A Medicare Minute – Original Medicare (Parts A and B)

A Medicare Minute – Original Medicare (Parts A and B)

Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C of Medicare) have grown substantially over the past decade. In 2018, 34% of Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. However, “Original Medicare” remains the choice of more than two thirds of all Medicare recipients.  In fact, Original Medicare is the default plan, if you don’t choose another option. There could be several reasons for the continued popularity of Original Medicare; many people just do not want to invest the time and effort needed to choose an Advantage Plan, while others do not wish to be locked into a network of providers as required by many of those plans.  Whatever the reason, it is likely that most of the seniors who read this article will be covered by Medicare Part A for hospitalization and Part B for outpatient services like doctors’ fees, lab costs, etc. If you are covered by Original Medicare, by default or intentional choice, there are several important points that you should keep...
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A Medicare Minute, “The Parts of Medicare”

A Medicare Minute, “The Parts of Medicare”

Sometimes it pays to review basic information. This is certainly true when it comes to Medicare; a survey conducted by the Medicare administration revealed that a majority of seniors could not name or describe the four parts of the Medicare system. This is information that every senior should have at hand, especially when signing up as a new Medicare beneficiary or during the annual open enrollment period. You must understand your Medicare choices and pick your coverage carefully; how you do so will determine your benefits, who you get them from, and it can affect your out-of-pocket costs. Medicare has four major elements, Parts A, B, C and D. The first two (A and B) are often called “Original Medicare.” This is the most basic coverage you can obtain. Part C and Part D are available through private health insurance plans. They enhance your coverage if you want more than Original Medicare offers. This situation is sometimes confusing because Part C...
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A Medicare Minute – “Five-Star” Medicare Plans

A Medicare Minute – “Five-Star” Medicare Plans

Did you know that Medicare gives ratings to some of its plans? This is not true of all Medicare Parts; only Part C, Medicare Advantage Plans, are rated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The CMS compiles the data and sets the standards for the rating system. Some of the rating factors include: Overall quality of care for the customers. Members’ experience with the plan. How many people have left the plan over the previous year. How often members had issues with the plan. How accurate the pricing has been. The CMS uses a star rating system to rank Advantage Plans. A plan may rank from one star (the lowest) to five stars, the best ranking available as judged by the CMS criteria. There are two time periods in which you can enroll in a five-star plan: the Annual Election Period and the five-star Special Election Period. The Annual Election Period is the one with which most people are familiar....
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A Medicare Minute from OurSeniors.net

A Medicare Minute from OurSeniors.net

Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) vs. Medicare Plan C (a Medigap Option) The Medicare terms “Part C” and “Plan C” sound enough alike to be the source of misunderstanding. If you are uncertain about the meanings of “Part C” and “Plan C,” here is a quick reference: Part C is a Medicare Advantage Plan (MA). Medicare Advantage plans are comprehensive plans that provide all your Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance) coverage. Medicare Advantage Plans may offer extra coverage, such as vision, hearing, dental, and/or health and wellness programs. Most include Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D). Plan C is one of the ten standardized Medigap plans offered in most states. These plans are designed to fill in the gaps between approved Medicare costs and the 80% of those costs that Medicare Part B pays. Medigap insurance Plan C is one of the most comprehensive of the 10 standardized Medigap insurance plans available. Only Medigap Plan F offers...
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Another Medicare Moment

Another Medicare Moment

Are you planning to travel outside the U.S. this summer? Remember that, except in rare cases, Medicare does not cover health care services outside the United States. There are several ways you can get health coverage outside the U.S. If you have a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy or a Medicare Advantage or another Medicare health plan, check with your plan to see if they offer coverage outside the U.S. Consider buying a travel insurance policy that includes health coverage. For more information, see the Insurance Section of the OurSeniors.net Directory. Just click Health Insurance. For information about any senior-related need, you may contact an OurSeniors.net Advisor by phone at 866-333-2657 (se habla Español), or Contact Us....
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A Medicare Minute

A Medicare Minute

The core purpose of the entire OurSeniors.net Family is to serve the needs of seniors in every way we can. We do this in person at our Brunch and Learn Events and sometimes through our professional office staff. We also devote a great effort to our printed magazine, the OurSeniors.net Magazine. We understand the preference many seniors continue to have for in-hand, printed material. We also understand that seniors are far more tech-savvy than many younger people think. After all, this is the internet isn’t it? Here are two quick Medicare-on-the-web tips that can save you time and future problems: About Your Personal Medicare Information If you have not already done so, make sure Medicare can give your personal health information to someone other than yourself. The unexpected can always occur, and seniors should be especially prepared to deal with it. What would happen if you or a loved one were to be suddenly incapacitated and unable to act on your own behalf....
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An OurSeniors.net “Medicare Moment”

An OurSeniors.net “Medicare Moment”

OurSeniors.net has a core mission: we try to serve the needs of seniors in any way we can.  We know that one of the most common concerns for our seniors is healthcare and, especially, the Medicare system. With this in mind, we try to touch on this topic from time to time. Here are some OurSeniors.net ‘Medicare Moments’ for today. First, we know that many seniors are far more adept at using the internet than many people believe. If you have not already done so, you can (and should) set up an online “MyMedicare” account that will make it faster and easier to get personal Medicare information. Registering at www.mymedicare.gov allows you to: Check on Medicare information like claims as soon as they are processed. It is much faster than depending on regular mail forms. View Part B deductible information. Have you paid your yearly deductible for 2019 yet? Check your health and prescription drug enrollment information. Find preventive service information. ...
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Social Security and Medicare

Social Security and Medicare

No subjects interest seniors more than the twin topics of Social Security and Medicare. Because those matters are so important to our seniors, we like to keep up with them from time to time. In 2019, there are some changes to the Medicare program that may affect you. Here are a few: Medicare premiums and deductibles for Parts A and B have increased slightly in 2019. Most seniors pay nothing for Part A (hospital expenses) coverage but the deductible has risen to $1364 in 2019.  The Medicare Part B standard monthly premiums cost rose $1.50 to $135.50. Medicare beneficiaries with annual incomes greater than $85,000 will pay more.  Annual deductibles have risen by $2 to $185 during 2019. Medicare Prescription Drug Costs (Part D). In 2019 the national average for Part D premiums is $33.19 per month, but the amount you pay for your prescription drugs on Medicare depends on which Part D prescription drug plan you have. Part D...
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Let’s Look Ahead

Let’s Look Ahead

Nothing is more important to seniors than Social Security and Medicare, the two most popular programs run by our government. With that in mind, let’s look ahead to some changes coming to those programs in 2019. For Social Security Benefits, there will be an increase of 2.8% in 2019.  This is the most significant cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in several years. According to the AARP, the average single Social Security recipient will receive a benefit of $1,461 per month in 2019.  This affects household income for about one in five Americans, including Social Security beneficiaries, disabled veterans and federal retirees. For Medicare Part A (in hospital expenses), here are the changes: About 99 % of Medicare beneficiaries pay no Part A premium at all, since they have at least 40 quarters of Medicare-covered employment. The Part A inpatient hospital deductible will be $1,364 in 2019, an increase of $24 from 2018.  Additional costs are incurred after 60 hospital days. For Medicare Part B (doctor...
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Here is a bit of Good News for Seniors

Here is a bit of Good News for Seniors

The last few days have brought some relatively good news for seniors from the two most important government agencies in their lives. The Social Security Administration announced that 2019 will bring the biggest cost-of-living adjustment to Social Security recipients in years. That COLA will be 2.8%, not a fortune by any means, but better than recent years. According to Yahoo Finance, the average retiree gets $1,422 a month in Social Security benefits. The 2.8% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2019 will increase that figure to $1,461 a month. This will hardly make a senior into a millionaire, but it is the best COLA since 2012. Meanwhile, the CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) announced relatively small changes in Medicare premiums and deductibles for 2019. The tables below apply to the vast majority of seniors covered by Medicare. For them, the monthly Part B premium will increase by only $1.50 and the Part B annual deductible will increase by only $2.00. Seniors who...
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