Medicare Nation

How much would you pay out-of-pocket for a five day hospital stay on Medicare? The majority of people have no idea! The problem with Medicare is there is too much information. An overwhelming amount of information and not enough resources. Medicare Nation solves that problem by educating you on all things Medicare, because there are not enough resources out there! This podcast will educate you about the components of Medicare, the different categories of Medicare Plans and Medicare benefits. On other episodes I’ll interview expert guests in the health and wellness field, about diseases, Medicare issues and current changes to the Medicare program. Medicare Nation is dedicated to answering all your questions about Medicare. Expert information and insights regarding Medicare and you! Further information can be found on Don't Forget to SUBSCRIBE to the show! Give us feedback on Facebook!
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Now displaying: Category: general
Nov 9, 2019

Hey Medicare Nation!

CMS just announced the 2020 Medicare Part B Premium increase!

CMS also announced 2020 Part A Deductible and co-pays, as well as the Part B annual deductible.

Here's a look at what's changing in 2020:

Medicare premiums, deductibles, and co-payment amounts are adjusted each year in accordance with the Soc Sec Act. 





Increase:    1.6%  (Avg $24 more a month)


Average Monthly SS Check $1,503.00  





Inpatient Hospital Deductible:                       $1408.00

Daily Coinsurance Days 61-90:                    $  352.00

Daily Coinsurance-Lifetime Reserve:           $  704.00

Skilled Nursing Facility-Days 21-100:           $  176.00






Standard Monthly Premium:                 $ 144.60  ($9.00 More)

Annual Deductible:                                $ 198.00


It's a great time to review your plan for 2020.

Is it the right plan to fit your unique needs?

If so........ keep it!

If not....... change it!

I am available to assist you with your Medicare Plan choices for 2020.

If I can answer your email in one paragraph or less, I WILL answer your question for you!

If the answer to your question requires any research or my response is longer than one paragraph..... I will let you know that you will need to hire me to answer that question.

If you live outside of Florida, you can hire me as your consultant at a rate of $200.00 an hour ( The hourly rate is going up to $250.00 an hour, starting January 1 2020).

If you are a Florida resident, I can assist you in enrolling into the plan that fit's your unique needs at no additional charge. I will receive a commission from the insurance carrier once you are enrolled. The commission is regulated by Medicare.

The Annual Enrollment Period ends December 7th, so make sure you do your "due dilligence" and find the plan that works for you!

Until next time..... Have a Happy, peaceful & prosperous week!

Diane Daniels

Medicare Consultant


Oct 4, 2019

Hey Medicare Nation!

It's October! That means it's Medicare Time!

The Annual Enrollment Period is just around the corner. Did you receive your "Annual Notice of Changes (ANOC)" for your Medicare Advantage Plan or Prescription Drug Plan?

If your plan and request the ANOC.

Today......I want to talk with you about Part D Prescription Drug Coverage for 2020!

Medicare has set the maximum Part D Deductible for 2020 at $435.00.

Medicare Advantage Plans and Stand-Alone Prescription Drug Plans have the option to charge the maximum deductible amount of $435.00......


They can eliminate the Deductible altogether....


They can charge an amount in between.

You MUST do your "Due Dilligence" in determining which Prescription Drug Plan will fit your unique needs for 2020.

Contact your Medicare Specialist and request their assistance in finding a Prescription Drug Plan for 2020.

If you have a question about Medicare or your Prescription Drug Plan....

You can send me an email to

If I can answer your question in ONE Paragraph, I will answer your question!

If I cannot ...... I will request you hire me as your consultant.

I currently charge $199.00 an hour for my consultation services. 

I always do my best to answer your questions in ONE paragraph.

The "initial coverage period (ICP)" for Part D, has a threshold of $4,020.00

When you hand in a prescription, the total amount of the prescription is applied towards the ICP.

If you have a Deductible, that is applied towards the ICP too.

When the total amount of your prescriptions reaches $4,020.00..... you will now enter a new phase called the "coverage gap."

In this stage.... you will now pay 25% of generic drugs....

and you will pay 25% of brand name drugs.

If you reach $5,018.75 you will enter the next stage, which is called....

The "Catastrophic Stage."

In the Catastrophic Stage, you will now pay a 5% co-insurance or $3.60 for Generic Drugs..... or....

$8.95 for Brand or non-preferred Drugs....

which ever is a greater amount.

You will remain in the Catastrophic Stage until your out-of-pocket spending reaches $6,350 or.....

when the ball drops on New Year's Eve!

I know prescription drugs can be very expensive!

There are programs available for those of you with lower incomes.

The program is called "Extra Help," or "Low Income Subsidy."

To apply for Extra Help, go to the social security website -

If your individual income is less than $1,562 a month, you would qualify for the LIS program.

If your income is more than $1,562 a month, but is less than $1,900 a month....APPLY!

You have nothing to lose! All they can say is No!

You can also appy for the "Medicare Savings Program" If you qualify, CMS will pay for your Medicare Part B Premium. Depending on your qualifications, CMS may pay your premium, deductible and co-insurance.

Apply for the Medicare Savings Program here:

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

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!

Diane Daniels


Sep 4, 2019

Hey Medicare Nation!

How Do I get treatment & prescriptions during a weather emergency?

Hurricane Dorian is moving up the East Coast of the U.S., and MILLIONS of people have evacuated the coastlines, to seek safety.

What happens if you get sick or you need to fill prescriptions while you’re away from home during a weather emergency?


What happens if you need to move into a Skilled Nursing Facility, but you haven’t fulfilled the “3 Day Prior Hospitalizaton” Rule….due to the weather emergency?

Let’s take a look at these questions for you.

After President Trump Declared Emergencies in Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia & South Carolina….. Health & Human Services Secretary ….. Alex Azar….Declared Public Health Emergencies in those States.  Secretary Azar also declared a “Blanket Waiver” for Hurricane Dorian.

What that means…… is some restrictions under Medicare are more “Flexible” during the Declaration.

For example…….

You evacuated your home in Savannah Georgia, to go stay with your relatives in Michigan. Prior to evacuating your home, you were receiving home health care for physical therapy…due to a sprained ankle.

If you are on Original Medicare, you can contact “Any” home health agency that accepts Medicare to re-start your physical therapy at your relative’s home. They should be able to contact Medicare to get copies of the orders you had for the Physical Therapy.

If you’re on a Medicare Advantage Plan, you will need to contact your Plan carrier…… advise them you evacuated from a Public Health Emergency area and that you need to “Resume” physical therapy at home ASAP. The plan should contact a home health care vendor in the area you’re temporarily staying in, to resume your physical therapy.

If you have a Medicare Specialist, call them! You WILL need their help in expediting the process. Remember…… MILLIONS of people have evacuated coastal areas! Don’t Delay!!! If you need to use your Medicare benefits…. CALL as soon as possible.

For Prescription Medications……let’s say in the stress of having to “evacuate,” you forgot all your prescriptions at home.

under a Medicare Advantage Plan, call your carrier & tell them what happened. You should be able to get a “Refill” under the “Emergency Waiver,”  for most prescriptions. If you need an Extension for 60 – 90 days for your prescription, due to being out of the area, call your plan and ask them if they “offer” extended day prescriptions.

If you’re on an “opioid” prescription……… call your plan & advise them of your situation. Hopefully, you can get a refill…. for at least a day…. or two…… under the waiver, until you can be seen by a doctor in the area you’re temporarily staying at.

Your carrier will tell you which Pharmacy is “IN” network…. Where you’re staying.  If there is NO pharmacy “In” Network where you’re staying, ask the carrier if they will “reimburse” you for the cost of the prescriptions.

You will need a receipt with the Pharmacy name,  prescription name, and the price you paid for the prescription on the receipt to submit to your Medicare Advantage Carrier for reimbursement.

If you had Durable Medical Equipment …… Orthotics, Prosthetics,  or Oxygen Supplies for example….. that was lost, destroyed, “irreparably damaged” ….. or otherwise rendered unusable…… you should be able to replace it from a vendor in the area you’re staying….. with the “flexibility” to WAIVE the replacement requirements that are normally in place.

If you are on a Medicare Advantage Plan, contact your carrier for assistance in getting a replacement…. And advise them the “Blanket Waiver” is in place.

They will assist you in finding a local vendor to “Replace” your equipment.


 For those of you needing to stay at a “Skilled Nursing Facility,”Under “Normal” Circumstances…… if you or a loved one needed to enter a “Skilled Nursing Facility,” you would be required to have a “ 3 Day Prior Hospitalization” … prior to entering the Skilled Nursing Facility.

Under the “Blanket Waiver,” the 3 Day prior hospitalization is “waived,” so that you can enter the Skilled Nursing Facility without further delay.

This rule would be in effect “temporarily,” for those who are …… “ evacuated, transferred, or otherwise…. “dislocated” as a result of the emergency.

So….. if you “evacuated” your home in Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia or South Carolina, due to Hurricane Dorian….. and let’s say you’re temporarily staying with relatives in Pennsylvania………and you need to enter a Skilled Nursing Facility……you would be able to enter the facility without the 3 day prior hospitalization.

If you are on a Medicare Advantage Plan, you must contact your carrier to assist you in determining which “Skilled Nursing Facilities” has room for you to be admitted into.


These are examples of how Medicare “requirements” are more flexible during a Public Health Emergency WITH a “Blanket Waiver.”


How long does the Blanket Waiver Last? Until Secretary AZAR signs an order stating the Public Health Emergency is over.

NOW….. let’s take a look at how FEMA affects enrollment into Medicare.


FEMA… which stands for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, also declared emergencies in Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina AND the Virgin Islands (which are St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas AND Water Island) ….., which creates a “Special Election Period” for Medicare Beneficiaries, who needed to enroll in a Medicare Plan during that time, but were unable to ….. due to the effects of Hurricane Dorian.

This means if you needed to enroll in Medicare, or into a Medicare Advantage Plan for September 1st…….. you will be given a Special Election Period to do so….

Under the Emergency “Weather Event.”

So….if you need to enroll into a Medicare Advantage Plan…..OR…. a Stand-Alone Prescription Drug Plan…. you can do so, most likely through the end of October…… or even November in South Carolina & Georgia, under the FEMA Emergency.

You can call Medicare at  800 – 633 – 4227 or your Medicare Specialist for more information.


If you feel you are overly “stressed” with all the information on TV & social media, about Hurricane Dorian…… #1 ….. STOP watching the news continuously!  Listen to some music…. Read a book….. play a board game. Go out for a walk.

Continuously Watching the news about the weather is the worst thing you could do!

If you need to speak with someone, you can call the “Disaster Distress Helpline.”

Call  800 – 985  - 5990 to connect with a trained counselor, who can assist you with your distress.

You can even “TEXT” ….. TALKWITHUS   type the letters all together and send it to…. 66746.

You can also go online to get more Public Health & Safety info by going to

Finally….. if you would like to help those affected by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas….OR ….any of the other impacted States…..

Call your local TV Station or go onto their websites to find information on how to volunteer or donate supplies.

If you’d like to “donate” money to a cause…..

For Animals. Go to the Humane Society of the United States website…

The Humane Society is evacuating animals form Animal Shelters across Florida and the other States. They have already helped transport almost 100 animals here in Florida, that they will place in “safe shelters,” with the hope of being put up for adoption.

If you’d like to contribute to a Humanitarian Charity….. or one that is specifically helping those in the Bahamas…… go to the Charity Navigator website & they have a list of highly ranked charities that are providing relief.

Go to

To donate to one of these funds.

That’s all for this special show and I wish everyone out there, in the path of Dorian…… that you & your loved ones are safe.

Till next time....

Have a Safe & Peaceful week!


Aug 2, 2019

Hey Medicare Nation!

If you are turning 65 or still working on  an employer group insurance plan, you may need assistance in finding the Medicare plan that fits YOUR unique needs.

You may have a loved one in a nursing home or in an assisted living facility, who is not receiving proper care.

Call me! You can hire me as a consultant to assist you with Medicare issues!

Call 855-855-7266

or eMail me at

Tell me the situation and I'll personally get back to you!

Today, I am speaking to you about Shingles Vaccines!

There are two Shingles vaccines licensed in the United States available.

The first one is the "Zoster Vaccine Live," also known as "Zostavax." Many of you probably have received this vaccine, which is a "Live" vaccine and the CDC reports it as being 51% effective against Shingles.

The second vaccine is the "Recombinant Zoster Vaccine," also known as "Shingrix" has been used since October of 2017.

The CDC reports the Shingrix vaccine is about 91% effective against Shingles.

The cost of the Shingles vaccine is covered under Medicare "Part D."

You can look up the Zostavax vaccine or Shingrix vaccine in your plan's formulary, or you can call the customer service number on the back of your identification card.

Every plan can have a different cost for either vaccine, so it is important you check with your plan, prior to getting the vaccine.

There are side effects that can be associated with either vaccine.

Go to the CDC website to learn more about Shingles and the vaccines

Learn more about how Shingles is transmitted, the sign & symptons and treatment for Shingles here:

I'm not a doctor!

If you have any health related questions regarding shingles and/or vaccines, due your own due diligence or contact your health care provider for more information.

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

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!



Jul 5, 2019

Hey Medicare Nation!

Help your PARENTS, Spouses and Friends "SUBSCRIBE" to Medicare Nation!

With almost 100 episodes on Medicare and Medicare Resources available, your loved-one will be able to find answers to their Medicare questions!

Use the "Purple" colored icon on an Apple phone or ....

download Stitcher, Himalaya or Player FM when using Android phones.

Search for "Medicare" and "click" on the Medicare Nation logo.

You'll see the "subscribe" button on the page. "Click" subscribe and they'll get the NEWEST Medicare Nation episodes delievered to their phone.

TODAY.... I'm discussing NEW information released from CMS.


CMS Decision Summary Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring  Devices

July 2, 2019…..The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has determined that the evidence is sufficient to cover Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) for the diagnosis of hypertension in Medicare beneficiaries.

 What is hypertension (high blood pressure)?

The American Heart Association (AHA) defines blood pressure as…. a force that pushes blood through a network of arteries, veins and capillaries.

The blood pressure reading is the result of two forces:

  1. the systolic pressure occurs as blood pumps out of the heart and into the arteries;
  2. diastolic pressure is created as the heart rests between heart beats (American Heart Association, 2018).

Elevated blood pressure, or hypertension, leads to harm by causing tiny tears in the interior lining of the arteries and coronary vessels…..stimulating a local immune response in the endothelial cells within the atrial walls.

 In these regions, the arterial intima retains apolipoprotein B, which attracts lipid-rich macrophages (foam cells).  

These preatherotic lesions develop into atherosclerotic plaques which become increasingly fibrotic and can form fissures, hematomas, thrombi, and calcifications (Swirski and Nahrendorf, 2013). The end result is stiff, thickened arteries that narrow the flow of blood to organs and limbs….which both increases pressure on target organs and limits oxygenation of them.

There is also the risk of atherosclerotic plaque rupture, resulting in distal vascular obstruction and ischemia and infarction of end organs, such as stroke in the brain (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2018).

CMS is lowering the blood pressure threshold for hypertension… from the current policy of 140/90 down to 130/80 to align with the latest society recommendations regarding the diagnostic criteria. 

This will allow more patients to use ABPM and receive appropriate treatment if needed.

  1. General

Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) is a diagnostic test… that allows for the identification of various types of high blood pressure.

ABPM devises are small… portable machines that are connected to a blood pressure cuff worn by patients…. that record blood pressure at regular periods over 24 to 48 hours while the patient goes about their normal activities..including sleep.

The recording is interpreted by a physician or non-physician practitioner….and appropriate action is taken based on the findings.

Diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure is important for the management of various conditions…. including cardiovascular disease and kidney disease.


Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) for the diagnosis of hypertension in Medicare beneficiaries is covered under the following circumstances:

  1. For beneficiaries with suspected “white coat hypertension,” which is defined as an average office blood pressure of systolic blood pressure greater than 130 mm … but less than 160 mm … or diastolic blood pressure greater than 80… but less than 100… on two separate clinic/office visits …..with at least two separate measurements made at each visit and with at least two blood pressure measurements taken outside the office which are <130/80 mm Hg.
  2. For beneficiaries with suspected “masked hypertension,” which is defined as average office blood pressure between 120 and 129 for systolic blood pressure or between 75 and 79 for diastolic blood pressure on two separate clinic/office visits…. with at least two separate measurements made at each visit and with at least two blood pressure measurements taken outside the office which are ≥ 130/80

ABPM devices must be:

  • capable of producing standardized plots of blood pressure measurements for 24 hours with daytime and night-time windows and normal blood pressure bands demarcated;
  • provided to patients with oral and written instructions and a test run in the physician’s office must be performed; and
  • interpreted by the treating physician or treating non-physician practitioner.
  • For eligible patients, ABPM is covered once per year.


CMS has covered ABPM since 2001 only for those patients with documented suspected white coat hypertension. On January 16, 2003, a technical correction for this National Coverage Determination was issued…. to clarify that a physician is required to perform the interpretation of the data obtained through ABPM…. but that there are no requirements regarding the setting in which the interpretation is performed.

CMS received a complete, formal request for a reconsideration of the national coverage determination from the American Heart Association and American Medical Association.

You can view the formal request letter on the tracking sheet on the CMS website.

Benefit Category

Medicare is a defined benefit program. For an item or service to be covered by the Medicare program, it must fall within one of the statutorily defined benefit categories outlined in the Social Security Act.

ABPM may be considered to be within the benefits described under sections:

other diagnostic tests  (§1861(s)(3).

Medicare regulations state in part, that "…diagnostic tests must be ordered by the physician who is treating the beneficiary, that is, the physician who furnishes a consultation or treats a beneficiary for a specific medical problem and who uses the results in the management of the beneficiary’s specific medical problem." (42 CFR 410.32(a))



(Current Section 20.19 of the National Coverage Determination Manual)

Item/Service Description

Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) involves the use of a non-invasive device which is used to measure blood pressure in 24-hour cycles. These 24-hour measurements are stored in the device and are later interpreted by the physician.

Indications and Limitations of Coverage

ABPM must be performed for at least 24 hours to meet coverage criteria.

ABPM is only covered for those patients with suspected white coat hypertension.

Suspected white coat hypertension is defined as:

Office blood pressure >140/90 on at least three separate clinic/office visits with two separate measurements made at each visit;

  1. At least two documented blood pressure measurements taken outside the office which are <140/90 and
  2. No evidence of end-organ damage.
  3. The information obtained by ABPM is necessary in order to determine the appropriate management of the patient. ABPM is not covered for any other uses.


In the rare circumstance that ABPM needs to be performed more than once

in a patient, the qualifying criteria described above must be met for each subsequent ABPM test.

For those patients that undergo ABPM and have an ambulatory blood pressure of <135/85 with no evidence of end-organ damage, it is likely that their cardiovascular risk is similar to that of normotensives. Patients should be followed over time.

Patients for which ABPM demonstrates a blood pressure of >135/85 may be at increased cardiovascular risk, and a physician may wish to consider antihypertensive therapy

Resources: Website  


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

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!

Diane Daniels

Jun 21, 2019

Hey Medicare Nation!

Today, I'm discussing how the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) SLAPPED Agewell New York LLC with a Civil Money Penalty of $39,200!

CMS conducts audits to ensure Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans are following conditions of the current contract as well as Medicare rules & regulations. 

From March 9, 2018 through May 15, 2018, CMS Conducted an audit of Agewell's 2016 Medicare financial information.

In a financial audit report issued on September 20, 2018, CMS auditors reported that Agewell failed to comply with Medicare requirements related to Part C (Medicare Advantage) cost sharing.

Specifically, auditors found that in 2016 Agewell failed to comply with cost-sharing requirements by charging "incorrect" co-payments to enrollees for medical services.

Enrollees were affected in the following area:

Bronx, NY; Kings County Brooklyn, NY; Nassua County, NY, Manhattan, Queens and Westchester County, NY.

Agewell's failure was "systemic," and "adversely affected" enrollees or the substantial likelihood of adversely affecting enrollees because they experienced out-of-pocket costs.

CMS determined that Agewell was charging a $30 "specialist" co-pay was applied to "primary care physician" claims instead of a $0 co-pay as stated in the plan's Explanation of Coverage.

Enrollees were NOT Refunded the overcharged amounts until AFTER the financial audit concluded, which was 2 years after the incurred cost.

In 2016, If you paid a $30 co-pay to see YOUR Primary Physician, when you were only obligated to pay $0,  you should contact Agewell at 888-586-8044 and ask to speak to a supervisor, regarding the CMS penalty. Advise the supervisor of the date & time of your appointment with your Primary Doctor and that you have proof of a payment that you made of $30 for your visit. Advise the supervisor that you would like to be refunded the $30 immediately. 

Write down the name of the supervisor, the date & time you called Agewell and what the supervisor stated Agewell would do for you.

If you donot receive your refund within 14 business days, call Medicare directly at 800-633-4227 and advise Medicare of the situation.

If you have any "complaints" regarding the way you were treated by any representative at Agewell, you can make an annonymous complaint to Agewell's confidential hotline - 888-336-7240.

You can also make a complaint to Medicare directly by calling 800-633-4227.

If you have a complaint, regarding any physician or facility in the Agewell network, you can call the Agewell confidential hotline to make your complaint - 888-336-7240.

If you are uncomfortable making a formal complaint and you would like assistance with your complaint you can :

1. contact the Insurance Agent or Medicare Specialist who enrolled you into the Agewell plan 


2. contact your local "SHIP" (State Health Insurance & Assistance Program) representative by "clicking" on your State here -

when the page opens, go all the way to the bottom of the page and you'll see an "orange" button that reads -

Find Your Local SHIP

"Click" on that ORANGE buton and a list will come up of all 50 States.

"Click" on the State where you reside, to contact your local SHIP center.

If YOU need help with finding the Medicare Advantage Plan that is right for your UNIQUE needs, contact me at either:


call me at 855-855-7266

If I can answer your question in ONE paragraph in an email, I will directly answer your question!

If it takes more than one paragraph to answer your question or I need to do research to answer your question....then....I will respond by advising you that you will need to contact me and request my consultative services. 

I currently charge $199.00 an hour, and I consult with Medicare beneficiaries and the Adult Children of beneficiaries ALL over the country!

Please SUBSCRIBE to Medicare Nation so that you will receive EVERY NEW episode that is published!

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Go to and type MEDICARE NATION in the search bar.

When the page opens, "Click" on the Review tab and leave your review!

Thanks so much for listening!

If you'd like to hear about a specific topic on the show or you'd like a specific guest on the show...... send me an email to

I appreciate your Support!

Diane Daniels


Jun 14, 2019

Multi Target Stool DNA Test  vs. Fecal Occult Blood Test

 Hey Medicare Nation!

Have you subscribed to Medicare Nation? Don’t know how?

If you have an Apple iPhone……. Click on the “Purple” icon…. With the white microphone. When the page opens….Click on SEARCH. Type in Medicare. Medicare Nation comes right up… WHY……BECAUSE….. it’s a TOP 100 APPLE PODCAST Nation!

Click on that Beautiful Flag “Medicare Nation” Logo. When the page opens….Click on the SUBSCRIBE button! That’s it. You’ll get the latest information on Medicare and you can search through the almost 100 episodes on Medicare Information!

Are Your Parents subscribed to Medicare Nation? Come On “Sandwich Generation” Show your parents HOW to Subscribe to Medicare Nation! Once they subscribe…. They will STOP asking you questions about Medicare, because they WILL Find the answer by listening to Medicare Nation episodes!

Let’s give YOU back some time…. So that YOU can have more time for yourself


Today…..I’m going to be talking to you about the Differences Between Multi Target Stool DNA Test  vs. Fecal Occult Blood Test

Medicare offers these Preventative Tests to determine if you have blood in your stool and/or suspected cancerous characteristics.

ColoRectal  cancer (CRC) is the second most frequent cause of cancer DEATH in the United States.  The Most Frequent Cause of Cancer Death is…… Lung Cancer.

This year, an estimated 145,600 adults in the United States will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

According to…… an estimated 51,020 of the 145,600 adults will die this year…..due to ColoRectal Cancer.

When colorectal cancer is found early, it can often be cured. CURED Nation!

This is due to improvements in treatment and increased screening….. which finds colorectal changes before they turn cancerous and cancer at earlier stages.

Medicare Part B offers TWO Preventative Screening Tests

The First…. Is a Fecal Occult Blood Test

“Fecal Occult” Blood Test is just a scary way of saying….. “ Looking for Blood in your Poop.”  The test ONLY detects the “presence” or “absence” of blood in your stool. The test does not indicate potential sources of bleeding and it does not “Diagnos” disease.

“Fecal” means……“Stool” or “Poop”….and…. “Occult Blood” means you can’t see the blood in your stool with the “naked eye,” so….. the specimen is sent to the lab for a closer look.

Blood in the stool may indicate polyps…. or it may indicate cancer in the intestine or rectum….though not all cancers or polyps bleed.

If blood is detected through the “Fecal Occult Blood Test,” additional tests may be needed to determine the source of bleeding as well as “diagnosing” an ailment or disease.

Blood in the stool could also mean Hemorrhoids….which are swollen veins in the lowest part of your rectum and anus.

Sometimes the walls of these blood vessels stretch so thin….. that the veins bulge and get irritated, especially when you poop! Straining while pooping is a major factor in Hemorrhoids.  EAT more Fiber Nation! Eat More Vegetables….try Metamucil or Miralax. Straining to poop is not good. Drink more water! You should try to drink at least 96 oz. a day. I use a 24oz bottle I fill 4 x a day….. to get my 96 oz of water. You can do it. It’s important.

Hemorrhoids can cause itching & pain.  Hemorrhoids can also bleed.

There are several types of Fecal Occult Blood Tests,

I’m going to discuss the “newer version,” which is called a “ Immunochemical Fecal Occult Blood Test,” (aka iFOBT or FIT)

The IFOBT or FIT test is less of a mess and easy to administer.

Typically, you have a “spoon-like” device to collect the sample of stool and you place the device into a collection container then seal it.

You either return the collection container to your doctor’s office, or you mail it.

There are no dietary restriction with the iFOB-IT and the test can be performed on any random sample of your stool.

Your Doctor will review the results and there are just two options:

  1. Negative Result, which means no blood was detected in the stool sample you provided.


  1. Positive Result, which means blood WAS detected in the stool sample you provided.


This type of test ISN’T ALWAYS accurate.

Your fecal occult blood test could show a negative test result when cancer is present (false-negative result) if your cancer or polyps don't bleed.

If you had the test to screen for colon cancer and you're at average risk — you have no colon cancer risk factors other than age — your doctor may recommend waiting one year and then repeating the test.

 If you have a “positive result,” You may need additional testing — such as a colonoscopy — to locate the source of the bleeding.

Under Medicare…… The Fecal Occult Blood Test…. can be given ONCE every 12 months if you’re 50 or older, at ZERO Cost to you.


     Now….. let’s take a look at Mult-Target Stool DNA Tests.

You will know the “Multi-Target Stool DNA Test” more commonly known as “ColoGuard.”

ColoGuard …….   addresses several barriers to colorectal screening.

  1. Patient concerns with colonoscopy. Include…having to schedule a separate and lengthy appointment at the testing facility.
  2. The need to undergo a “Stay Close to my Bathroom” bowel preparation
  3. the exposure to sedation or anesthesia……and
  4. the discomfort associated with an invasive imaging process…. Of sticking either the “colono-scope” during a colonoscopy or a flexible sigmoud device up your butt.


By comparison, the “Multi Target Stool DNA” screening test is a noninvasive, “multi-marker”, stool-based ColoRectal Cancer screening test…..

that detects altered De-oxyribo-nucleic Acid (DNA), , as well as a fecal immunochemical test (FIT)… for blood released from cancer and precancerous lesions of the colon.

The presence of fecal hemoglobin….. even in the absence of elevated DNA markers…..can lead to a positive result given the weighted nature of the Multi Target Stool DNA algorithm.

Patients may collect and mail stool specimens from their homes with no bowel preparations and no dietary or medication restrictions.


Medicare covers this at-home multi-target stool DNA lab test…. once every 3 years…if you meet ALL of these conditions:


  • You’re  between the age of  50-85.
  • You show NO CURRENT symptoms of colorectal disease including, but not limited to one of these:
  • Lower gastrointestinal pain
  • Blood in stool
  • Positive Guaiac fecal occult blood test….which is an older version of the Immunochemical Test… where you “smear” stool onto a TEST Card with a wooden applicator or brush. The Guaiac test has dietary restrictions and you are required to collect “TWO” or more samples from the same Stool Sample for the test. Much Messier than the Immunochemical Fecal Blood Occult Test.
  • OR……
  • A Positive Result from a Fecal Blood Occult Test


  • at average risk for developing colorectal cancer, meaning:
    • You have no personal history of  (adenomateous ) polyps”  which are …..  a common type of polyp. They are gland-like growths that develop on the mucous membrane that lines the large intestine. They are also called adenomas:

You have no personal history of  … colorectal cancer, or inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis.


  • You have no family history of colorectal cancers or adenomatous polyps, familial adenomatous polyposis, or hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer.


If you meet the above criteria….. You pay nothing for this test if your doctor…. or other qualified health care provider accepts Medicare.


So that’s the difference between Multi Target Stool DNA Tests vs. Fecal Occult Blood Test.


If you haven’t had one of these preventative tests, speak to your primary doctor and get one. It could very well SAVE YOUR LIFE!


If you have any questions about Medicare…. Send me an email to –


I answer ALL my emails. As long as I can answer your question in a paragraph, I’ll answer your question.

If my response involves any research or it will take more than one paragraph to answer you….. I’ll send you a suggestion to hire me as your Medicare Consultant.


I charge $199.00 an hour. I’m one of the TOP Medicare Experts in the Country Nation…… I could easily command $400 or $500 an hour, but I CARE about each and every one of you! My time is extremely valuable and I want to help as many of you as I can with your Medicare problems and Medicare Plan Comparisons.


Also…..if you’d like to have me speak about Medicare … go to the website… and click on the Contact tab and send me your information.

I’ve already started booking speaking engagements for the Annual Enrollment Period…. Starting in October…so contact me now to schedule me for your corporation or event.


Thanks for listening to Medicare Nation! I appreciate your loyalty and referrals.

Until next time…. I want YOU to have a Peaceful, Happy & Prosperous Week!








May 31, 2019

Hey Medicare Nation!

I'm not an expert on Reverse fact, I don't know much about them.

I have heard about Reverse Mortgages on commercials, in newspapers and on FaceBook feeds. I never had the need to learn about Reverse Mortgages, so...... I never did......until...... a client asked me about them.

When a client asks me a question about Medicare..... I know the answer. I'm a Medicare Expert....I'm in the business of knowing as much as I can about Medicare. 

Because my clients trust me with their Medicare needs and concerns, they ask me all kinds of questions. When I know the answer.... I tell them. When I don't know the answer..... I get the answer for them!

So....when my client asked me about Reverse Mortgages.... I started reading about them.

When I was introduced to Michael Banner, President of Professional Mortgage Alliance, LLC, I had many, many questions.

Michael Banner was very patient and answered every question I had..... truthfully.

An hour and a half later..... I had a much better idea about reverse mortgages, and I invited Michael Banner to come onto The Medicare Nation Podcast to share his knowledge with our Medicare Beneficiaries and Sandwich Generation!

Here are the highlights of my interview with Michael Banner:

* What is a Reverse Mortgage?

*  Do I pay a higher intersest rate with a Reverse Mortgage?

*  If I "Will" my home to my children.... what happens to the      Reverse Mortgage?

*  What is a Non-Recourse Loan?

* What does it mean if the value of my house is "upside              down?"

*  What is No-Debt Service?

*  Is a Reverse Mortgage Safe?

*  If a person leaves the home to live in an assisted living          facility, what happens to the Reverse Mortgage?

*  Can a person "out live" a Reverse Mortgage?

* What are the "5 Ways" payments are made with a Reverse     Mortgage?

Want to learn more about Reverse Mortgages?

Reach out to Michael Banner at :

Website for Professional Mortgage Alliance, LLC

Professional Mortgage Alliance

Michael Banner's Phone Number -  (727) 224 - 3859

Where to purchase Michael Banner's Book -


The 62 Who Knew Show


Have Questions About Medicare?

Send me an email to -

If you'd like to hire me as a Medicare Consultant, starting 

June 1, 2019.... my rate is $199.00 an hour.  Contact me by either email at ....

or ... call me ..... 855 - 855 - 7266.

Thanks for listening to Medicare Nation!

SUBSCRIBE to Medicare Nation and get the latest episodes delivered to you!

Give us a Rating & Review on iTunes!

This helps others find Medicare Nation so that they can have their Medicare questions answered too!

Until next time.... have a happy, peaceful & prosperous week!

Diane Daniels

May 17, 2019

Hey Medicare Nation!

On the Last episode.....I spoke to you about Medicare Supplement Plan "F" and High Deductible Plan F.

Today....I'm going to talk about Medicare Supplement Plan "G" and Plan "N"

Plan "G" allows you to "purchase" an insurance policy, where you pay a monthly premium to the carrier......

in return...... Medicare Supplement Plan G, will pay ALL your Medically necessary out-of-pocket deductibles, co-insurance and co-pays...... EXCEPT for ..... The Annual Part B Deductible. YOU will be responsible for the Annual Part B deductible each year.

Currently.... in 2019, the Annual Part B Deductible is $185.00.

So..... when you seek medical care in the beginning of the year.... you will pay out-of-pocket until you hit the $185.00 Part B Deductible.

After you pay the $185.00 Part B will NOT be responsible for ANY other deductibles, co-pays or co-insurance under Medicare Supplement Plan G, that are medically necessary under Medicare.

Plan "N" allows you to "purchase" an insurance policy, where you pay a monthly premium to the carrier......

in return...... Medicare Supplement Plan N, will pay ALL your Medically necessary out-of-pocket deductibles, co-insurance and co-pays...... EXCEPT for .....

1. The Annual Part B Deductible ($185.00 in 2019)

2. A co-pay of up to $20.00 for each doctor visit.

3. A co-pay of $50.00 if you go to the Emergency Room and you are "Discharged" from the Emergency Room.

If you are "admitted" to the hospital from the ER... you will NOT incur a $50.00 co-pay.

If you have paid all of your Part B Deductible, you will have NO other out-of-pocket costs while you are an inpatient in the hospital.

4. If you seek treatment, testing or diagnostic testing from a physician or facility that does NOT accept Medicare, you WILL be responsible for 100% of the cost of that service.

The provider or facility can legally charge you 15% above and beyond the Medicare Allowable charge.

It is vital that you always ask prior to receiving care, a test or doctor visit....if the physician or facility "accepts Medicare." 

If they do.....your charges are outlined above.

If they do not accept Medicare..... you may be responsible for ALL of the charges, up to 15% of the Medicare Allowable charge.


Prices for Medicare Supplements VARY by zipcode!

Get quotes from MANY different insurance carriers prior to enrolling in a plan. You could save hundreds....sometimes over a thousand dollars a year!

HAVE a Question for ME?

Send it to me at

I will answer ALL emails I receive.... personally!

If the answer to your question will take me more than 1 paragraph to answer... or .... it is necessary to do some research for you in order to answer the question.... I will respond and advise you to hire me as your consultant.

Many of your questions may be answered on the official Medicare website -

Always do YOUR Due Dilligence before you enroll in a Medicare Plan!

Consider leaving a review & rating on the Medicare Nation Podcast page in iTunes.


Thanks for listening to Medicare Nation!

Show your Parents how to "Subscribe" to Medicare Nation. With over 100 episodes... most of their questions will be answered by listening to my episodes.

This way... your parents are NOT bothering YOU for information about Medicare! Enjoy time for yourself and your family!

Teach people how to "subscribe" to Medicare Nation!

YOU will be responsible for the Annual Part B deductible each year.

Apr 15, 2019

Hey Medicare Nation!

More than 10,000 people a day are turning 65!

While qualifying for Medicare Part A and Part B, Medicare Beneficiaries are VERY confused as to what type of plan to enroll in, to "supplement" Original Medicare.

By zipcode, a Medicare Beneficiary may have over "100 Plans" to choose from to help supplement their Original Medicare.

That's an ENORMOUS amount of research to do!                  If you have the time and enjoy doing all that research.......go for it!

If you're like most Medicare Beneficiaries, you are retiring and you want to ENJOY LIFE! You don't want to "waste" time researching Medicare Plans.

Call a "Medicare Consultant" or "Medicare Specialist" to assist you in finding the plan that will fit YOUR unique needs.

How do you do that? 

"Google" "Medicare Consultant" or "Medicare Specialist" and add your city or zipcode to that search.

As an example, you would search....Medicare Consultant Tampa FL......or........Medicare Specialist Dallas TX.......

Google will then populate the "Ads" first. Businesses PAY to be on the top of the 1st page of Google.

SCROLL down past the "ADS." Just because a business "Pays" for an ad DOES NOT mean they are the best option for you.

You will start seeing local businesses and names of Medicare Specilaists. 

You should be checking out these "Brokers" and "Medicare Specialists" or "Medicare Consultants."

I'm speaking specifically about Medi-Gap Plan F and the High Deductible F Plan.

The Supplement F Plan to Medicare, is an Insurance Policy you take out on yourself.

Medi-gap Plans are NOT part of Medicare. Medi-Gap Plans are an insurance policy that an Insurance Carrier sells to you.

You are "purchasing" a policy, where you pay a monthly premium to the Insurance Carrier to protect some or all of  your out-of-pocket costs associated with Medicare.

Medi-Gap "F" Plan pays the out-of-pocket costs YOU are responsible for. The "F" Plan will pay your "medically necessary" out-of-pocket costs.

Plan F pays for your Part A In-Patient Hospital Deductible. Plan F pays your co-pay for being in a Skilled Nursing Facility.

Plan F pays your Annual Part B deductible and Plan F pays your 20% co-insurance under Part B.

Plan F pays for all of this, for one monthly premium.

ALL Medicare Plan F Plans have EXACTLY the same benefits. It doesn't matter if you live in Tampa, FL......San Francisco, CA.....or Salt Lake City, Utah.....The BENEFITS under Plan F are the SAME!


In YOUR ZipCode.......there may be up to 50 DIFFERENT Insurance Carriers that offer Plan F....EACH one of those Insurance Carriers offer a DIFFERENT Premium for the SAME Plan F Plan.

You should find the LOWEST Monthly Premium from the Insurance Carrier that has an "A" Financial Rating.

An "A" financial rating means the company WILL pay your claims. That's the Insurance Carrier your looking for.

Plan F is the "Peace of Mind" Medi-Gap Plan. There is NO Network of Doctors and Facilities....because......Plan F is NOT part of Medicare. 

Original Medicare has NO Network.....Original Medicare allows you to see ANY Doctor....or go to ANY Medical Facility in the U.S. that ACCEPTS Medicare!

YOUR Health Insurance IS......Original Medicare.....NOT your Plan F!

So.....if you're looking for a Medicare Supplement Plan that will cover ALL your Medicare Necessary out-of-pocket costs...Then Plan F is for you.

Now.....let's take a look at the High Deductile F Plan.

The High Deductible F Plan.....has a DEDUCTIBLE!

For 2019.....the annual deductible is $2,300.00

That WILL pay-out-of-pocket reach the $2,300 DEDUCTIBLE. When you reach the $2,300 deductible, the plan will then pay all your "medically necessary" out-of-pocket costs that you are responsible for under Medicare, for the remainder of the calendar year.

You will NOT pay the "Cash" will be paying the Medicare Allowable price....BIG difference.

If you go to a cardiologist, and the visit under Medicare, costs a total of $150, Medicare will pay 80% of that amount.... which is $120. you would pay the remaining 20%, which $30.

You would continue to pay out-of-pocket until you reach $2,300.

If you don't see many doctors or have any diagnostic tests, you will ONLY pay for the services you use.

For a healthy person, this could be a very viable option.

If you are a person with a chronic illness, let's say for example...Diabetes......Asthma.....or high cholesterol with high blood pressure.....this plan may NOT be a good choice for you.

It's important for you to take into consideration your own health history, what medications you take, your financial status and what doctors you see, before enrolling in a Medicare Plan.

Next time, I will go over the differences between Plan G and PLan N.

If you are turning are getting ready to come off of your employer plan and you need to figure out what Medicare Plan will suit your needs best.....

Contact Me!

Reach out to me by email -


by phone....... (855) 855 - 7266.

I will help you find the plan that fits YOUR unique needs.

Go to my website.....

for more information.

Until next time.....have a very happy, a very healthy and Prosperous week!


Diane Daniels


Mar 15, 2019

Hey Medicare Nation!

It's almost Spring time! For many people, this has been a terrible winter. Many Medicare Nation listeners have been emailing me to find out if Medicare covers "Emergencies" while traveling across the U.S. or abroad.

That's a great question!

Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans Do cover "Emergency Care" AND  Urgent Care ANYWHERE in the United States and it's Territories.

An "Emergency" is Life-Threatening. An example would be if you were having chest pain and you believed you were having a heart attack. In this would go to the nearest hospital to seek emergency care.

Even if it turns out you were diagnosed with "heart burn," Original Medicare AND Medicare Advantage plans will cover the medically necessary treatment for this situation because you believed you were in a "life-threatening" situation.

 "Urgent Care" is defined by Medicare as:

Care that you get outside of your Medicare health plan's service area for a sudden illness or injury that needs medical care right away but isn’t life threatening. If it’s not safe to wait until you get home to get care from a plan doctor, the health plan must pay for the care.

An "Urgent Care" example would be if you were walking in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, and you slipped on a banana peel and fell onto the ground, breaking your ankle. That's an injury that isn't life threatening, but requires immediate medical care.

So......if you are traveling ANYWHERE in the U.S. or it's Territories, AND you have an Urgent Care or Emergency can go to the nearest hospital or Urgent Care Center to receive care AND it will be covered by Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans.

If you are traveling outside of the U.S. Medicare generally DOES NOT cover emergencies or urgent care needs.

There are a few circumstances where Original Medicare WILL cover Emergency Care AND Urgent Care.

1.  If you are on a CRUISE and you require EMERGENCY care from a doctor who is stationed on the ship while the ship is in a U.S. port.....Your Emergency Care WILL be covered by Original Medicare.

2. If the ship is Departing or Arriving to/from a U.S. port within 6 hours and you have a medical emergency and require to be treated by the ship's doctor......Your Emergency Care will be covered by Original Medicare.

3. If you are in Alaska and you are traveling directly to another State without unreasonable delay, and you require Emergency Care at a hospital in Canada, because it was the closest hospital at the time of the emergency......Your Emergency Care will be covered by Original Medicare.

If you have a "Medicare Advantage Plan," you may have coverage for Emergency and/or Urgent Care Coverage on your plan.

You must do your own due dilligence to understand the benefits of your plan while you are traveling abroad.

Some Medicare Advantage Plans have a deductible for emergency care outside the U.S.

Some Medicare Advantage Plans have a deductible and a co-pay for emergency care outside the U.S.

There is an annual maximum out-of-pocket amount for your plan. Some are around $1,500.00 all the way up to $6,700.00 


Some of you have "Medi-Gap" or Supplement to Original Medicare Plans.

Plans "C" through "G" and also plan "M" and "N" have coverage for Emergency Care while traveling abroad.

Some Medi-Gap plans have a deductible. Some plans have "Maximum Lifetime Amounts." It is important to READ your Medi-Gap Policy to determine coverage while traveling abroad.

Travel Insurance


I always recommend purchasing "Travel Insurance," while traveling abroad.

I use these different websites to look for policies:




Cost will depend on -

a. Total Cost of the Trip

b. Your Age

c. What country you're visiting

d. Types of coverage you're adding (ex: Air evacuation, cancel for any reason etc.)

If you have ANY questions, and I can answer your question in ONE paragrapn, send them to me by email.

If I need to do research or write more than one paragraph, I will let you know that I am available for a consultation to solve your problem at $150.00 an hour.

Reach out to me.....I answer all emails personally!

Thanks soo much for listening to Medicare Nation!

I appreciate your time and I love to educate you on all things Medicare!

Diane Daniels



Jan 11, 2019

Hey Medicare Nation!



Today, I'm going to speak with you about the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.

CMS...Centers For Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued a new regulation that began January 1, 2019.

Under 42 CFR 422.62(a)(3)....CMS published the following:

During the MA OEP, MA plan enrolles may enroll in another MA plan or disenroll from their MA plan and return to Original Medicare. Individuals may make only one election during the MA OEP.

Who can use the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

1. Individuals enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans as of January 1.

2. New Medicare beneficiaries who are enrolled in an Medicare Advantage plan during their Initial enrollment into Medicare

      a. The month of entitlement to Part A and Part B up until the last day of the 3rd month...after the month of their entitlement to Part A and Part B.

Can Medicare Advantage beneficiaries add or drop their Part D coverage during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

Yes. Individuals who are already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan with Prescription Drug Coverage can switch to:

a. Another Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan

b. A Medicare Advantage Plan ONLY (with NO prescription drug coverage)

c. Go back to "Original Medicare" and add a stand-alone prescription drug plan or don't add one.

d. Go back to "Original Medicare" and add a Supplement to Original Medicare Plan. 


 How long is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

It runs from January 1st through March 31st each year.


How many times may a Medicare Beneficiary change Medicare Advantage Plans during the MA OEP?

A Medicare Beneficiary may make only ONE change during the MA OEP.


If you have ANY questions regarding the MA OEP....

and you would like me to answer it in ONE paragraph, send me an email to

I ALWAYS answer emails if I can answer them in ONE paragraph.

If I can not answer your question in one paragraph, you may hire me and I charge $150.00 hr.

I can answer ANY question about Medicare and I can solve ANY problem you have with Medicare.

Looking for more information on Medicare?

Go to  website.

Looking for a SPEAKER at your conference or event?

Just click on the "Contact" tab on the website.


Thank you so much for listening to Medicare Nation. I appreciate it very much!

If you feel I'm delivering important content, I would love it if you would leave a rating & review on the Apple Podcasts review page (formerly iTunes).

Until next time Nation.....I want each of you to have a Happy, Peaceful and Prosperous week!

Diane Daniels

Nov 16, 2018

Hey Medicare Nation!

You are getting ready for Thanksgiving and you haven't even looked at Prescription Drug Plans for 2019.

Don't panic! 

I have your back :)

There are Prescription Drug Plan changes for 2019. 

Listen to this episode to learn about the NEW changes and make a confident decision to enroll in the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan that fits your unique needs.

Here is the link to the website as an additional resoure:

Have a question about Prescription Drug Plans for 2019?

Ask me!

If I can answer your question in ONE PARAGRAPH, I will!

If I need to do "any" type of research or the answer to your question is longer than ONE paragraph, you may have to hire me as a consultant.

I answer ALL emails personally. I'm the expert and I make sure you receive my expertise in answering your questions.

Send your questions to -


I look forward to hearing from you!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Oct 13, 2018

Hey Medicare Nation!

It's October! Lots of changes going on in the Medicare landscape.

Social Security recently announced the 2019 COLA, and for those of you on Social Security and Social Security Disability, you will be receiving a 2.8% raise in your monthly check.

Social Security raise goes into effect January 1, 2019.

Social Securtiy Disbility goies into effect December 31, 2018.

Some more good news is.....the payroll taxes for Medicare & Social Security are staying the same in 2019. Yeah!!

The combined tax rate for Social Security & Medicare will remain at 7.65% in 2019 for employees.

The combined tax rate for Self Employed will also remain the same in 2019 at 15.30%

When Social Security authorizes a COLA raise, that is the signal that Medicare Part B Premiums may also rise.

For 2019, that's exactly what happened.

Let's take a look at the 2019 Medicare Premiums & Deductibles.

Medicare Part A

In 2019, the Medicare Part A Deductible for being an inpatient in the hospital is going up to $1,364.00 in 2019.

This means, you will have an out-of-pocket deductible when you are admitted to the hospital as an inpatient, whether you stay for one night or sixty consequative nights.

You will have to pay the $1,364.00 each time you are admitted to the hospital, unless you are readmitted to the hospital less than 60 days after you are discharged from the hospital and you are admitted for the exact same reason. 


A Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) has 24hr Medical care and specializes in rehabilliation.

A person who had a stroke may be transferred to a SNF, to rehab the loss of sensation in a limb or to improve speech.

A person who recently had hip replacement surgery may be transferred to a SNF to strengthen their leg(s) and learn to walk with a proper gait.

Under Medicare, the first twenty days in a SNF is a benefit with no co-pay. If a person is required to stay day 21 and up to 100 consequative days, the co-pay will be $170.50 per day in 2019, under Medicare Part A.

Medicare Part B

Every person, who is a member of Medicare Part B has a monthly premium.

For those with an income below the Federal threshold, the Medicare Part B Premium is paid by that individual's State Medicaid Program.

For individuals on Medicare Part B, whose annual adjusted gross income is $85,000.00 or less, filing as a single taxpayer, the 2019 Medicare Part B monthly premium will be $135.50

Here is the chart for Medicare beneficiaries with a higher income, who will pay a higher Part B Premium Monthly.


Beneficiaries who file individual tax returns with income:
who make Less than or equal to $85,000             $135.50

Married, filing joint returns & make less than or equal to $170,000                                                          $135.50

Beneficiaries who file individual tax returns with income:
who make Greater than $85,000 and less than or equal to $107,000                                                          $189.60

Married, filing joint returns & make Greater than $170,000 and less than or equal to $214,000                     $189.60

Beneficiaries who file individual tax returns with income:
who make Greater than $107,000 and less than or equal to $133,500                                                         $270.90

Married, filing joint returns & make Greater than $214,000 and less than or equal to $267,000                    $270.90

Beneficiaries who file individual tax returns with income:
who make Greater than $133,500 and less than or equal to $160,000                                                         

Married, filing joint returns & make Greater than $267,000 and less than or equal to $320,000                    $352.20

Beneficiaries who file individual tax returns with income:
who make Greater than 
$160,000 and less than or equal to $500,000                                                         $433.40

Married, filing joint returns & make Greater than $320,000 and less than or equal to $750,000                     $433.40

Beneficiaries who file individual tax returns with income:
who make Greater than 
or equal to $500,000      $460.50

Married, filing joint returns & make Greater than $750,000


Medicare Part B Deductible

Medicare has an Annual Part B Deductible. 

In 2019, the Part B deductible is going up to $185.00.

After you pay your Part B deductible, you will then have to pay 20% of the Medicare Allowable for Part B services.

If you are on a Medicare Advantage Plan, you probably didn't even know you had a Part B Deductible. The majority of Medicare Advantage plans absorb the Part B Deductible into their plan. The Majority of Medicare beneficiaries on a Medicare Advantage Plan do not have a Medical deducatible on their plan. I always say......"You Pay as you go."

If you currently have a Medi-Gap Plan "F" or Plan "C", you also don't pay out of pocket for the Annual  Part B Deductible.

Things will change in 2020, for now.....everyone is good to go. 


The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is here!

If you have a question......Email it to me!

If I can answer it in one paragraph....I will!

If I have to do ANY kind of research, or my answer requires more than one paragraph....then you may need to hire me to consult with you.

I presently charge $150.00 an hour for consulting on Medicare issues and comparisons.

I can help you with just about anything to do with Medicare.

I have vast knowledge in Medicare and I am very fair. 

Need help with Medicare? I can help you.

Send me an email to


Things are getting busy with Medicare. 

More updates will be coming soon!

Until then.....I want each of you to have a Happy, peaceful and prosperous week!

Diane Daniels

Jun 22, 2018

Hey Medicare Nation!

Medicare Nation

The topic of Medical Marijuana is BOOMING!

I had to bring back Dr. Rachna Patel to update us on what's going on in the Medical Marijuana Community.

Currently, there are 9 States, plus the District of Columbia (DC), that have "Legalized" the "Recreational" use of Marijuana.

The 9 States are:

1. Alaska

2. California

3. Colorado

4. D.C.

5. Massachusetts

6. Nevada

7. Oregon

8. Vermont

9. Washington

Twenty-Nine (29) States, have Legalized Medical Marijuana usage.

The 29 States are:

1. Alaska

2. Arizona

3. Arkansas

4. California

5. Colorado

6. Connecticut

7. Delaware

8. Florida

9. Hawaii

10. Illinois

11. Maine

12. Maryland

13. Massachusetts

14. Michigan

15. Minnesota

16. Montana

17. Nevada

18. New Hampshire

19. New Jersey

20. New Mexico

21. New York

22. North Dakota

23. Ohio

24. Oregon

25. Pennsylvania

26. Rhode Island

27. Vermont

28. Washington

29. Washington D.C.

30. West Virginia


Dr. Patel commonly treats patient with the following conditions for Medical Marijuana:

1.  Chronic Pain - especially patients with Fibromyalgia, Arthrittis, Back Pain, Migraines, Neuropothy

2. Anxiety

3. Insomnia

Dr. Patel is consulting with patients across the U.S. to help guide patients step-by-step on the usage of Medical Marijuana.

You can reach Dr. Patel by going to her website,

You can also go to her Facebook page,

Here's her YouTube Channel with GREAT videos!

The Medical Marijuana Expert - Dr. Rachna Patel

Thanks for listening to Medicare Nation!

If you find my content interesting, please give us a Review on Apple Podcasts!


May 25, 2018

Hey Medicare Nation!

Millions of people are diagnosed with "Foot Drop."

Some people also call it......"Drop Foot."

Help A Child or Adult Walk Again!

Either way, Foot Drop is a serious matter!

Foot Drop is a weakness or paralysis of the muscles involved in lifting the front part of the foot, necessary for walking. Foot Drop causes a person to drag the foot and toes, or engage in a high-stepping walk called a steppage gait.

Foot Drop Increases the risk of falling.


Who Can Be Diagnosed With Foot Drop?

Men or Women, at any age.

What are some causes of Foot Drop?

Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Paulsy, Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injurey, Spinal Cord Injuries, and other injuries to the Peroneal Nerve in the leg. 

Viruses can cause Foot Drop as well as other infections.

Injuries to the leg and/or the lower back can also cause Foot Drop.

What is a WalkAide?

A WalkAide is a Functional Electrical Stimulation Device, when wore on the calf, sends electric impulses to the affected foot causing the foot and leg to lift. 

Where Can I get information on WalkAides?

Go to the Hanger Clinic website:

Are Other Types of FES Devices Available?

Yes. The Bioness L300 is also available. Go to the Bioness Website for more information.

Who are the Freedom to Walk Foundation?

The Freedom to Walk Foundation is a 5019c)3 non-profit, dedicated to assisting with funds for the purchases of WalkAides for children AND Adults diagnosed with Foot Drop due to:

* Multiple Sclerosis

*Cerebral Palsy

* Stroke

* Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury

* Traumatic Brain Injury

If you want more information about the Freedom to Walk Foundation, go to their website:

Go To 6th Annual Freedom to Walk Foundation GALA

6th Annual Gala Freedom To Walk Foundation

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!

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 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




Washington D.C.   AND…..

West Virginia

Want to know when YOUR card has been mailed?

Go to

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  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.


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…..



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.



Feb 2, 2018

Hey Medicare Nation!

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 will start seeing results for what you asked for.

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



Los Angeles






San Diego

Santa Barbara




and Yuba.

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

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

Send Diane an email to -

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

Send your request to

Have a Happy, Peaceful and Prosperous Week!


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 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 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 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, 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.


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

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

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!


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........


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'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 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
and send me your information and how I can assist you.
You can also go to the website - 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 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 -

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 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......  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'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


Married (living together)



2017 Total "Resource" Limit:

Single Person


Married (living together)


To apply for the Medicare Savings Program, go to the official Medicare website

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


Married (living together)



2017 Total "Resource" Limit:

Single Person


Married (living together)


To Apply for the Extra Help program, go to the official social security website -

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 -

That's it for today Nation!

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


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.......


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. 


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. 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 -

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.

That's it for this week's show!

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Go to this link and tell me what you think!


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:

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 or go to my website

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:

You can also visit my website for more information.


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!




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