Month: August 2011

Medication cost skyrockets with unemployment

By Stephanie Dudgeon, The Washington Post

My sleep cycle has been erratic for the past two months, with some insomnia occurring.  I blame the endless heat and humidity we have had.  But my insomnia began to lift this past weekend.  It may be a coincidence, but I also had a birthday this weekend.

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Initial Enrollment Periods for Part C and Part D

Initial Enrollment Periods for Part C and Part D

If This Describes You

You Can…

At This Time…

You’re newly eligible for Medicare because you turn age 65.

Sign up for a Medicare Advantage and/or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

During the 7-month period that starts 3 months before the month you turn age 65, includes the month you turn age 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn age 65.

You’re newly eligible for Medicare because you’re disabled (under age 65).

Sign up for a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. Your Medicare coverage begins 24 months after you get Social Security or RRB disability benefits.

Starting 21 months after you get Social Security or RRB benefits. Your chance to sign up lasts through the 27th month after you get Social Security or RRB benefits.

You’re already eligible for Medicare because of a disability, and you turn age 65.

Sign up for a Medicare ■■Advantage and/or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Switch from your current ■■Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another plan.

Drop a Medicare Advantage ■■or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan completely.

During the 7-month period that starts 3 months before the month you turn age 65, includes the month you turn age 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn age 65.

If you sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan during this time, you can drop that plan at any time during the next 12 months and go back to Original Medicare.

Hospital-related infections drop under California initiative

By Duke Helfand, Los Angeles Times

Scores of California hospitals, under pressure to reduce infections that kill an estimated 12,000 patients every year, say they have managed to cut costs and save lives through an initiative that has nurses and doctors redoubling efforts to prevent deadly germs from taking root.

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For Many Seniors, There May Be No Retirement

By Rachel Louise Ensign, The Wall Street Journal

When Angela Gregor’s mother became ill and needed long-term care in the 1990s, Ms. Gregor tapped her individual retirement account for funds and stopped making contributions. Then came the tumultuous stock-market ups and downs of the past decade, dealing the IRA another blow.

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Time for an Intervention on Medicare and Medicaid Costs

The Bureau of Economic Analysis recently released data showing Medicare and Medicaid costs jumped 10% in the second quarter of this year. This puts the two healthcare entitlement programs on course to reach spending levels of almost $992 billion. Yes, that is almost $1 trillion. And guess what, it is not going to stop rising unless something is done soon.

The recent debt ceiling compromise in Washington did not touch or modify the programs but it does leave them open for restructuring in future negotiations. And as much as I love and value these entitlement programs, a massive restructuring is exactly what is needed. When Medicare was first enacted in 1965, approximately 19 million Americans enrolled. By the year 2030, an estimated 80 million Americans will be enrolled. The bad economy only adds to the burden as more and more Americans wind up in the Medicaid program. Medicare and Medicaid currently pay 57.5% of all provider bills for doctors and hospitals, and pharmaceuticals. That is up from 49.3% in 2005. Life expectancy when Medicare was created was 70. Today, it is 78. People are living longer and they are using more and more healthcare services. Each day, there are new and amazing discoveries, many of which will extend our life expectancy adding even more cost to an under financed system.

It would be a wonderful blessing if our country could fund all of our healthcare expenses indefinitely. But simply put, the math just does not add up. We must fix the funding of the program now so that we all benefit from it in the future; our children and grandchildren included. I believe there is a way if only we all listen and understand the facts on the ground.

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Pre-existing Conditions Exclusions

When HealthCare Reform goes into full effect starting January 1, 2014 no healthplan, either sold privately or through the …

Health Insurance Exchange Markets: What You Need To Know

By Susan E. Matthews, Everyday Health Staff Writer MONDAY, September 30, 2013 — Congress may still be debating particulars …

Important healthcare benefit information for federal employees

  Federal Employee Health Benefits and Healthcare Reform As it stands today only those federal employees who are members …