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

Repealing Obamacare Will Have Consequences for Medicare

One of President-elect’s Donald Trump’s campaign promises was to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, and Republicans in Congress have vowed to make repeal one of their first acts in the new term. While repealing Obamacare will have implications for millions of younger people covered by the insurance, it will also affect Medicare beneficiaries. To begin with, the ACA requires insurers to provide free preventative care coverage to Medicare beneficiaries. Without that requirement, seniors may end up having to pay for many preventative care services. In addition, the ACA reduced prescription drug costs under Medicare Part D and Continue Reading

Part B Premium Will Rise Slightly for Most Medicare Beneficiaries in 2017

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has announced the Medicare premiums, deductibles, and coinsurances for 2017. After holding steady at $104.90 a month for four years, the standard Medicare Part B premium that most recipients pay will rise 4 percent to about $109 a month.  However, approximately 30 percent of beneficiaries will see their Part B premium rise from $121.80 to $134 a month, a 10 percent increase.  Meanwhile, all beneficiaries will face a higher Part B deductible, which will go from the current $166 to $183 in 2017. The reason for the two different Part B premiums is that Continue Reading

When Can You Delay Taking Medicare?

While you are eligible to apply for Medicare when you are 65, there are circumstances where you might not want to, particularly if you are working full time for a larger employer or contributing to a health savings account. However, there can be penalties if you don’t sign up at the right time, so it is important to know when you can delay signing up for Medicare without facing a penalty. You can first sign up for Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period, which is the seven-month period that includes the three months before the month you become eligible (usually Continue Reading