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Updated: Tuesday September 16, 2014

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            YOUR MEDICARE GUIDE

 

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LATEST MEDICARE NEWS IN LAST SECTION

 

             

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Medicare  PART "D" AND THE COSTS

ALL ABOUT THE  DOUGHNUT HOLE

COMPARE PART D PLANS FOR YOUR STATE

Medicare A - B - C - D

             ---plus other Medicare Tips, News, and Links

MEDICARE ADVANTAGE ENROLLMENT CHANGES

July 26, 2010 - Medicare Advantage members will have only one chance to change their Advantage plan later this year, between November 15th and December 31st. After January 1, they will be locked into their Advantage plan for 2011-  unless they decide to dis-enroll from their Advantage plan and go back to Medicare.  From January 1st to February 15th,  seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans will be allowed to dis-enroll from their plan. And if their Advantage plan included a drug plan, they will be allowed to sign up for a stand-alone Part D plan to replace the drug coverage that was in their Medicare Advantage plan.

For many years (and in 2010), people enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans were able to switch from one plan to another during the months of January, February, and March.  This “Open Enrollment Period” will not be available in 2011.

In November this year (2010), it will be very important for seniors to review the materials they receive from their Medicare Advantage plan – in case their plan makes some big changes.  If they want to shop around for another Advantage plan, they will only have November 15th to December 31st to do so.  If they discover in January that their plan no longer works for them, they will be unable to change to another Advantage plan. Their only recourse will be to dis-enroll from their Advantage plan and go back to Medicare (and pick up a Part D plan). CLICK HERE to find the link to Medicare Plans.

Learn about MEDICARE ADVANTAGE, or Simple Explanation of Parts A, B, C, and D. Or go to the Medicare Health Plan Finder.

Time to Review Medicare Part D Plans

Go to the Medicare (D) Drug Plan Finder

Did you know that  today the US is only 43rd

in life expectancy among the nations!   We wonder why. $

                                      $          $            $ 

 

 Where Do I Start With Part "D"? 

 Simply explained on one page.

     Understand the maze.

 

 Senior Tips, Medicare and Part "D" Prescription News and Links  (below)

2010 Medicare Part D Basic Guidelines

 

How Part D Works - How to change it

                

Help - I'm falling into the dreaded

 doughnut hole" : 15 Things you can do today to survive the  doughnut hole, and save on drugs.

 

Medicare Twilight Zone 

    do do do do ) do do do

    A little comic relief for all those who are

    confused by Medicare!

 

Part D Costs in  Easy Chart Form

 

Medicare Parts A, B, C, D

   Simply explained on one page

 

Medicare Part "D

     Simply explained on one page

 

Two New Medicare Part "D" Tools

         Select the right plan for you.

 

Part D and Medicare Advantage

      Comparison Tool

 

Surviving the Medicare Advantage

      Decision-Making Process

 

2012 Part B Premium 

 

Effect of a Zero Social Security COLA

       on Part B Premiums in Medicare

 

Committing to the wrong Part D Plan for the next year could be a costly and tragic error. Are you sure you will have the best 2009 Part D Plan for your area, at the best price, and one that best meets your prescription needs? Medicare has a very easy tool that will do that for you. As the editor of SeniorArk.com, I work with Part D information every day, and I'm not sure I will have the best 2010 Plan until I use that tool. Have a look.

 

Medicare-run, single payer drug plan

       proposed

 

A few quick Medicare Links for Part D

 

Check to see if you qualify for extra help

       with Part D costs.

 

 

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TIPS

most recent last

1. Surviving With Medicare Part "D"

2.THE MEDICARE TWILIGHT ZONE      Humorous article on the utter confusion of Medicare "Parts"
3.  Explanation of Part D, doughnut hole, and suggestions for improvement.

 

"Be generous. I'm trying to buy my way out of the doughnut hole."  Maxine

4.  Official Medicare Prescription Drug Information Site 

5.  If you do not have excessive property or large bank accounts, you should be able to get your Part D subsidized by Social Security. I get about $11,000 per year and my Part D has NO premium NO deductible, NO gap, and the meds run between $! & $5 per month (max) each. Check page 57 in the 2006 Medicare Handbook "Medicare and You" it has a chart that should answer your questions. Good luck. You may be able to get help applying (I did) from RSVP, they're in the phone book.      Cheers,  Lee O.

(You will need Acrobat Reader to open this Medicare publication online. It is free. Click the running person below)

  Image of the Adobe Acrobat Reader logo

6, BEWARE of people offering to give you Medicare information for a price. 99.9% of the time this information is available FOR FREE. These people are looking to make a buck off of you by selling you convenience.

 For that matter, any information pertaining to government policies or programs is free. Don't fall for the hype!     Rivahcat - Virginia

7. IF YOU HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT PLAN D, WRITE OR CALL YOUR CONGRESSMAN AND SENATOR. COMPLETE LINKS TO DO THAT CAN BE FOUND AT: LINKS/GOVERNMENT

8. Here is an invaluable site for Seniors who are on Part "D", or buying drugs independently. It is produced by independent  Consumer Reports. It is part of their  "Best Buy Drugs"  website.  Specific to those on Medicare is  their  "Medicare RX"  section.

9. Why are seniors paying nearly twice the price for their prescriptions as veterans, even though the government runs both programs? Because Congress specifically prevented Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices for seniors. In a time of record budget deficits, that just doesn’t make sense. Click here to tell Congress to let Medicare get better drug prices for seniors. (Takes you to a Consumers Union/Consumer Reports page)

10. A free booklet is available from the National Pharmaceutical Council explaining prescription benefits, new Medicare beneficiaries, choosing a plan and how to appeal when your drug is not covered. You can order Your Pharmacy Benefit: Make It Work for You. Call 1-888-878-3256 or www.pueblo.gsa.gov

11. Important dates for the balance of 2008 for Part D

Oct. 1: Insurance companies may start marketing their plans.

Oct. Mid: Medicare releases details of the plans, costs and drugs they cover. In late October it mails each beneficiary the "Medicare and You" handbook, a guide to all Medicare benefits.

Nov. 15-Dec. 31: Medicare beneficiaries may enroll in Part D plans, or switch to new plans. Those already enrolled may keep those plans or switch to different ones. People in a plan that is being discontinued may choose a new plan.

January 1 - March 31 Open enrollment for Medicare Advantage, if you decide you prefer this to a stand-alone Part D program.

HELP, Medicare • 1-800-633-4227 (TTY/TDD 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day. www.medicare.gov

12.  The changes to Medicare in 2006 that brought us the drug "benefit" had  another increase built in which I was just made aware of by an article in this Sunday's paper ..
Part B charges will be tied to your income bracket !!!!  .
The article did not state how/when  they would  determine your bracket .. But anyone near a bracket boundary should do some year-end  income planning now if possible.. The article mentioned 2 events that could cause a bracket shift, converting an IRA to Roth and selling property..  Paul P.

13. See Medicare A B C D Made Simple

14. TO FIND A HEALTH PLAN Your best resource is still the Medicare prescription-drug-plan finder --  -- which lets you enter the names of drugs you take and figure your potential out-of-pocket costs for the plans in your area.

15. If you are denied any kind of coverage by Medicare, you have the right to appeal. Here is the Medicare webpage you need: http://www.medicare.gov/basics/appeals.asp

16. What can you do if you are falling into the doughnut hole?

17. This morning SeniorARK came across an October 23, 2006 article on the mixed grades Part D is receiving. In that article we find this statement: "It's a lot of smoke," said Dr. Aaron Snyder, who works for Kaiser Permanente. To him, the government is cleverly concealing the fact that the benefits are relatively modest. To read the full article click: Medicare Plan D gets mixed grades
Rocky Mountain News - Denver,CO,USA

18 Alert: Despite Medicare coverage, seniors are not taking advantage of preventive services and important screenings that can help detect diseases early.

19. Do you think there is profit in the Medicare Part D Extravaganza on the backs of Seniors?  Read this from a late October 2006 Stock value assessment of Part D provider, Humana:

"OVERVIEW: In 2003, the federal government passed legislation allowing seniors to obtain medical coverage through private health insurers under plans ultimately reimbursed by Medicare

More than half of Humana's profits come from insuring seniors through government programs, and with Medicare reforms still in infancy analysts say investors will judge Humana's third quarter based on margins and enrollment. Both are tied to the company's ability to persuade members to switch to a new type of plan, Medicare Advantage.

Medicare Advantage offers seniors cheaper copays under programs that restrict choices to certain doctors and hospitals."   

20. Read recent article (Oct 29) on Part D      THE PRAISES AND PITFALLS OF PART D
21. Disabled and can't get around. Check into Medicare-approved scooters.

                    It may be fully covered.

22. Many seniors know that Medicare covers flu and pneumonia vaccinations but don't realize they have extra benefits that became effective Jan. 1, 2005, Medicare now covers 100 percent of the cost of cholesterol tests every five years and diabetes screening tests up to twice a year. It also will cover 80 percent an annual glaucoma eye screening and a bone mass measurement to check for osteoporosis. Other screenings tests covered by Medicare at 100 or 80 percent include mammography, pap tests, colorectal screening and prostate cancer. The coverage means Medicare benefits can help detect disease earlier, reduce infectious diseases and improve a patient's quality of life.

Many conditions and diseases have no early symptoms. It's much better to try to prevent health problems from developing or growing that treating a disease after it has developed for a while.  These are potentially life saving benefits. We encourage seniors to take advantage of them. Cancer can grow deep within a colon, for example, with no symptoms. Regular testing can reveal colon cancer in earlier more curable stages. Medicare also will cover 80 percent of the medical nutritional therapy for persons with diabetes or kidney disease.

23. If your Medicare Part B coverage begins on or after January 1, 2005, Medicare benefits cover a one-time preventive physical exam within the first six months that you have Part B. The exam will include a thorough review of your health, education and counseling about the preventive services you need, like certain screenings and shots, and referrals for other care. The "Welcome to Medicare" physical exam is a great way to get up-to-date on important screenings and shots and to talk with your doctor about your family history and how to stay healthy. These preventative screenings are an important aspect of senior health and committing to a healthy lifestyle.

24. Premiums are going up on Part D, and there could be changes as to which prescription drugs are covered in your policy.
If a senior decides to change policies or enroll in the program for the first time, Medicare officials urge the action be taken by December 8.
Although the deadline is Dec. 31, applying early will allow enough time for processing for coverage beginning Jan. 1.

Don't assume that everything is exactly the same as in 2006 with your Part D plan. You need to review it for 2007.  And there may be a better plan for your situation. Go to prescription-drug-plan finder for online help from Medicare.

25. No Increase for Medicare Part B Premiums in 2009; more.
26. Bill to Improve Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy

27. November 1, 2006 - In 13 states next year, there will be no drug plans that offer coverage in the so-called "doughnut hole," the drug coverage gap in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program, for the top medicines prescribed to seniors, according to a new report issued today. In 2006, there were only four such states, but the number of seniors without access to such doughnut hole coverage will increase from 375,000 to 6.6 million in 2007 - an 18-fold increase.

In the 37 states and the District of Columbia in which plans will continue to offer such doughnut hole coverage, premiums for the lowest-priced Part D plans will increase by 87.4 percent, jumping from a median monthly price of $55.08 in 2006 to $103.20 in 2007 (an increase in annual premiums from $660.96 to $1,238.40).  SeniorJournal.com

28. Medicare Part B Premiums: New Rules For Beneficiaries With Higher Incomes Frequently Asked Questions
29. Your 2009 Part B premium depends. on your income for prior tax year..  read more

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Click here to read SeniorARK explanation of, and recommendations for Medicare Part "D"

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   Medicare and Prescription Drug Part D   News

 most recent articles first

older articles in archive

Seniors:  IF YOU HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT THE MEDICARE PART D PRESCRIPTION PLAN,  WRITE OR CALL YOUR CONGRESSMAN AND SENATOR. COMPLETE LINKS TO DO THAT CAN BE FOUND AT:             LINKS/GOVERNMENT.                                              Or you might want to go the route below:

Why are seniors paying nearly twice the price for their prescriptions as veterans, even though the government runs both programs? Because Congress specifically prevented Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices for seniors. In a time of record budget deficits, that just doesn’t make sense.   Tell Congress to let Medicare get better drug prices for seniors.

If any links are dead, they have probably been dropped by the original publisher.

Most recent Medicare and  Part D news listed first.    See older Medicare and Part D News in archive

Date indicates when posted on this page by SeniorArk

Medicare's Open Enrollment Season Is Coming
ElderLawAnswers.com - September 27, 2012
It is that time of year again -- time to reassess whether your Medicare plan is working for you. Medicare's open enrollment period runs from October 15 to December 7. During this period, you may enroll in a Medicare Part D plan or, if you currently ...

Ben Keeton: Something to ponder – will cuts to Medicare limit access, drive up ...
KyForward.com - September 27, 2012
In an effort to curb spending, some in Washington have proposed to change the way the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit operates to set prices for prescription medications. However, studies have indicated that Part D has actually saved money ...

Old folks down South take too many antibiotics new research shows (Video)
Examiner.com - September 26, 2012
The researchers examined Medicare Part D data from 2007 through 2009 (comprising about 1 million patients per year) to examine geographic variation in antibiotic use among older adults in 306 hospital referral regions, 50 states and the District of ...
Top Medicare Drug Plans Jacking Up Premiums By Double-Digits
Forbes - September 25, 2012
Here's a link to the Avalere report that analyzes the so-called Medicare Part D drug plans that contract with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to offer seniors prescription drug coverage. For example, Humana (HUM) Walmart's (WMT ...
AF patients receive disparate medical therapy for stroke prevention
Cardiovascular Business - September 25, 2012
While pharmacotherapy for atrial fibrillation (AF) varies according to comorbidity and underlying risk, a study of Medicare Part D claims data showed that amiodarone was the most commonly prescribed antiarrhythmic agent at approximately 50 percent.
North Dakota Senate race tightens
Marketplace.org - September 25, 2012
Ryan's budget plan reopens the Medicare Part D “doughnut hole” for prescription drugs — a range of costs in which seniors are responsible for paying for all their medications out-of-pocket, Factcheck.org says. North Dakota, a state that The New York ...
Most Medicare Part D Beneficiaries Not in Low Cost Prescription ...

blog.planprescriber.com - September 25, 2012
Are you one of the 5% of all Medicare Part D beneficiaries enrolled in Prescription Drug Plans with the lowest total out-of-pocket costs available?
Part D and Medicare Advantage plan landscape info for 2013 is here!
It's almost time for the Part D and Medicare Advantage annual coordinated election period, which runs from October 15 through December 7th. Check out the ...
wnylc.com/health/entry/177/ - September 22, 2012

BBB on Seniors: Medicare Part D, Medicare Advantage open enrollment rolls ...
Houston Chronicle - September 21, 2012
Because it is so important to review your Medicare Part D plans and your Medicare Advantage plan (if you have one) every year, I am repeating the information from last year. This is your opportunity to review your current health needs and make ...
A bipartisan foul: 'Medicare is going broke'
Washington Post (blog) - September 21, 2012
First of all, there are four parts to Medicare: Part A (hospital insurance), Part B (medical insurance), Part C (Medicare Advantage — private plans for parts A and B), and Part D (prescription drug plans). When asked for evidence of Medicare going ...
Medicare: Vouchers would be a nightmare
Ravalli Republic - September 21, 2012
Beginning in 2006 we seniors were handed an annual nightmare created by Washington politicians called “Medicare Drug Plan, Part D.” We were given the privilege of selecting an insurance company to assist us in obtaining prescription drugs at lower ...
Seniors can get help reviewing Medicare Part D plans
The World Newspaper - September 20, 2012

Seniors wanting to compare their plans should visit www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE. These resources will allow them to easily compare their current coverage with their medical and financial needs in order to determine the most suitable option available in their area
Mulka: Medicare benefits from the Affordable Care Act
Summit Daily News - September 19, 2012
Medicare recipients have already received additional benefits since the ACA has been passed. They are now eligible for free preventive checkups, including mammograms and colonoscopies. The Medicare Part D donut hole will gradually be eliminated by ...
Almost half of under-65s skip scripts because of cost
FiercePharma - September 19, 2012
Medicare Part D showed what a difference drug coverage could make in prescription drug use. With employers cutting back on benefits--requiring bigger co-pays, for example--drugmakers have stepped in with co-pay assistance for some drugs to keep the ...
Grappling With Details of Medicare Proposals
New York Times (blog) - September 18, 2012
At this stage of our lives, it's already too late to start building up an emergency medical fund that's big enough to pay for all the extra expenses we'd incur,” Ms. Celsi said. ... Though the average beneficiary in traditional Medicare currently gets

Medicare Part D Costs
medicaremedics.com - September 15, 2012

Even if you have great health, you never know when you may face an illness, injury, or disease that requires prescription medications.
Shingles Vaccination Not Covered for Some in Medicare; It is for Some Boomers
SeniorJournal.com - September 14, 2012
... a virus that can lead to long-term nerve damage called postherpetic neuralgia. All Medicare Part D prescription drug plans cover the shingles vaccine, which is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for people age 60 and older.
Medicare Part D » Medicare Supplement - What Where & How
September 14, 2012 - For anyone with a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Part D for prescription drug coverage it is important keep a look out for any changes to your plan.
Romney's Medicare remarks: Would he pass costs on to seniors or not?
Washington Post (blog) - September 13, 2012
Actually, what you're seeing Medicare today, with Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit, is that Congress, in putting this together, said, 'Look, we're going to allow companies to compete for a package of prescription drug benefits.' And the ...
Campaign issue: Long-term care
Minneapolis Star Tribune - September 13, 2012
Ideally, we would have a program analogous to the Medicare Part D drug benefit or the Medicare Advantage managed-care plan that would help people to buy affordable insurance from private carriers. The 2010 health-care law did include a long-term-care ...
Betty Berry: Sorting through the alphabet that is Medicare takes work
Ventura County Star - September 12, 2012
Medicare in 2006 added prescription drug coverage known as Medicare Part D. This plan assists Medicare beneficiaries with the cost of prescription drugs. Medicare beneficiaries pay a monthly premium for these plans plus a co-payment for the ... (also read SeniorArk article: http://seniorark.com/A%20B%20C%20D%20Made%20Simple.htm
How Is Your Medicare Drug Plan Like Your Cable Company?
Kaiser Health News - September 12, 2012
Boston University economist Keith M. Marzilli Ericson finds the same thing going on in Medicare prescription drug plans. Stick around too long in the same Medicare Part D plan and your premiums will be about 10 percent higher than if you switch to a ...
Barnidge: It wasn't easy making Medicare this complicated
Inside Bay Area - September 11, 2012
"Part A is the original part, and that's hospital insurance and a few related things. Part B is medical, basically doctors and outpatient services. Part C is an alternate way to get your benefits through what's known as Medicare Advantage. Part D is ...
Open enrollment starts in October for Medicare beneficiaries
NorthJersey.com - September 10, 2012
Open enrollment commences Oct. 15, and runs through Dec. 7, 2012 this year. It applies only to people with Medicare Advantage Plans or Part D, the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. It does not apply to your Medicare Supplement policy or your group ...
Retirees' new pastime: Cutting costs in all sorts of ways
USA TODAY - September 9, 2012
For example, someone living in Lafayette, Calif., with no mail order co-pay and Medicare Part D covering the deductible can save $63 on a 90-day supply of Atorvastatin, the generic form of Lipitor, vs. filling the prescription at a pharmacy during the ...
Allsup Explains What's New for Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period
U.S. Politics Today - September 8, 2012
The law also has helped nearly 5.4 million people with Medicare save more than $4.1 billion in out-of-pocket expenses on prescription drugs as it closes the Medicare Part D donut hole, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).
Maximizing Medicare prescription drug coverage
Bandera County Courier - September 7, 2012
Fortunately, there is a voluntary program called Medicare Part D that helps beneficiaries pay for their prescription drugs. Beneficiaries can access prescription drug coverage either from a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan or from a Medicare ...
What to Know About 2012 Medicare Open Enrollment
NASDAQ - September 6, 2012
What changes will there be to open enrollment for Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans this year? When do I need to decide on my 2013 plan? After some big Medicare changes last year, such as expanding preventive-care benefits and bumping ...
Starwatch Consumer | Refunds on way to cover CVS Medicare price error
Kansas City Star - September 5, 2012
More News. Refunds on the way. The Federal Trade Commission said it was mailing refund checks to 13,000 Medicare Part D beneficiaries who were overcharged for drugs because a CVS Caremark Corp. business understated the price of the medications.
What to Know About 2012 Medicare Open Enrollment
Kiplinger Personal Finance - September 5, 2012
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates that the average premiums for Part D plans will continue to be about $30 per month, essentially the same as last year's average cost. But, as we've seen in the past, plans can make other changes ...
Uncle Sam barred from bargaining Medicare drug prices, Senate candidate ...
PolitiFact - September 4, 2012
When it comes to the massive Medicare Part D prescription drug program, you'd think Uncle Sam would have pretty good leverage in negotiating drug prices. But the government is actually barred from doing such bargaining, according to Democratic ...
Covering the Bases: A closer look at what Medicare Part D covers
CapitalGazette.com - September 3, 2012
Medicare does not cover medicines for weight gain or weight loss; Medicare does not cover erectile dysfunction medicines; Medicare does not cover medicines used for cosmetic purposes (such as Retin-A to smooth facial wrinkles); Medicare does not cover ...
 

If any links are dead, they have probably been dropped by the original publisher.

Most recent Part D news listed first.              . See Older Medicare and  Part "D" articles in archive

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