6 Tips For Enrolling In Medicare

The annual Medicare Open Enrollment season opened Sunday, Oct. 15 and runs through Thursday, Dec. 7. Unfortunately, Medicare is a maze with more twists and turns than an Agatha Christie novel.

So what follows is below are my six tips for finding your way through it this year or in the future once you’re 65 or older. With a deliberate, careful approach, you can master the program’s terminology and the rules and get all the Medicare benefits to which you’re entitled.

Two essentials to know:

1. Everyone signs up for Medicare through the Social Security Administration, and that agency will be your contact point for questions as well as your actual registration.

2. If you are already receiving retirement benefits from Social Security before you turn 65, you won’t have to do anything — you’ll be automatically registered for Medicare Part A (covering clinics, hospitals and other medical facilities) and Part B (covering physicians and other service providers) starting on the first day of the month of your 65th birthday. But if you aren’t getting Social Security benefits yet and are 65 or older, you’ll have to take the initiative yourself and sign up on your own.

Now, my six tips:

1. Start early and don’t procrastinate. You can begin the process of applying for Medicare up to three months before you turn 65. At that point, you can contact Social Security by phone, visit your local Social Security office or sign up for benefits online, depending on your preference.

But it’s a good idea to begin educating yourself about Medicare at least three or four months before you apply. That way, when the time comes, there will be no confusion and you’ll be ready to select the Medicare plan or set of plans you really want.

2. Study each type of Medicare plan and try to gain a clear understanding of all of them. The plans you’ll need to research include:

  • Plan A (covering medical facilities)
  • Plan B (covering medical providers)
  • Plan C (Medicare Advantage plans, which mimic private insurance plans and function as an alternative to a Plan A/Plan B package)
  • Plan D (prescription drug plans, used to supplement coverage gaps)

Familiarize yourself with the terminology they use, so you’ll have clear ideas about what you’re signing up for and why some choices are better than others.

The government’s Medicare site is a good place to start looking for information, but don’t limit yourself to just once source. Seek out a user-friendly site that takes an “everything you’ve always wanted to know about Medicare” approach to the subject. (Personal plug: My company’s site, Medicare on Video, is one.)

3. Find someone to assist you with your research (if you think that would help). A trusted family member or friend might be a valuable aide, especially if he or she is someone who’s already had dealings with Medicare and health insurance issues. A person like this could be a good resource if you feel confused or intimidated by Medicare’s labyrinth of coded lingo and convoluted regulations.

4. Call Social Security with any specific Medicare questions before you sign up for Medicare. If there is something you don’t understand or you are unsure how the rules would affect you, phone Social Security and ask. Stay on the line until all your questions have been answered and all your doubts erased. The phone number is 800-772-1213.

5. Pick the right time to call so you can avoid long delays. The busiest times for Social Security (and the hardest times to get through) are on Mondays, Fridays, early in the morning and on, or near, the first of the month.

The best time to call for information or to let Social Security know about your Medicare plans is from Tuesday through Thursday, preferably between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. ET. If you do get put on hold during those times, it shouldn’t be for long.

6. Above all, don’t get stressed. Applying for Medicare coverage and benefits is not as scary or difficult as you think. Beneath all the bureaucracy and confusing terminology there is a logical, rational system that can be understood once you break through the initial walls of obfuscation.

Original Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2017/10/16/6-tips-for-enrolling-in-medicare/#6037aef3a777

Original Author: Keith Armbrecht

Original Date: Oct 16 2017

How And Why Medicare Supplemental Insurance in Texas Is For You

People who have sought Medicare for their family would be aware of its potential prospects and its benefits. They would be taking adequate steps in making sure that they go for Medicare as soon as possible in their lives. Since this is one effective way to save money on healthcare expenses. There are two Plans of Medicare- Plan A and Plan B and both have undeniably important roles to play.

Still, there may be clauses that Medicare might not be covered in these two plans, and this is why today there is a plethora of Medicare supplemental insurance in Texas. These policies are available locally in each state, and their clauses and premiums would vary too. Yet, these supplemental insurance policies are in great demand by those who are nearing sixties or in their mid-sixties. We shall now check on the areas that Medicare cover and the ones that require Medicare supplemental insurance.

What are the areas that Medicare plans usually cover?

Medicare Part A would cover hospitalization, nursing and even home health care services cost. This you would get automatically if you have Medicare Part A. Medicare Part B is for covering doctor bills, and for purchasing regular medical supplies. Part A would work without your monthly premium while Part B would require you to pay the monthly premium. There is no necessity for you to select both the plans compulsorily at all. Many organizations, public and private encourage their staff to go for these but there are certain areas, which do not cover under these two plans. That is why today Medicare supplemental insurance in Texas come up to fill in the void.

What are the areas that Medicare plans do not cover?

From custodial long-term care to eye related and dental related examinations and cosmetic surgeries, acupuncture, hearing aids and even foot related ailments do not fall under any of the two plans. Medigap or Medicare Supplemental plans come in here offering 10 standardized plans. These plans are numbered as A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N. People, who have crossed the age of 65, and eligible for Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, are also qualified for these Medigap plans.

Further, those who are at the end stage of the renal disease also are eligible to get the Medigap plans. However, from Medicare itself, you would be able to get an information booklet where all the details and further FAQ’s would be there to answer even other queries.

How to Select the right Medicare Supplement Plan

From the Medicare’s official website itself, one can get the names of the popular Medicare supplemental insurance in Texas and they can pick the right one from here. While a few people might take time and read through individually all the policies, many others might simply prefer to compare the plans and then opt. Yes, right under the heading of “Supplements and Other Insurance” one would be capable to get “How to Compare Medigap Policies”. This would be able to offer detailed comparisons between all the policies in your state.

We can also help in comparing Medicare Supplemental Plans with some basic information about you. Call us today at 877-202-9248 for free supplemental Medicare plan recommendations. You can also visit our website for more information at www.emedicare-supplemental-insurance.com.

How Michigan Medicare Supplemental Plans affect me?

Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans in Michigan are utilized to support health care cost which are not covered by the original Medicare plan. Michigan coverage costs can vary a bit from company to company and with different plans since different organizations charge different premiums. Michigan supplemental insurance also helps with co-payments and deductibles. Seniors who are enrolled in a Medicare advantage plan do not qualify for a Medicare Supplemental Plan. All supplemental policies should be clearly identified as such and labeled with letters. These policies are required to have comparable if not identical benefits. Over on our Michigan Medicare supplemental insurance plans page we have a chart that lists the benefits of each plan.

What About what Medicare Doesn’t Cover?

Long-term c

Medicare For All The time has come

When Medicare passed Congress in 1965, its authors thought it would be the first step toward universal national health insurance. Medicare is the public health insurance program that covers Americans 65 and older. It’s sponsored by the federal government and paid for with payroll taxes, general revenues, and participant premiums — currently $134 a month for most enrollees. Medicare negotiates with health care providers over prices, to limit costs.

Amy Chesbrough is a registered nurse at the Portland VA Medical Center, a member of American Federation of Government Employees, and a believer in universal health care. On Aug. 23, she and 100 others protested Oregon Congressman Greg Walden for his support of a bill that would have left 22 million more Americans uninsured. But that’s in addition to the 28 million who are still uninsured even under the Affordable Care Act. As the AFL-CIO said in a July 26 statement, “although the ACA has made it possible for many more people to buy comprehensive health plans from insurance companies, it has not guaranteed everyone could afford the health care they need. Instead, many people face steep deductibles, copayments and coinsurance that create overwhelming barriers to care.”

But proposals to expand it to all Americans have fared poorly in Congress. Democratic Congressman John Conyers of Michigan has introduced a “Medicare for All” bill in every session of Congress since 2003, but it has never made it out of committee. When then-Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) held a 2009 hearing on the bill that later became the Affordable Care Act (ACA), he barred any discussion of a universal program.

ACA greatly expanded Medicaid (the state-administered federal health insurance program for the poor), and it created state-level exchanges for otherwise uninsured individuals to purchase coverage with the help of income-dependent subsidies and tax credits. But four years after the exchanges opened for business, 28 million Americans are still without health insurance, and premiums continue to rise. In 2017, premiums reached an average of $1,564 a month for employer-sponsored health insurance that covers an employee and family, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Enter Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who called for extending Medicare to all Americans during his 2016 campaign for president. Sanders lost the Democratic primary, but today polls say he’s the most popular politician in America, and his Medicare for All bill has more co-sponsors than ever. When Sanders introduced his Medicare for All bill in 2013, not a single U.S. senator co-sponsored it. Introduced again Sept. 13, his bill had 16 cosponsors. Meanwhile, the House version, introduced once again this year by Conyers, has 120 Congressional cosponsors, up from 62 in 2015.

Polls show 53 to 60 percent of Americans are now in favor of Medicare for All, compared to 23 percent who oppose the idea. The percentage in favor has been steadily increasing for the last 20 years.

Medicare for All is not expected to pass while Republicans control the House and Senate, but it could if Democrats win back Congressional majorities and the White House.

Organized labor, which was instrumental in passing Medicare in the first place, has long supported its expansion into a universal program. More than a dozen international unions and hundreds of local unions and central labor councils have endorsed the concept of Medicare for All. And the national AFL-CIO Executive Council reiterated the labor federation’s support for it in a July 26, 2017, statement: “Our core goal … is to move expeditiously toward a single-payer system, like Medicare for All, that retains a role for workers’ health plans and in which access to quality, affordable health care is indeed a right for everyone in this country.”

The Sanders and Conyers bills don’t say what would happen to union-sponsored multiemployer health trusts that cover more than 10 million union members and their dependents. In Canada, where everyone is covered by public health insurance programs administered at the provincial level, unions negotiate with employers to provide supplemental health benefits.

Unions have fought hard to secure health insurance benefits for members, but the ever-increasing burden of paying for them has become the number one source of conflict with employers. Health insurance also eats up employer resources that could otherwise go to raises or other benefits. Taking health care off the bargaining table could relieve employers of a burden that their foreign competitors don’t have.


  • U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley
  • U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer
  • U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici
  • U.S. Rep. Peter Defazio

How the Sanders bill would work

  • Lower the Medicare eligibility age, in phases: Year 1 to age 45; Year 2 to 55; Year 3 to 35; Year 4 to everyone
  • Expand Medicare coverage to include dental and vision care
  • End the prohibition on the government using its bargaining power to get better drug prices from pharmaceutical companies

Original Source: https://nwlaborpress.org/2017/10/medicare-for-all-the-time-has-come/

Author: Don McIntosh

October 17, 2017


Medicare supplemental insurance is also known as Medigap insurance since it is intended to fill gaps in an individual’s primary coverage through Medicare. Qualification for a Medigap policy usually required that the applicant has Medicare before Parts A and B. It is a type of insurance for folks around the age of 65. To some, this plan is lucrative, since it is used to cover the gaps that Medicare doesn’t cover entirely.

Before engaging in this plan, it is important for you to note these 5 facts.

  1. 10 Standard Options

There are 10 standard options for Medicare Supplement Insurance which are standard throughout the United States. Each plan has different benefits so it is only wise for you can choose the plan that suits your current needs. These plans are A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N with plan A offering the shortest list of benefits and plan F offers the most expensive.

The intriguing thing about the Medigap Supplement Insurance market is that the availability of brokers who would help you decides what plan best suits your needs. Irrespective of your previous coverage, you can still apply for a Medicare Supplement with a new brokerage of a new insurance.

NOTE: do proper research before committing to any plan. This is because only a few companies carry all 10 plans. So, be careful not to fall into this trap.

  1. Enrollment Windows

There are a few states (including Missouri and California) that offer enrollment windows to Medigap beneficiaries every year. However, most other states have different rules. Generally you can apply for a supplemental policy when you are right about to turn 65. You can look over our Medicare Supplemental Insurance Open Enrollment page.

  1. Your Need

Your first guide is to figure out that you need this coverage. Once you verify that your Medigap insurance doesn’t address all your medical bills, you will easily discover the things you need regardless of which private insurance company you work with. Basically, the main qualification will be the service that they render and the premium that you will be charged for. Look over our Medigap guide page for more information.

  1. Medicare Policy

Always remember that your Medicare policy does not cover your life partner/spouse. You two will have to buy two separate policies if you both need coverage. This is quite confusing because traditional insurance does cover spouses.

  1. Premiums

Insurance companies use three different techniques to calculate and set the premiums. The lowest premiums are for those who use attained age as a basis. This is especially valid for the individuals who have just attained 65. Premiums normally increase every 3 – 5 years, in addition to the inflation rates.

More so, issue age premiums depend on your age at the time of the purchase. The major increase for this type of plan is as a result of the Medicare’s inflation adjustments. And of course, Medicare supplemental insurance rates that use the community-rated technique indicates that everyone in the same region will pay the same premium, paying no regard to age. Many states, however, make use of only one method, so it is helpful to research and find out how the insurance companies calculate their rates.

For a free Supplemental rate call us at 877-202-9248 or feel free to browse our website at www.eMedicare-Supplemental-Insurance.com

Is Arizona Medicare Supplemental Insurance Necessary?

If you read our previous article on Medicare supplemental insurance in Michigan, we stated that how you are being affected by the Medigap Plan among other things is factored according to one’s location. Beneficiaries who wish to add coverage to their Part A and Part B plans would want to choose to do a Medicare Supplement Plan in Arizona.

Medicare supplemental insurance coverage in Arizona would be similar to what we saw in Michigan such as it would include deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. Other hospital coverage may as well be added, like hospice care.

Medicare vs Medicare Advantage Program

A Medicare supplement health plan in Arizona differs when compared to that of the Medicare Advantage program. First, It is seen in how it is purchased. Unlike that of the Advantage program, the Medicare supplemental insurance plan in Arizona is designed to be purchased as a standalone, however, can be purchased in combination with original Medicare.

For beneficiaries in Arizona who would want to get the independent purchasing coverage, might need to consider changing from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan.

Medicare United Through The States

A medical supplemental insurance plan in Arizona is the same when compared to that of Michigan. Here, the insurance plan is lettered up to the tone of 10 standardized letters. These ten standardized letters are available across the country, and each letter offers the same benefit with little regard to the insurance company providing it. Among other letters, the most common letter that is available nationwide is Medigap Plan F. This is the most common available medical insurance plan in Arizona.

However the fact that each of these ten letters offers benefits that make each beneficiary indifferent, the cost may vary depending on the particular company providing each of these benefits. While coverage may not include additional care such as prescription, hearing, vision, and or dental care, it, however, covers insurance while on a trip abroad.

Also similar to what is tenable in Michigan, Medicare supplemental insurance beneficiaries have the choice to enroll in Medicare supplement plan in Arizona during their six-month Medical supplemental insurance open enrollment period, which often begins on the first day of the month that one clocks their 65th year birthday.

During the Medigap enrollment period in Arizona, companies are prohibited from denying beneficiaries the coverage that is due to them, neither are they allowed to charge outrageous premiums to beneficiaries through their pre-existing medical conditions. And after the six-month enrollment period, beneficiaries would have to enroll in a Medigap Plan. However, coverage for pre-existing medical conditions would cease to be a working condition.

How to Choose Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan in Arizona

Just as fore stated, Arizona Medigap plan coverage may be similar to the different lettered plans in Michigan, the cost of the program can vary depending on the insurance company that is involved. However, beneficiaries should select a plan that meets their needs regarding of coverage options. After that, beneficiaries can shop for different plans that are still within their single plan type, all based on the cost of the program.

eMedicare Supplemental Insurance is based in United States and has many knowledgeable, licensed agents ready to help you choose a supplemental health plan. We can also help you with any questions you have regarding Medicare and supplemental health care. Feel free to call us at 1-877-202-9248 or visit our website at www.emedicare-supplemental-insurance.com

12 Frequently Asked Medicare Questions

Medicare provides health coverage for millions of older Americans, but many future and current beneficiaries don’t understand many of the program’s basic features. With that in mind, here are 12 frequently asked Medicare questions and what you need to know about each one.

1. Am I eligible for Medicare?

The majority of Americans become eligible for Medicare benefits at age 65. To qualify, you or your spouse will need to have earned enough Social Security “credits.”

A senior man being examined by a physician with a stethoscope.

Image source: Getty Images.

2. What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

Medicare is federal health insurance, primarily designed for elderly Americans. Medicaid is a state-run health insurance program that is primarily designed for low-income residents.

3. What are the “parts” of Medicare?

Medicare Part A is known as Hospital Insurance, or HI, and covers things like hospital and skilled nursing stays. Medicare Part B is Medical Insurance, and covers things like doctors’ appointments and outpatient procedures. Collectively, Medicare Parts A and B are known as Original Medicare.

Medicare Part C is Medicare Advantage, which are plans provided by third-party insurance companies and authorized by Medicare to provide benefits. Finally, Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage, which is optional for retirees.

4. Will I be automatically enrolled in Medicare at 65?

It depends. If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits when you turn 65, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B when you turn 65 and your Part B premiums will be taken out of your Social Security checks. On the other hand, if you aren’t already receiving Social Security retirement benefits, you’ll need to sign up.

5. How can I enroll in Medicare?

The process of enrolling in Medicare only is rather painless, and can be completed in 15 minutes or so at the Social Security Administration’s website.

When you first turn 65, your initial enrollment period runs for seven months beginning three months before the month of your 65th birthday. If you aren’t exempt from enrolling due to having group coverage through an employer (more on that shortly), your Part B premiums can be permanently increased for failing to enroll during your initial enrollment period. If you do have group coverage and choose not to enroll in Parts A and B during your initial enrollment period, you’ll get an eight-month special enrollment period after you (or your spouse) leave your employment.

6. Do I need Medicare if I have other health insurance?

As I’ll discuss in a minute, most Americans should enroll in Medicare Part A at age 65 whether they need it or not.

If your health insurance is through your or your spouse’s employer, and the employer has more than 20 employees, you aren’t required to enroll in Medicare Part B at 65. Once you leave employment, you’ll have a special eight-month enrollment period.

If your employer’s coverage doesn’t meet the 20-employee requirement, or if you have Marketplace coverage, COBRA, or TRICARE (nonactive duty), you’ll still need to sign up during your initial enrollment period.

7. Can I only enroll in Medicare Part A?

Yes. In fact, this is a common strategy for senior citizens who are 65 or older, but are still covered through an employer’s plan. As long as you’re eligible for Medicare benefits, Part A is free, while Part B comes with a monthly premium. Therefore, it can make sense to delay Part B enrollment if you don’t need it, but since it’s free, there’s no financial reason not to enroll in Part A as soon as you’re able to.

8. How much does Medicare cost?

For most seniors, Medicare Part A is free. You won’t have to pay a premium for your coverage (although there are deductible and coinsurance expenses when you use it). On the other hand, Medicare Part B has a monthly premium, which is $134 per month in 2017. Retirees who already paid their premiums through Social Security pay slightly less due to cost-of-living adjustment rules and higher-income retirees pay more — up to $428.60 per month — depending on their income.

Medicare Part C and D coverage costs vary significantly depending on where the beneficiary is located and how much is covered.

9. What if I don’t enroll in Medicare when I’m first eligible?

Unless you qualify for a special late enrollment period as I’ve discussed elsewhere in this article, you may have to pay a late-enrollment penalty if you don’t sign up for Medicare Part B during your initial enrollment period.

The penalty can be pretty severe. Your monthly Part B premiums can be permanently increased by 10% for every full 12-month period that you could have had Part B, but didn’t sign up.

10. What is Medigap?

Medigap is the common name for Medicare Supplemental Insurance, and is private insurance designed to cover certain expenses not covered by Original Medicare. There are 10 different Medigap plans and availability and cost depend on your location. Don’t confuse Medigap with Medicare Advantage, which is not supplementary coverage but rather is a different way to receive your Medicare.

11. What is covered by Original Medicare?

Medicare Part A, or Hospital Insurance, covers hospital services, skilled nursing facilities (for a limited time), nursing home care if medically necessary, hospice care, and certain home health services. Medicare Part B, Medical Insurance, covers outpatient surgeries, medical supplies, and preventative services like lab tests.

12. What is not covered by Original Medicare?

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care, dental or vision care, acupuncture, or hearing aids.

It’s also important to mention that you will have certain out-of-pocket expenses for covered services as well. Medicare Part A has a $1,316 deductible per benefit period and coinsurance requirement for longer hospital or skilled nursing stays. Part B has a $183 annual deductible as of 2017, but you’re generally responsible for paying 20% of covered services.

The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be

Medicare is an important part of retired life for virtually all Americans, so it pays to learn some of the basic principles of the program. The more you understand about Medicare, the better equipped you’ll be to choose healthcare services, know what costs you can expect, and make other healthcare decisions, such as whether you need additional health insurance in retirement or not.

Original Source: https://www.fool.com/retirement/2017/10/09/12-frequently-asked-medicare-questions.aspx

Original Author: Mathew Frankel

Original Date: Oct 9 2017


How to navigate through complexities of Medicare

The day you turn 65 is one of the most important milestones in terms of your health. Sure, it’s not as exciting as the day you became eligible for a driver’s license, but 65 does mean a new kind of eligibility – Medicare.

Baby boomers are reaching this milestone at a rate of more than 10,000 per day. And just like studying for your road test, preparing for Medicare eligibility means doing your homework and understanding what’s coming around the bend.

First and foremost, you’ll want to determine your eligibility and calculate your premium at www.medicare.gov. Those who have a special condition, disability, or receive benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board may qualify prior to turning 65. Everyone else should apply at a Social Security office or online at www.ssa.gov/medicare/ starting three months before turning 65 and no later than three months after to avoid late penalties that can be permanent.

If you or your spouse are still working, and you’re covered by the employer’s plan, check with the benefits administrator to see if they require you to sign up for Medicare. If not, you can sign up later during a special enrollment period without a penalty. Also, be sure any prescription drug coverage you receive through an employer after turning 65 is “creditable” – considered by Medicare to be at least as good as its drug coverage – or you’ll be liable for more late penalties.

Once you’ve determined your eligibility, it’s important to understand the fundamental parts of Medicare. Medicare Part A offers hospital insurance for inpatient stays, skilled nursing facilities, and hospice care, while Medicare Part B provides medical insurance for doctor services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive care. Excluded from Parts A and B (original Medicare) are a number of value-added benefits and services like routine vision and dental visits, health management programs, and more.

These costs would be out-of-pocket. Prescription drugs also are not covered by original Medicare and require a separate Medicare prescription drug plan (Medicare Part D). If you’ve worked and paid taxes for 10 years or more, you wouldn’t have a premium for Part A, but there are separate premiums for Parts B and D.

Alternatively, Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) are offered by health plans – like CDPHP – to replace Medicare Parts A and B while providing additional coverage. Medicare Advantage plans include everything covered by Parts A and B as well as important services such as dental, hearing, vision, annual physicals, case management, medication reviews, nutrition and wellness classes, and even no-cost gym memberships. Many Medicare Advantage plans also provide prescription drug coverage (Part D) and the convenience of having one plan administer all of your Medicare benefits.

It’s important to note that there is an open enrollment period, called AEP or annual election period, for making changes to your Medicare plan that spans from October 15 to December 7. While you can sign up for original Medicare up to three months before turning 65, and have the coverage begin on the first day of your birthday month, changes to your plan can only be made between those dates. You must be enrolled in original Medicare Parts A and B to join a Medicare Advantage plan, so get that squared away first even if you know you’ll be replacing it.

If you’re about to overheat, take a minute to cool down. Medicare can be overwhelming because it requires learning a new system with its own timelines, rules, and terminology. That’s why I suggest starting the process early, asking questions, and reading the information you receive in the mail.

Educating yourself now will allow you to make the right choices for yourself and your health, so you can cruise into this important stage of life without so much as a glimpse in the rearview.

Original Source: https://www.bizjournals.com/albany/news/2017/09/27/how-to-navigate-through-complexities-of-medicare.html

Original Date: Sept 27 2017

Original Author: John D. Bennett

Money-saving offer for Medicare’s late enrollees is expiring. Can they buy time?

Many older Americans who have Affordable Care Act insurance policies are going to miss a Sept. 30 deadline to enroll in Medicare, and they need more time to make the change, advocates say.

A lifetime of late enrollment penalties typically await people who don’t sign up for Medicare Part B — which covers doctor visits and other outpatient services — when they first become eligible. That includes people who mistakenly thought that because they had insurance through the ACA marketplaces, they didn’t need to enroll in Medicare.

Medicare officials are offering to waive those penalties under a temporary rule change that began earlier this year, but the deal ends Sept. 30.

On Wednesday, more than 40 groups, including consumer health advocacy organizations and insurers, asked Medicare chief Seema Verma to extend the waiver deadline through at least Dec. 31, because they are worried that many people who could be helped still don’t know about it.

They also say more time is needed because of application delays at some Social Security Administration (SSA) local offices, where beneficiaries request the waiver.

“We know there are people who can still benefit from it,” said Stacy Sanders, the federal policy director at the Medicare Rights Center, a Washington-based advocacy group that coordinated the request to Medicare. “We know there have been delays, and those are good reasons to extend it.”

Counselors at the Medicare Rights Center have helped seniors apply for the waiver in Arizona, California, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey and New York, she said.

Since the marketplaces opened in 2014, the focus has been on getting people enrolled, Ms. Sanders added. “There’s no reason to expect that people would understand how to move out of the marketplace into Medicare.”

The waiver offer applies not only to people over 65 who have kept their marketplace plans, but also to younger people who qualify for Medicare through a disability and chose to use marketplace plans.

The waiver also allows Medicare beneficiaries who earlier realized their mistake in keeping a marketplace plan and have switched to ask for a reduction or elimination of the penalty.

In all cases, people had to be eligible for Medicare after April 1, 2013.

Officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, which runs Medicare, would not provide details about the number of waivers granted or pending applications. Nor would they comment on the likelihood of an extension.

Barbara Davis said that when she initially applied, a Social Security representative didn’t know about the waiver. She eventually contacted the Medicare Rights Center, where a counselor interceded on her behalf in June. A day later, a Social Security representative told her she would not have a penalty.

“My advice would be, find out your rights before you apply,” said Ms. Davis, 68, who lives with her husband in rural western New York. “Because they don’t seem to want to give you information to help you, you have to know this on your own.”

A Social Security spokeswoman said the agency is processing waiver applications from “across the country” but does not keep track of the number. She declined to comment on whether SSA employees know about the waiver.

Ms. Sanders suggested that people applying for the waiver ask Social Security officials for it by using its official name: “time-limited equitable relief.”

Since Medicare’s Part A hospitalization benefit is usually free, some seniors who liked their marketplace coverage thought — incorrectly — that they had nothing to lose by signing up for Part A and keeping their marketplace plan.

Some people receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits opted to keep their marketplace plan and drop Part B after the Social Security Administration enrolled them automatically in Medicare when they became eligible.

If the temporary waiver expires, the only other way for beneficiaries to get an exemption is by proving they declined Part B because a government employee misinformed them.

The groups writing Verma argue that keeping the waiver in place past Sept. 30 could also help many beneficiaries who may be surprised by a little-known rule that will affect 2018 marketplace policies.

For the first time, insurers will be prohibited from issuing a marketplace plan if they know the member is eligible for Medicare and the 2018 policy is significantly different.

Those who find themselves without a marketplace plan could be in for another surprise: They won’t have insurance for outpatient care until July 1 because Medicare imposes a waiting period before Part B coverage kicks in for latecomers.

Extending the deadline “would lessen a significant hardship for many people … (who) are unaware of the repercussions that could result from keeping their marketplace coverage,” said Cathryn Donaldson, a spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry group.

Original Source: http://www.post-gazette.com/aging-edge/aging-edge-reports/2017/09/24/Money-saving-offer-for-Medicare-s-late-enrollees-is-expiring-Can-they-buy-time/stories/201709240187

Original Date: Sept 24 2017

Original Author: Susan Jaffe


Medicare Supplemental Insurance in Tennessee

Medicare in Tennessee

Original Medicare is a federal government platform that is aimed to help and support United States residents and legal permanent occupants of at least five years with health-care costs and billings.

Who are eligible?

  • Citizens of the age of 65 years old or older.
  • Citizens may be eligible for Medicare when younger than 65 years of age and permanently disabled and have been receiving disability benefits for at least 24 months.
  • Citizens may be eligible for Medicare if diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) or permanent kidney failure which needs dialysis treatment or kidney transplant (end -stage renal disease).

Original Medicare consists of two parts:

Medicare Part A:

Medicare Part A offers basic benefits for inpatient hospital care and hospice care, and also limited benefits for post-hospital nursing facility services and home health care.

Medicare Part B:

Medicare Part B offers basic benefits for doctors and laboratory services, and also some outpatient medical services which includes medical equipment and supplies, physical therapy and some home health-care services.

Medicare Supplemental Insurance in Tennessee

(Medicare Part C & Part D)

Medicare Part C

Medicare Part C is a Medicare Supplemental Insurance and also refers to Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare Supplemental Insurance plan is another way you can receiving Medicare benefits. Under this platform, private insurance companies that are contracted with Medicare provides the benefits of Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) and more. For example, Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans must limit your annual expenses for most covered services. When this limit is met, then the Medicare Supplemental Insurance plan start paying 100% of most covered services. Also, most Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans include additional benefits, such as:

  • Routine dental and vision care.
  • Hearing
  • Wellness platforms
  • Prescription drug benefits.
  • Hospice care is covered under Medicare Part A instead of through the Medicare Supplemental Insurance plan directly.


Types of Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans.

  • There are various types of Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans, some are specialized in offering benefits for the special needs of:
  • People who are having a specific health issue.
  • People who live in a nursing care facility.
  • People who are receiving benefits from both Medicare and Medicaid.

Medicare Part D

Some Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans offers prescription drug benefits when others do not. Medicare Supplemental Insurance plans that include prescription drug benefits is also Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MA-PD) plans. It gives the convenience of having Medicare medical and prescription drug benefits through one plan. Residents may enroll in a Medicare Supplemental Insurance plan in Tennessee and be living within the Medicare Supplemental Insurance plan’s service area. Continuous to payment must be made for Medicare Part B premium and also pay an additional premium directly to Medicare Supplemental Insurance plan, alongside any deductible, copayment, or coinsurance amount to the benefit plans chosen.

Medicare Prescription Drug Benefits.

Original Medicare doesn’t cover prescription drugs in many situations. Medicare Prescription Drug Plans are provides by private insurers contracted with Medicare. These plans may cover most of the prescription drugs that are frequently used by Medicare beneficiaries. However, there can be variances in benefits between plans. Medicare Prescription Drug Plans publishes a list of prescription drugs they cover and it is referred to as a formulary. The formulary is unstable, it changes at any time. Beneficiaries will be noticed from any plan when necessary. To be eligible for Medicare prescription drug benefits, you must have Medicare Part A and/or Part B and reside in the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan’s service area.

Learn more about Tennessee Medicare Supplemental Insurance rates, plans, and more at http://www.emedicare-supplemental-insurance.com/tennessee-medicare-supplement-plans. Our Tennessee Medicare Supplemental Insurance brokers will help you compare Medicare Supplemental Insurance rates and plans in Tennessee.  To talk to an expert in Tennessee Medicare coverage toll free 877-202-9248 today!