Massachusetts will ask Medicaid patients about quality of care

In 2018, MassHealth care providers were organized into 17 accountable care organizations (networks of doctors and hospitals). Beginning this month, 250,000 Medicaid recipients will be asked questions about the quality of their care by their Medicaid providers. Massachusetts plans to release the survey results in 2020. Follow our link to the Boston Globe article which explains the process in more detail: Read More. Massachusetts will ask Medicaid patients about quality of care By Liz Kowalczyk | Boston Globe Privately insured patients have been asked to rate their medical providers for years. Now, for the first time, Massachusetts is seeking the Continue Reading

The Junk Removers Manhandle My Heart

Grief and catharsis can take surprising forms. I hadn’t expected a sofa to play such a starring role in mine but the murder of Miss Bee [nickname giving to sofa] had provided a powerful – and beneficial – release.” Follow our link to the NYT Modern Love column by Mike Rucker to read how he was affected by giving away the sofa bought with his deceased partner. Read More. Meandering through grief, a man tries to replace his sofa. It doesn’t go well. By Mike Rucker | The New York Times John and I bought the sofa together when he moved into Continue Reading

Enrolling in Medicare can be confusing. Here’s how to do it.

If you are turning 65 soon, you are eligible to enroll for Medicare, the federal health insurance program. Medicare has four parts – A pays for in-patient hospital care, skilled nursing an home health care; B covers outpatient medical services, C offers a range of Medicare Advantage plans which gives hospital and medical insurance and other benefits like medicines, eyeglasses and dental.; D is for prescription medicines. Enrolling can be confusing with all the different deadlines and options. Follow our link to the Boston Globe article which explains the process in more detail: Read More. Enrolling in Medicare can be Continue Reading

Why Giving Your House to Your Children Isn’t the Best Way to Protect It From Medicaid

You may be afraid of losing your home if you have to enter a nursing home and apply for Medicaid. While this fear is well-founded, transferring the home to your children is usually not the best way to protect it. Although you generally do not have to sell your home in order to qualify for Medicaid coverage of nursing home care, the state could file a claim against the house after you die. If you get help from Medicaid to pay for the nursing home, the state must attempt to recoup from your estate whatever benefits it paid for your care. Continue Reading

Medicare’s Part B Premium Will Be Unchanged in 2018

The announcement of the 2018 Medicare premium is good news for some beneficiaries and bad news for many others.  The good news is that the standard monthly Part B premium, which about 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries pay, will again be $134 next year, unchanged from 2017. But most Medicare recipients pay a lower premium because they have been protected from any increase in premiums when Social Security benefits remain stagnant, as has been the case for the last several years.  This year, that premium has averaged $109 a month, but due to the 2 percent Social Security increase for 2018, the premiums Continue Reading

You Can Pay Your Medicare Premiums Online

Online bill paying has become a popular way to make paying bills easier, and now you can pay your Medicare premiums online too. If your bank allows customers to pay bills online, you can use that service to pay your Medicare premiums. To set up online bill paying, contact your bank. To make sure your bank processes your premium payments correctly, you’ll need to give the bank this information: The amount of your Medicare premium Your account number, which is your Medicare number without dashes (this number is on your red, white, and blue Medicare card) The biller’s name: CMS Continue Reading

How will possible cuts to Medicaid affect you?

How will possible cuts to Medicaid affect you? It depends on which state you live in as different states have different budgets for Medicaid especially as their coverage of home-based and community-based care for older adults. What experts agree on is that states will compensate additional cuts in services if the proposed Federal cuts pass Congress. Follow our link to read the entire NYT article. Plan on Growing Old? Then the Medicaid Debate Affects You By Ron Lieber | New York Times These are the stories we tell ourselves: I will never be poor. I will never be disabled. My Continue Reading

Watch Out for Mistakes in the List of Doctors Covered by Your Medicare Advantage Plan

Medicare Advantage plans are a popular alternative to regular Medicare because the plans often offer lower out-of-pocket costs, but buyers need to make sure they know what they are paying for. A government review of Medicare Advantage plans revealed that their provider directories were often riddled with errors, causing those plans to face serious fines. Medicare Advantage plans are provided by private insurers, unlike original Medicare, which is provided by the government. The government pays Medicare Advantage plans a fixed monthly fee to provide services to each Medicare beneficiary under their care. These plans are usually health maintenance organizations (HMOs) Continue Reading

New Medicare Rule Encourages Doctors to Test for Alzheimer’s Disease and Offer Care Planning

A new Medicare rule will promote earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Medicare will now reimburse primary care doctors who conduct an Alzheimer’s evaluation and offer information about care planning to elderly patients with cognitive impairment. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans have the disease. In addition, more than 85 percent of Alzheimer’s patients also have another chronic condition. But many are unaware that they have Alzheimer’s disease because they haven’t been diagnosed. Under the new rule, primary care doctors who test patients for cognitive impairment can bill Medicare for their services. Testing for Alzheimer’s disease can Continue Reading

For Better or for Worse, States Are Turning to Managed Care for Med

More and more states are switching to a managed care model when dealing with Medicaid long-term care patients, a change that has resulted in a loss of services in some cases. Many states use managed care to deliver care to their regular Medicaid populations, but until recently, the care needs of the elderly and disabled have been viewed as too complex for the managed care model.  But states are increasingly turning their state-run home health programs over to private insurance firms to provide managed long-term services and supports (MLTSS). The number of states with MLTSS programs increased from eight in Continue Reading