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Creating Technologies to Help Retirees Choose Their Optimal Health Insurance

19.12.2017 02.41 UTC

Your monthly premium for Medicare Part B (Physician Services) can vary from $134/month to $428/month. It is important to know what affects your Medicare premiums and what you can do about it....

It’s Complicated: Medicare Part B Premiums

Premiums for Medicare Part B can vary, based on a number of factors. Here is an explanation of some of the factors than can affect what you pay and what you can do about it.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) recently announced the 2018 premiums for Medicare Part B (Physician Services). In case you’re wondering what the premiums are for 2018, the best answer is “it’s complicated and it depends.” And that gets at the focus of this blog post – the complexities (and pitfalls) of the Medicare Part B premium structure. Note: there is a separate premium for Part A (Hospitalization), but this Part A premium is only paid by individuals who did not complete least 40 quarters of Medicare-covered employment; 99 percent of those covered by Medicare have the required employment and do not pay any Part A premium. So, the remainder of this blog will focus on the Part B Premium....

21.10.2017 07.27 UTC

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Healthcare for the Elderly: When Less is More

A recent article (politico.com) discusses a number of important issues regarding the unique health care needs of the aged. The overall framework of the article is that, in the case of health care for the aged, “less is more.” The points raised in this article should be considered by anyone with an interest in those covered by Medicare: •      It is estimated that a significant portion (between 25 percent and 33 percent) of health care services provided in the U.S. are unnecessary. Unnecessary care has both financial and health implications. The financial implications are straightforward – eliminating unnecessary care could help reduce the cost of healthcare in the U.S. However, unnecessary procedures and medications also pose an extra threat to the physical...
More Americans are working past 65 and continue to have employer-sponsored health insurance. However, the intersection of Medicare and employer coverage has a number of traps for the unwary and some of these traps come with real financial consequences. This makes it more important than ever that you (and your employer) understand the complex rules for starting coverage under Medicare. This blog post will identify some of the traps in these rules. Medicare Part A and HSAs. If you (or your spouse) has paid Medicare taxes for at least ten years, you do not pay monthly premiums for Medicare Part A (hospital) coverage. Because Part A does not require...

28.01.2016 03.26 UTC

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Is My Doctor Covered?

Health insurance is an empty promise if your doctor or hospital is not covered. Headlines keep on reminding us that insurance companies are restricting the doctors and hospitals covered by their plans. People covered by Medicare have their own separate rules and these Medicare-specific rules have both good news and bad news—but mostly good news. The good news—people covered by “original” Medicare have broad access to the doctor of their choice. Over 90% of doctors take Medicare[1]. The bad news: the Medicare rules are complicated and are filled with traps for the unwary....

10.11.2015 04.22 UTC

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Medicare Premiums: The YoYo Effect

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There has been a lot in the media about the recent budget deal and changes to the Medicare Part B premium.  What just happened? Here is the bottom line (and its confusing): ·      If you are a current Medicare beneficiary and pay your Part B premium though a deduction to your Social Security check, your Part B premium will stay at $104.90/month for the time being. ·      If you are a Medicare beneficiary, but do not pay your Part B premium through a Social Security deduction—or are new to Medicare--your Part B premium will rise to about $123. But as is often the case, the reality is more complicated…. Medicare premiums are supposed to cover 25% of the cost of Medicare...
Both the popular press and the benefits/HR trade publications have been sounding the alarm—older workers are not adequately saving for their health care costs in retirement.  There are many reasons for this “retiree medical adequacy” gap—including limited resources and competing needs (e.g., housing, children’s’ education, and retirement income needs) and confusion over the best asset-accumulation vehicles (e.g., 401(k)/403(b), Roth, IRA, and HSA). Many of the challenges to retiree medical adequacy are based on financial constraints and filling these financial gaps will be difficult in an era of limited wage growth and increasing longevity....

26.04.2015 09.45 UTC

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Congress Tries New Remedy

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On April 16 President Obama signed The Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act (“MACRA”). The focus of the law is to change how physicians are reimbursed under Medicare, but MACRA contains a number of provisions that may have far-reaching consequences for all of the “stakeholders” in Medicare—especially for consumers and their physicians. Most importantly, MACRA changes more than how much physicians are paid—it shifts how they are paid. Under MACRA, annual increases (and possible cuts) in physician reimbursements will be based on the physicians’ performance...
There is an ongoing controversy between hospitals and government regulators (The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or “CMS”)—with Medicare beneficiaries caught in the middle. Although the issue seems technical and bureaucratic, it raises some significant issues for those covered by Medicare. What is Going On? Hospitals can label a stay as an “admission” to the hospital—or as a stay for “observation.” In recent years the use of observation status has skyrocketed; as noted by the Kaiser News Network, the use of observation status rose 88% between 2006 and 2012 and the number of observation stays lasting...
The 401(k) plan was born in 1978 and has since “grown up” to become the dominant employer-sponsored retirement vehicle in the U.S. During that time, employers have learned many lessons about how to play the role of plan sponsor—encouraging employees to contribute (through the use of tools such as matching contributions and automatic enrollment), offering the right investment options (such as through balanced funds and “qualified” default investments), and helping employees through complex investment decisions (such as through target date funds and automatic rebalancing). Throughout this period, employers have labored mightily to teach employees key principles of saving and investing....

20.12.2014 04.35 UTC

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Telemedicine is rapidly growing

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Telemedicine—the use of telecommunication and information technology to provide health care at a distance—is rapidly growing. And, projections are for more growth—estimated at 18.5% per year for the next few years. Telemedicine is becoming more widely accepted, in part, because it holds out the promise of significant cost savings. But telemedicine is promising for other reasons—monitoring individuals to reduce the rate of readmission following a hospitalization, providing better care to individuals with limited mobility, monitoring key clinical measures...