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Telisa has been a member since April 3rd 2012, and has created 24 posts from scratch.

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What About Your Medicare Plan?

Do you know someone who has not addressed their Medicare choices for 2014? Unless you are entitled to a Special Enrollment Period, your last opportunity to drop, switch or enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan is Saturday December 7th.

Even if you have been happy with your plan for 2013, you should take a look at your options for 2014. Plans can and do change each year. Just ask the tens of thousands of United Healthcare members  whose providers will not be in-network for 2014.

You may be hard pressed to get in front of an agent this late in the game, but you have another option. PlanPrescriber by ehealth offers Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D and Medicare Supplements in all 50 States.

You can compare and enroll online or speak with a licensed agent who represents dozens of companies in your area. Call Medicare.gov to find someonemto get personalized assistance or click the link below to compare plans online.

I have had a two year relationship with PlanPrescriber and have received nothing but positive feedback from my readers and subscribers related to their experience. If you haven’t chosen a plan or need to compare plans, check them out.

Switching Part D Plans for 2014

Enrolling with a specific Part D drug plan does not limit you from switching to another plan, or with a completely different insurer for that matter. There are plenty of valid reasons for wanting to switch to a different plan. You may be interested with enrolling into a different plan because:

  • your old plan doesn’t cover the new medication that you are going to begin taking, or requires you to pay a higher co-pay for that particular drug
  • one of your current medications gets the boot from your current plan
  • the terms of coverage are changed, or its premium is raised making another plan more suitable
  • you learn about a completely different plan that is available in your area or a new one comes onto the market

It makes no difference as to what your reason is. You can switch as often a you’d like, it may annually or very few months (as long you fit within certain categories).

When You May Switch Plans

Switching monthly. Certain recipients are able to switch on a monthly basis with coverage beginning on the 1st of the month that follows enrollment. Dual eligible – these are people that are enrolled in Medicaid as well as Medicare. Medicare recipients that live in a long-term care nursing facility may enroll with another plan as they please as long the facility is certified with Medicare.

Switching annually. Everyone else can switch on an annual basis but it has to be during the open enrollment period which begins on October 25 and runs through December 7 every year (if the dates change there will be advance notice).

Plans that you May Switch to

As long as the plan is approved by Medicare then you can switch to it. If the switch will be happening during the enrollment period then you may enroll with a plan that is supposed to become available the following year which is currently 2013.

Those that are dual-eligible (they’re enrolled with Medicare and Medicaid), there full premium will only be covered by Medicare/Medicaid if the cost is below the state average for every Part D or Advantage plan with prescription coverage that is within the state. If your rate is higher then the average, you will be forced to swallow the difference in cost.

How to Switch

There are several steps that have to be taken in order to switch (they are not difficult).

1. Select the plan that seems like it is right for you
2. Contact the insurer and find out if you’re eligible for it. The company will give you direction that have to be followed if you’re eligible
3. As soon as the new insurer sends over paper confirmation that you’ve been approved, cancel your old policy. Even if the new insurer says they’ll handle the cancellation, get involved and make sure it happens.

It’s important not cancel your old plan too early and also too not double-pay, you’ve got to time it perfectly. Make sure your old plan is cancelled by the time your new coverage takes effect.

Let your pharmacist know what’s going on. Once you receive written confirmation, send over all your new billing information to the pharmacy that you frequently use.

Don’t forget about your states Assistance Programs which happens to be called SHIPs. See https://shipnpr.shiptalk.org for information on your states program.

This Is Not A Political Message!

If you’re like me, you are probably tired of hearing about the government shutdown. But we have to recognize that there may be practical implications of the continued stalemate.

Today’s the first day of the Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D Plans. Millions of Medicare beneficiaries will have the opportunity to visit Medicare’s official website at medicare.gov.

Unfortunately, when you visit medicare.gov, you will be greeted with a message informing you that because of the government shutdown, the information on the website may not be up to date. Ouch!

What should you do? You can take your chances that any out-dated information will not affect you or you can compare plans by visiting all the websites of plans that you are interested in.

Another option is to take advantage of the service offered by PlanPrescriber. You can shop for and enroll in a plan online or call toll-free to speak with one of their licensed agents.

Click the link below to get started with PlanPrescriber at http://www.planprescriber.com/.

If you would like to compare plans online, just enter your zip code to get started. PlanPrescriber has access to hundreds of Medicare plans nationwide. Many plans accept online enrollment. For those plans that don’t utilize online enrollment, enrollment via telephone is available. Agents are standing by. Call  888-323-1149 toll-free to speak with an agent licensed in your State.

Plan information comes directly from the insurance companies offering the plans. Information is accurate, the agents are professional, knowledgeable and can help guide you to a suitable plan. Choose from Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement or Part D Plans.

Many of my readers and subscribers have used the PlanPrescriber service and feedback has been  overwhelmingly positive. Please give them a try.

Medicare Advantage 2014: Part C for Contemporary

Medicare Part C provides a contemporary way for one to boost health results without shortening the financial solvency of the program before 2014.

Medicine's high costs. (Photo: Julia Cheng for USA TODAY)

Medicine’s high costs.
(Photo: Julia Cheng for USA TODAY)

 

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

Like any piece of news, there is both good and bad when it comes to the latest Medicare Trustees report.

To start things off on a positive note, the good news is very uplifting and is sure to bring a smile while you sip at your morning coffee. The hospital insurance trust fund has been calculated to run out as of 2024 just last year. This year, however, we’ve been informed that it won’t run out until 2026. This adds an extra three years of funds, which all add up to a multimillion dollar difference. The entire program has been going downhill since 08’, so this life expectancy update brings as much joy as a maternal mother jumping excitedly because she’s been told her baby will live a few extra years.

Now it is time to unleash the bear of bad news. Although the information stated above is positive, the bigger picture is very much pixilated. The financial crisis is still as hot as a toaster oven left on overnight.

The nation as a whole has logical reasoning behind their concerns for the growth and expenses of Medicare. Ten thousand baby boomers are going to turn 65 years old every single day. This calculation is expected to remain steady for eighteen consecutive years. The financial volcano has finally erupted, burning the chances of a better future for Medicare Advantage Plans. 2014 is right around the corner, and the odds of tipping the scale in the nations favor is as bleak as a vulture learning to fly moments after hatching. In ten years from the year 2014, the vulture population will probably decrease as the baby boomers are projected reach a populous of 66 million, a profound increase from the previous 50.3 million.

The Medicare Advantage Plan has what it takes to supply high quality health coverage to these baby boomers at decent cost. The saddest part of all is the fact that many of the full benefits that come along with the Advantage Plan. The hopes are that people will finally shed light on the shadows of doubt circling around the inevitable. Saving lives, controlling the budget and ultimately improving the system are all qualities that the Medicare Advantage Plan has potential to deliver.

Sources:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/07/02/health-advantages-of-medicare-advantage-column/2480001/

http://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/8323.pdf

Medicare Supports Nursing Home Neglect

In this nation, there are so many seniors reaching out to nursing homes that it’s become a multi-billion dollar industry. Due to the rapid number of nursing homes developing, the government decided to set regulations for all nursing homes to follow. These regulations ensure safety and quality care for nursing home residents and protect them from neglect with a set of basic requirements.

Recently released news shows that Medicare shelled out billions (all in taxpayer dollars) to fund nursing homes all over the country and it’s expected to be the same for 2014. The problem? Government investigators found that these recipient nursing home were not even meeting the basic requirements to look after the care of their residents.

The inspector general from the Department of Health and Human Services’ said this past Thursday that approximately $5.1 billion was distributed by Medicare for patients to stay in skilled nursing facilities that didn’t even meet federal quality of care rules in 2009. Some of these cases were even labeled as neglectful and with dangerous conditions.

Statistics show that out of every three patients who wound up in nursing homes that year, one of them landed in a facility which didn’t care to follow the federal agency’s basic care requirements which administer Medicare so it will be around in 2014 for seniors to use.

According to the letter of the law, nursing homes are obligated to write up care plans which are custom tailored to each resident to instruct the doctors, therapists and various caregivers on how to perform at their highest level to make sure that the physical, mental, and psychological well-being of every patient is met.

These residents here are typically suffering from neglect and absence of dire help they need to function, and the irony is that the government is supporting, through taxpayer money, facilities that endanger people’s health.

“These findings,” the report stated, “raise all concerns about what Medicare is truthfully paying for.” Investigators revealed that approximately 1/5 of patients’ health problems were overlooked in the care plans, giving them red X’s in the government’s books. Included in such neglected cases are those who received medications which can have serious side effects – and went on unmonitored. Residents were also getting unnecessary therapeutic treatment long after they recovered because the nursing home would actually make a profit through Medicare’s reimbursement.

This only comes to show that 2013 Medicare absolutely must start focusing on where our money is going to. Its cases like these, where multi-billion dollar scams are played against Medicare show the truth about the precision of dishonesty the industries have developed. Medicare has to be on the defense against the ruthlessness of the industry – not supporting thieves such as these nursing homes is a much more efficient way to cut expenses than any healthcare plan out there.

Source: http://www.cbsnews.com

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