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More Things to Know About Your New Medicare Card

Even though your new Medicare cards have a specific new number, unique only to you, and you think no one could ever be able to use it, be wary. There is a lot of Medicare fraud in the United States.

To avoid any potential problems with your new card, only give the new Medicare Number to insurers, pharmacists, physicians and other health care providers that you know are medical personnel. People you know and trust with your card.

Forget your card at home? It happens. You, another health care provider or your doctor’s office may be able to look your new number up online.

Use your new Medicare cards right away and destroy the old one. However, if you do not have your new card yet, you may still use the old one until January 1, 2020. If you do not have your card, write, call or long into and find out if it was sent to the right address.

Posted on Thursday, February 28th, 2019. Filed under Medicare.

New Political Landscape May Result in Medicare Negotiating Drug Prices

Given the uncertain political climate, any new proposed legislation may or may not come to pass. Just recently a bill was introduced that could let Medicare negotiate lower drug prices.

House Democratic members and one Republican indicate that if it can be passed, the bill would provide more power to the Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary to regulate Part D of Medicare. Part D covers drugs America’s seniors get. While some politicians seem to favor this kind of a move Big Pharma vigorously opposes it as do many Republicans. Right now, private insurers and pharmacy benefits managers do the drug price negotiating.

The rationale behind negotiating prescription drug prices for the over 43 million Medicare Part D beneficiaries is because it is one of the best methods to lower medication costs and open the door wider for seniors to get the medications they need at reasonable prices. The idea of letting another body negotiate drug prices is not new. There is a similar program run by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. According to a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform report if the government negotiated drug prices, it would potentially cut government spending by $156 billion over a ten-year period.

Another analysis of drug pricing in the U.S., compiled by Rx Savings Solutions, found that over 36 drug manufacturers raised drug prices on hundreds of medications by an average of 6.3 percent.

Trump tweeted his frustrations about drug hikes this weekend, saying that companies “were not living up to their commitments” on pricing. The comments followed an analysis by Rx Savings Solutions that found more than three dozen drugmakers raised the prices on hundreds of medicines in the U.S., for an average increase of 6.3 percent. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), says the analysis “flawed and inaccurate.”

There are a number of other suggestions on the table on how to reduce the price of drugs, such as letting Medicare Part B negotiate prices, moving to approve a larger number of less expensive generic drugs and having drug companies post their drug prices in commercials aired on T.V.

Posted on Wednesday, February 27th, 2019. Filed under Medicare.

Things to Know About Your New Medicare Card

The new Medicare cards have a number on them that is unique to ONLY you. They no longer have your social security number on them. This new change helps to protect your identity.

The new Medicare cards are also paper, and this makes it easier for medical care providers to use and to copy if needed.

If you happen to be in a Medicare Advantage plan, the ID card is your primary Medicare card. Use it whenever you need medical care. Have a Medicare drug plan? Then plan to keep that that card on hand too. And while it may seem like a lot of cards to keep track of, it’s important that you carry the ones you need the most in case of a medical emergency or even just a trip to see a new doctor.

Posted on Tuesday, February 19th, 2019. Filed under Medicare.

The New Medicare Cards Should Have Arrived By Now

Most, if not all Americans, should have their new Medicare cards. Now is the time to start using it and to cut up or shred your old card.

Don’t have your new card yet? Hunt about the house for older or perhaps unopened mail. You may have missed it when it arrived, thinking it was something else. The new cards are in a plain white envelope and are from the Department of Health and Human Services. If you don’t have any luck finding it, the next thing you can try is signing into to get your number. You can create an account if you do not have one yet.

If that does not work for you, try calling 1-800-633-4227 and check to see if your card was sent to the correct address. You can also call and ask your doctor’s office if they can look up the new number for you. If all else fails until you can get your new card, you can still use your current Medicare card until January 1, 2020.

Posted on Friday, February 15th, 2019. Filed under Medicare.

Medicare Advantage, Medigap Beneficiaries Lose Fitness Program Built into Health Insurance

A fitness program once embedded into Medicare Advantage is no longer available. The loss of this program concerns many seniors who used it to stay fit and healthy, allowing them to age in place.

UnitedHealthcare ceased offering the program as of January 1, 2019, upsetting over 2 million beneficiaries using it. That said they also replaced it with their own fitness program that may be more innovative and flexible.

According to UnitedHealthcare, people enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans with the company can now take advantage of “Renew Active.” The main reason the company opted to bring in their own health/fitness program is that they are able to offer more customized programs based on what members want. UnitedHealthcare’s program offers wellness coaches, incentive programs for achieving walking goals and even online exercises. Taken as a whole or in part, the new approach hopes to help seniors improve the quality of their life and health.

Renew Active comes at zero additional cost to those enrolled in eligible UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans and it offers access to over more than 6,000 fitness locations locally, regionally and nationally for “no” additional cost.

Perhaps the most unique option about Renew Active is that seniors have the choice of an in-person fitness orientation plus the benefit of a standard membership at participating fitness locations. This opens the door to the ability to be able to use more amenities, a wider range of fitness equipment and also be able to get into group exercise classes.

It is good news for seniors wishing to stay fit and active that Renew Active does not cost them extra at a time in their life when finances are typically sparse. With the wide range of fitness choices now offered, seniors are likely to find that they have access to just about any program that they are interested in.

Posted on Wednesday, February 13th, 2019. Filed under Medicare.

Working Past the Age of 65 – Good or Bad?

These days there are more and more seniors opting to work well past the “usual” retirement age of 65 – the magic number for Medicare eligibility. Perhaps you plan to work well into your 70’s. So what do you do about Medicare? Do you sign up for it? Good question.

The answer to that question depends on how many people work where you do. In other words the size of your employer is important to note. Why? Because there are laws that state that companies with at least 20 workers are prohibited from offering older workers different health benefits than everyone else gets. Basically, that means it’s your choice whether or not to continue with the coverage you get at work, or enrol in Medicare.

Before making any decisions, do your homework and speak to a knowledgeable insurance agent who can lay out all your options and allow you to make an informed decision.

Posted on Tuesday, February 12th, 2019. Filed under Medicare.