this, is if a prescription drug is found to be unsafe by the FDA. If a prescription drug may cause serious injury or death, they will remove the drug from the market. All Medicare plans would be forced to remove that drug from their formulary.

Another reason a drug may be removed or added is when a generic of the brand drug comes out. This year Crestor, a brand drug for high cholesterol, became generic. With generic drugs available, the cost of the drug to the Medicare plan goes down. The plan adds the generic to their formulary and either keeps Crestor in addition to the generic, or removes Crestor from the formulary and keeps the generic versions.

If you are on a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan (MAPD), you are locked in the plan, until the open enrollment period which begins on October 15th this year, or you have a special enrollment period.

You can go to www.Medicare.gov to look up special election periods, or you can listen to episode #36 published on April 15, 2016.

Stand Alone Prescription Drug Plans and MAPD plans, which have prescription drugs included, will be announcing their 2017 plans and formularies by October 1, 2016.

Several Medicare Advantage Plans or Stand Alone Prescription Drug Plans may be available in your area.

How do you compare plans to find the right one for you or your loved one?

Use the official Medicare Website Plan Finder’s database.

Go to www.Medicare.gov

  1. You’ll see a Dark Blue Bar under Medicare.gov
  2. Hover your cursor over the tab that reads “Drug Coverage.”
  3. Click on the last item in the column labeled “Find Health & Drug Plans.”
  4. Add your zip code & click on “Find Plans.”
  5. Check the box that pertains to you.                                                 Original Medicare?                                                                           Health Plan (MAPD)?
  6. Check the box that pertains to you in regards to assistance.                     Do you receive extra help?                                                                      I Don’t Know?
  7. Click “Continue.”
  8. Now enter your drugs. All of them.

When you enter a brand drug, a box will come up asking you if you’d prefer to check the “generic.”

If you take the brand, keep the brand drug. If you use the generic – choose the generic. If you don’t know…..choose the generic for now. You can ask your pharmacist or doctor later.

  1. Select “My Drug List is Complete.”
  2. You’ll see on the right side a grayish box that has a Prescription ID#   Copy that number and the Password Date. You will be able to come back and edit the drug list in the future, without having to add all the previous drugs again. What a timesaver!
  1. Now select a pharmacy you use.
  2. Then select “Continue to plan results”
  3. On this page, you’ll see a summary of your search.
  4. Select the box that pertains to your plan.                                           Either Prescription Drug Plan with Original Medicare or                         Health Plan with Prescription Drug Plan (MAPD).

All the drug plans in your geographical area available to you will be displayed.

Now you can look at each plan to determine which plans have all your prescription drugs and which ones do not.

You can enroll directly from the Medicare.gov portal, call Medicare directly or call your insurance agent or better yet – your Medicare Advisor.

      You have several options.

With your Prescription ID# and the Password Date,  you will be able to come back at a later date and edit your list.

 Start getting your list together, so it will be easier for you to check out 2017 plans!

 

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

I may answer one of your questions on the air!

email me:

support@themedicarenation.com       

Go to the Contact page and send me an email or “click” on the “Speak” button and talk to me!

No other equipment is needed!

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!

www.CallSamm.com

 

Jul 29, 2016

Welcome Medicare Nation! We have a question today and I know many of you need this information!

 

MEDICARE SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD SHOW NOTES

Here’s quick guide to when you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage Plan:

 

  1. You can make your initial selection of a Medicare Advantage Plan when you enroll in Medicare at age 65.
  2. During the Annual Enrollment Period which is between October 15th through Dec 7th every year.
  3. You can dis-enroll from a Medicare Advantage Plan between January 1- Feb 14th, but you would have to go back on to Original Medicare because you cannot switch to another Medicare Advantage Plan at this time.
  4. You may have a “Special Election” that qualifies you to change your plan.

 

The Special Election Period that qualifies you to change your Medicare Advantage Plan, is what we want to focus on today.  There are certain circumstances which allow you to qualify for this option.

If You Move

  1. If you move and your new residence is not in your plan service area. You would need to notify Medicare as soon as possible, because you have the rest of the current month you are moving and the following 2 full months as the Special Election Period. 
  2. If you move to a new address and your plan is still in your service area, but by moving you now have new options available to you that you didn’t previously have, then you would have a Special Election Period to change to one of the new option plans.
  3. Snowbirds that live in 2 locations, have to determine which of those residences is your primary residence. Where you vote and where you pay taxes are going to determine which is your primary residence.
  4. If you move out of the country for a period of time and now you are coming back to live in the US,  that will trigger a Special Election Period.
  5. If you are moving into a long term care facility or a Skilled Nursing Facility with round the clock skilled nursing care, you would have a Special Election Period when you move into the facility, while you are residing in the facility and when you move out of the facility. 

Losing Coverage:

  1. If you leave your Employer's Insurance Plan, or union through retirement, turning 65, etc.
  2. If you had an involuntary loss of drug coverage that was as good or better than Medicare drug coverage(credible coverage), that triggers a SEP. Or if you have had drug coverage through a Medicare Cost Plan and you leave the Cost Plan.
  3. If you leave a PACE (Program All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) Program.
  4. If you had Medicaid and lost eligibility because of income requirements.

 

When there are plan changes with Medicare Contracts:

  1. If your Medicare Advantage Plan was sanctioned by CMS, then you would be able to contact Medicare directly to request a Special Election Period  to choose another Medicare Advantage Plan.
  2. If Medicare terminated a contract with your Medicare Advantage Plan, that will trigger a Special Election Period and CMS will notify you.

 

Special Circumstances

  1. You qualify as a Medicare & Medicaid recipient, you may change Medicare Advantage Plans as often as you'd like!
  2. If you qualify for LIS (Limited Income Sources) you may get extra help with prescription drug coverage and a Special Election Period to enroll in a different Medicare Advantage Plan.
  3. During your Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare, you may have enrolled in a Medigap plan, and decided to change to a Medicare Advantage Plan during your first enrollment year. If you decide you want to change back to a Medicare Supplement Plan during your first year of coverage, you qualify.
  4. SNP Plan - for chronic conditions (Diabetes, Heart Disease, COP) - may change your current Medicare Advantage Plan to enroll in a SNP plan, or you may no longer qualify for a SNP, so you can choose another Medicare Advantage Plan.
  5. f an error was made by a federal employee when you signed up for Medicare, and you can prove it, you may be granted an SEP.

 

*****You cannot get an SEP because your Doctor left the network********

If you have a Medicare Supplement - a Medigap plan, you can change plans whenever you want because there is no SEP for Medicare Supplement Plans.

 

 

Precautions:

If you have a chronic illness, cancer, cardiovascular disease or other medical conditions, a Medicare Supplement (MediGap) plan does not have to enroll you after your first year of enrollment. You need to be careful and make sure you are going to be able to get coverage when you change plans. The Medicare Supplement carrier may not take you due to pre-existing conditions and once you drop your Medicare Advantage Plan, you may be "locked out" and not able to re-enroll until the next open enrollment period..Medicare Supplement Carriers can discriminate due to pre-existing conditions!

The price of Medicare Supplement plans do change as you age, and where you live. Keep that in mind.

 

Need more information on "Special Enrollment Periods?"

www.callsamm.com - has all of this information available for you. Download the Quick PDF List for Special Election Periods.

 

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

I may answer one of your questions on the air!

email me:

support@themedicarenation.com

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!

www.CallSamm.com

 

Jul 22, 2016

Welcome, Medicare Nation! Today I want to explain a brand new bill being introduced in the US House and Senate. It’s the BENES Act (Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification Act). This bill impacts people eligible for Medicare, specifically those who are nearing the age 65 enrollment period for Part B. The bill was introduced by Rep. Raul Ruiz (Dem.-CA) and Rep. Patrick Mann (Rep.-PA) in the House and by Sen. Bob Casey (Dem.-PA) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (Dem.-NY) in the Senate. I hope I can clear up any confusion for you!

Let’s look at the current PROBLEM, which boils down to a LACK OF INFORMATION:

  • The current system lets CERTAIN people know when to enroll in Medicare. If you are receiving SSI(disability) or SS benefits, then you will receive a letter as your 65th birthday approaches, advising you of your enrollment period and Medicare effective date. What about those NOT receiving those benefits? THAT is the problem!
  • If you don’t receive current SSI or SS benefits, then the government has no “trigger” to alert you that it’s time to enroll as you approach age 65. If you don’t enroll during your initial enrollment period (three months prior to, including, and following your BIRTHDAY MONTH—for a total of seven months), then significant late penalties can apply. These can raise the premium you pay by as much as 30%! In 2014, ONE MILLION people paid a late penalty. The average monthly premium is $105 and the average late penalty adds an average of 30% to your monthly premium—EVERY MONTH! 
  • Remember the following:
    • If you have worked for 10 years (40 quarters paid into FICA), then you have paid the minimum to qualify for Medicare Part A, premium-free. Part A is the “accommodations” part of Medicare, meaning it covers overnight stays in medical care facilities.
    • Part B covers outpatient services, which includes everything you might need in health care, excluding overnight stays.
    • Under current law, the government will NOT send you any notification of your approaching enrollment period, and then they will assess you a substantial late penalty if you don’t enroll when you should. “It’s all about the mighty dollar, folks!”

Let’s look at what the BENES Act will do to correct the PROBLEM:

  • The Act will make it possible for those turning 65 (10,000 Americans EVERY DAY!) to avoid mistakes and will give uniform information about the Part B enrollment process. Each individual will receive a “clear and detailed” notice of Part B enrollment rules that will help them make informed decisions. The government will send a notification when you are 64, letting you know that your initial enrollment period (that 7-month window around your birthday) is approaching. I’m excited about the possibilities of this new law, but it has to get passed first. Congress will reconvene on September 6 after their summer break, and if you want to stay informed about the progress of the BENES Act, then see our resources section.

Here’s a listener question from Teresa in Philadelphia:

  • How do I enroll in Medicare?

Well, Teresa, there are some options. If you are turning 65 and not currently receiving SSI or SS benefits, then you need to visit www.ssa.gov, go under Menu—Benefits—Medicare, and then scroll down to “Apply for Medicare only.” Click on “Start a New Application” and follow the directions. It should take about 10 minutes! Do it prior to your 65th birthday. My caution is that your personal information must have been updated with the Social Security Administration or there will be delays. If you have moved to a new address, changed your marital status or name, then you will have to go to the local SS office to enroll. You can call 800-772-1213 to enroll over the phone, but it is a LONG process.

If you are over 65 and still working and are covered by your employer’s credible insurance plan, and NOT under Part B---then you will have to go to the local office and have two forms with you: the Employer Attestation Form (to prove there have been no gaps in insurance coverage since your 65th birthday) and the Application to enroll in Part B. Find these forms at www.ssa.gov or email me at support@the medicarenation.com and request copies. Thanks for the question, Teresa, and I hope this helps you!

Resources:

www.medicare.gov  and    www.callsamm.gov can give you information NOW about Medicare enrollment.

www.congress.gov  (Keep up with the BENES Act progress—reference House Bill 5772.)

www.medicarerights.org   (For great information and resources!)

 

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

I may answer one of your questions on the air!

email me:

support@themedicarenation.com

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!

www.CallSamm.com

 

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