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Five Medicare Changes for 2019 You Should Know About

You likely knew it was going to happen at some point, and it did. Medicare changes in 2019 are coming your way.

Medicare is set to expand its scope of coverage and many beneficiaries may find this attractive, but as always, they should check each option that interests them before making a decision. For 2019 Medicare Advantage plans are offering lifestyle support services including home safety fixtures, home meal delivery and transportation from home to medical appointments and back. In some instances, seniors who need a hand with daily living activities may find the cost of a home health aid is covered. Again, always double check what you read about new services offered in order to understand whether or not they apply to you.

Do not like what you chose in terms of Medicare options and plans? This is new option may be for you. For 2019, you have the option to try an Advantage plan for up to three months and switch to another, or back to original Medicare, if you do not like your coverage.

This year you should be aware that Part B premiums are going up. They were $134/month in 2018 and are going up $1.50/month to $135.50. However, those with higher incomes may pay quite a bit more for Medicare Part B.

Along with the fact that Medicare Part B premiums are going up, Medicare deductibles are also going up. The Medicare Part B deductible will be $2.00 higher than in 2018 and cost $185. You should also note that the Medicare Part A inpatient deductible for being admitted to hospital goes up to $1,364; an increase of $24.00 over 2018.

Do you struggle with mobility issues? Then this new service may be appealing. Older Americans with mobility issues sometimes put off going to see a doctor because it is too much trouble. Medicare has been offering a telehealth videoconferencing program to connect patients and doctors, but for 2019 these services are expanding to those receiving stroke treatment or end-stage renal disease.

And last, but not least, Medicare Advantage is going to have a new open enrollment period. In 2019 Medicare Advantage gets its own open enrollment period to begin January 1 and end March 31. Those already in an Advantage plan have a chance to swap plans to a different one or drop Medicare Advantage and go back to original Medicare. This open enrollment period is different from Medicare’s regular open enrollment that runs October 15 to December 7 each year.

Also, eligible Americans who prefer coverage under Medicare (Parts A, B, D) can choose between the original Medicare or Medicare Advantage with cost effective bundles (including prescriptions vision, dental, hearing that Medicare does not offer).

Be informed. These are your Medicare choices.

Posted on Tuesday, January 15th, 2019. Filed under Medicare.

Beware of Deceptive Medicare Marketing During Open Enrollment

Medicare shopping each year during open enrollment can be stressful. However, it does not have to be.

The biggest fear seniors have when shopping for Medicare options during open enrollment is the preponderance of scams, such as deceptive advertising and questionable sale offers. What information out there comes from reliable sources, such as Medicare or a reliable, legitimate insurance agent or broker? What information is from a scam or con artist that wants to steal money?

Whenever there are changes set to take place in Medicare plans and companion offerings, beneficiaries need to look for new plans or other options. This is usually the pivotal point where scam artists attempt to mislead beneficiaries. This year, open enrollment began October 15, 2018 and ran until December 7, 2018 and despite scam operations, the bulk of Medicare marketing has been legitimate. Consumers are relatively pleased about the plethora of Part D prescription drug plans that offer more options for them when combined with original Medicare.

To make sure you are on track and reading accurate, reliable information, go to an official website at medicare.gov. Using the official Medicare website, allows beneficiaries to avoid the possibility of being scammed by private website sites with similar addresses. An example would be instead of medicare.gov, a scammer could use medicare.com, medicare.net or medicare.org. The .gov designation is your guarantee that the information on the website is accurate and reliable.

Often scammers perpetrated their callers by stating they are agents who work for Medicare, or any ads that claim to offer plans endorsed or sponsored by Medicare. Scammers have been known to call Medicare recipients and say they work for Medicare and Medicare sponsored and/or endorsed plan. It is a good idea to just hang up and report such a call. Insurance companies and agent are not allowed to make unsolicited Medicare calls. If you are unsure, only use the official government Medicare website for Medicare plans.

It is also important to read the fine print on everything and take careful note of the appearance of the website you are visiting. Some sales materials and ads look like they come from Medicare, but really do not. If you find something that is misleading in appearance, it may also be misleading you about what it really offers.

The most important thing to remember when shopping for Medicare during open enrollment is to check the information you see. If you are not sure the information you received or found is accurate, check the government Medicare website. And, if you are still not sure about the veracity of what you are seeing, reading or hearing, call reliable insurance brokers who have the information you need at their fingertips.

Posted on Friday, January 11th, 2019. Filed under Medicare.

Are immigrants allowed to enroll in Medicare?

Residents of the United States, citizens and permanent residents, are eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A by demonstrating they have worked at least 10 years where Medicare payroll taxes were paid by them or their spouse and that they are at least 65 years old. New immigrants are not eligible for Medicare no matter how old or young they are. Immigrants must meet residency requirements and be eligible for enrollment just the same as other U.S. residents.

Legal immigrants that are 65 years of age or older and who do not have a work history may buy Medicare Part A provided they can prove they have legally lived in the country for five continuous years. Non-citizen permanent residents under the age of 65 and disabled may qualify for Medicare, but need to meet the same eligibility requirements as for Social Security Disability Income benefits. Those requirements stat that they must have paid Social Security taxes on income and have at least 5 to 10 years of work experience (to accumulate work credits).

If you have questions about your eligibility for Medicare, then contact a knowledgeable insurance agent right away.

Posted on Tuesday, January 8th, 2019. Filed under Medicare.

What changes can I make to my Medicare coverage during open enrollment?

During the regular Medicare Open Enrollment period, from October 15 to December 7, versus the new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment period starting in 2019, you can change pretty much whatever you wish in your plan, depending on the coverage you already have. For instance, you may change from traditional Medicare to Medicare Advantage or from Medicare Advantage to traditional Medicare.

With the new changes coming and the implementation of Medicare Advantage open enrollment in early 2019, you are likely to see more information that lets you know whether or not you can wait to enroll in the new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment period or proceed to enroll via the regular open enrollment period. Be sure to keep an eye on the new Medicare Advantage enrollment registration dates and then make an informed decision about what is best for you and your family.

Posted on Friday, January 4th, 2019. Filed under Medicare.