Archive for November, 2006

Many Medicare beneficiaries aren’t checking plan changes

“Virtually every drug plan is changing somewhat for next year, and some are changing quite a lot,” she said. “Even if you like your plan, it’s really important to check it out.” Read more on this topic.

SLU Hospital cuts Medicare heart transplants

“We decided as an organization to no longer participate in the CMS program for reimbursement for heart transplants,” Signaigo said. “Which means we’re no longer seeking Medicare patients for heart transplants.” Read more on this topic.

The Price of Health: Medicare Part B Premiums Now Tied to Income

Until now, the federal government has paid 75 percent of the Medicare premium, and beneficiaries have been responsible for 25 percent, regardless of income. Congress changed the rules to require those with more resources to pick up a greater share of the tab. Not everyone is pleased with the change. “Medicare’s success derives from its [...]

CareMore Earns Senior Choice Gold Award for Best Overall Value in Medicare Advantage Plans

“At CareMore, we define value as quality of care, quality of services and quality of life for our members,” said Alan Hoops, chairman and CEO for CareMore. “To earn the Senior Choice Gold Award, especially in the Los Angeles/Orange Country market with many large and well-known competitors, is truly an honor because it demonstrates our [...]

Medicare’s drug costs billions less than expected

“Republicans would have you believe that the drug and insurance companies have sacrificed profits in the name of competition, but nothing could be farther from the truth,” said Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif. “In fact, the dirty little secret is that costs are lower because of low enrollment and a slowdown in drug spending.” Read more [...]

Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Requires Study

“That is a way you can compare,” Tucker said. “It will give you what the deductibles are, the premiums, the total annual cost so that people can make an informed decision. They give you the phone numbers to the plans directly so you can call them to ask questions too.” “You’re not married to your [...]

Picking Medicare drug plans still tough

“I guess choosing is getting easier,” said James Antonoff, an 80-year-old resident of Alpharetta, Ga., who was distrustful of government plan selection tools. “These plans are just so complicated.” “Let Medicare do the math,” Norwalk said. “There is no reason for anyone to go through 56 plans.” However, some beneficiaries were shocked by the price [...]

Medicare drug benefit came in under budget

“Republicans would have you believe that the drug and insurance companies have sacrificed profits in the name of competition, but nothing could be farther from the truth,” said Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif. “In fact, the dirty little secret is that costs are lower because of low enrollment and a slowdown in drug spending.” Read more [...]

Drug Plan Fazes Democrats

“This is going to be much more of a morass than people think,” said Marilyn Moon, director of the health program at the American Institutes for Research and a former trustee of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds. Negotiating drug prices is “a feel-good kind of answer, but it’s not one that is easy [...]

Congress seen pushing for imported drugs

Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has made cheaper prescription drugs part of her immediate plans for the House. Yet Pelosi’s focus is on negotiating lower prices with drug companies for Medicare beneficiaries. The same goes for Sen. Harry Reid, the next Senate majority leader. Reid spokesman Jim Manley said reimportation was among “a whole host of [...]

Homework still due on Medicare drug plan

“Basically, you start from scratch,” said Ted Sarenski, an accountant and certified financial planner in Syracuse, N.Y. “You need to start all over again and examine all the plans in the area and see what fits best now.” Read more on this topic.

Medicare costs are increasing

Starting in January, the rules change regarding the amount people pay each month for coverage under a section of Medicare known as Part B. (Medicare Part B generally helps cover the cost of visits to the doctor’s office and certain other expenses.) What can you do about it. “There is no discretion in the statute [...]

Hoyer gives Democratic response to Bush

“Two-and-a-half years ago in Iraq, Cpl. Dunham gave his life when he threw himself on top of an enemy grenade and absorbed the blast,” Bush said. “His selfless act saved the lives of two of his fellow Marines, and earlier this month I announced that our nation will recognize Cpl. Dunham with our highest decoration [...]

Options daunt Medicare enrollees

“These seniors will pay more in premiums but will have lower out-of-pocket deductibles and co-insurance. In some cases, the amount of money that the individual pays out during the year may not be much different, but the cash flow may be significantly different.” Read more on this topic.

Insurer seeks payments from seniors after Medicare error

“It’s not a big deal for me to pay the $720 that is due,” said Holmes. “But what aggravates me is most people don’t put money aside, and it could create a serious problem for some of them.” “It’s conceivable that members could owe 12 months of premiums,” said Chris Murphy , a Blue Cross [...]