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Medicare

Medicare 101 Made Easy

Learn About Medicare

If you will be entering the Medicare program or have been on Medicare already and would like to use your benefits, it can be over whelming.

Deciding when do I apply for Part A, Part B, Part C & Part D.

What does it all mean? Your choices about your health care is very important and to make an educated decision can be confusing.

Come to explore what your options may be and get answers to questions you may have. There are several meetings scheduled.

Events

Saturday, October 12th – 11am to 12pm

Ridgefield Public Library
527 More Avenue
Ridgefield, NJ 07657

Thursday, October 17th – 1:30pm to 2:30pm

Saddle Brook Library
340 Mayhill Street
Saddle Brook, NJ 07663

Saturday, October 26th – 4pm to 5pm

Hawthorne Public Library
345 Lafayette Avenue
Hawthorne, NJ 07506

Saturday, November 2nd – 11am to 12pm

Ridgefield Public Library
527 More Avenue
Ridgefield, NJ 07657

Saturday, November 30th – 11am to 12pm

Hawthorne Public Library
345 Lafayette Avenue
Hawthorne, NJ 07506

Download The Event Times Here

Fraud Alert – Genetic Testing Medicare Scam

Have you heard about the latest scam? Scammers are offering “free” genetic tests and claiming Medicare will cover it — so they can get your Medicare Number and use it to commit fraud and identity theft. They’re targeting people through telemarketing calls, health fairs, and even knocking on doors.

Only a doctor you know and trust should order and approve any requests for genetic testing. If Medicare is billed for a test or screening that wasn’t medically necessary and/or wasn’t ordered by your doctor, the claim could be denied. That means you could be responsible for the entire cost of the test, which could be thousands of dollars.

Learn more here

Re-admissions penalty doing little to slow the spinning of hospitals’ revolving doors

Author of original content: Jeff Lagasse
Original article found here.

Every American hospital has two front doors: The real one, and an imaginary revolving door. Any patient who winds up back in the hospital within a few weeks of getting out travels through that imaginary door, and the more of them there are, the more money the hospital stands to lose from the Medicare system.

This readmission penalty aims to spur hospitals to prevent unnecessary costly care, but a new study shows that after several years of rapid improvements in re-admissions, the readmission penalty program may be spinning its wheels more than it’s slowing the spinning of the revolving hospital door.

Writing in the journal Health Affairs, a team from the University of Michigan reported findings from their analysis of data from nearly 2.5 million Medicare patients. They focused on those who had hip or knee replacement surgery before and after penalties affecting these operations were announced.

The study shows the readmission rate for these patients had already started dropping by the time the idea of readmission penalties was announced as part of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Soon after that, the re-admissions rate for these surgical patients started dropping faster — even though the penalties announced in the ACA did not apply to surgical patients.

The rate kept dropping rapidly for several years — even though hospitals weren’t getting penalized yet for hip and knee replacement-related re-admissions. But that improvement started to slow down.

After the government announced in late 2013 that penalties would expand to hip and knee replacement, the rate of re-admissions for these patients kept dropping, but at nearly half the rate. In other words, improvements in surgical re-admissions slowed to the same pace they had before any penalties were announced in 2010.

WHAT’S THE IMPACT

At the same time the readmission rates were changing, the average cost of caring for a Medicare hip or knee replacement patient did too, the study showed. In fact, it dropped by more than $3,000 from 2008 to 2016.

And hip and knee patients’ chance of heading home from the hospital, rather than to a skilled nursing facility or other setting, has increased over that time. So has the likelihood that they will have assistance from a home health aide when they get home.

The authors contend that the same efforts that hospitals may have launched to prevent readmission of medical patients may have extended to these surgical patients. These might include care coordination programs and phone check-ins with recently discharged patients, or better patient education about home care or changes to their medications.

The Hospital Readmission Reduction Program, or HRRP, still carries large penalties — up to 3% of what a hospital earns for certain Medicare patients. It has also expanded to include more conditions, including heart bypass surgery and more types of pneumonia, including those with sepsis.

But researchers say that adding more conditions to the program is not likely to result in much more readmission prevention or cost savings.

In the end, some re-admissions are inevitable, they said, and trying to drive rates lower through penalties may mean some patients who should have been readmitted won’t be.

Instead, the authors suggest that more use of bundled payments — where Medicare sets a defined amount of money it will pay for the episode of care surrounding a surgical patient’s operation — could produce better results. This is because bundled payments ensure hospitals focus on costs and complications around the entire episode of care, not just one metric like re-admissions.

THE LARGER TREND

There’s been ongoing debate regarding the equity of the HRRP. For example, safety net hospitals have long held they are unfairly penalized for their readmission rates under HRRP’s current performance model because it doesn’t account for social risk factors that put these patients at risk for readmission.

Medicare Part B Fairness Act Introduced

Representatives Katie Hill (D-CA-25) and Brian Babin (R-TX-36) recently introduced The Medicare Part B Fairness Act (H.R. 1788). The bill would limit the amount and duration of the Part B Late Enrollment Penalty (LEP). As well as expand the Special Enrollment Period for people with employer-sponsored coverage to other types of pre-Medicare coverage.

To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to limit the penalty for late enrollment under part B of the Medicare Program to 15 percent and twice the period of no enrollment, and to exclude periods of COBRA, retiree, and VA coverage from such late enrollment penalty.

Bills Introduced to Protect Medicare Beneficiaries from Observation Status Coverage Gap

Last week, bipartisan, bicameral legislation was introduced to ensure all Medicare beneficiaries who spend three days or more in a hospital can access post-acute care in a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) when they need it. Currently, Medicare can deny SNF coverage following a hospital stay classified as outpatient observation rather than inpatient. The Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2019 (H.R. 1682S.753) would protect beneficiaries from surprise bills for skilled nursing care by counting time they spend in observation status toward Medicare’s three-day stay requirement. Are you hospital inpatient or outpatient?

Click here to see the PDF

How to find and compare hospitals

When you’re comparing hospitals, look for one that:

  • Has the best experience with your condition.
  • Participates in Medicare and is covered by your health plan.
  • Checks and improves the quality of its care.
  • Performs well on quality measures, including a national patient survey.
  • Meets your needs in terms of location.

Click link – View Medicare Website

 

Learn About Medicare Parts A, B, C & D

Join us at Louis Bay public library in Hawthorne, NJ. Bring your questions and thoughts. Free event Saturday, March 23rd, starts @ 11 AM.

If you will be entering the Medicare program and would like to use your benefits, it can be over whelming. Deciding when do I apply for Part A, Part B & Part D.

Your choices about your health care coverage is very important and to make an educated decision can be confusing. Come to explore what your options are and get your questions answered.

Medicare 101 Parts ABCD

Confused About Medicare?

Call us , we will be able to help you learn & understand the basics of Medicare, compare Medicare plans,  and how it coordinates with other coverage. New to Medicare

If you have enrolled with Medicare already and beginning to receive information about the changes of your current plan, call us to discuss next year’s options.

We can also review your options  and choose  the right plan for you. If you are just starting your Medicare now or looking into a future date.

We can sit down for further discussion, call for an appointment, Now! 201-644-8502

Ten Things to Know About Your New Medicare Card

10 things to know about your new Medicare card
Medicare is mailing new Medicare cards started in April 2018. Here are 10 things to know about
your new Medicare card:

1. Mailing takes time: Your card may arrive at
a different time than your friend’s or neighbor’s.

2. Destroy your old Medicare card: Once you get your new Medicare card, destroy your old Medicare
card and start using your new card right away.

3. Guard your card: Only give your new Medicare Number to doctors, pharmacists, other health care
providers, your insurers, or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf.

4. Your Medicare Number is unique: Your card has a new number instead of your Social Security
Number. This new number is unique to you.

5. Your new card is paper: Paper cards are easier for many providers to use and copy, and they save
taxpayers a lot of money. Plus, you can print your own replacement card if you need one!

6. Keep your new card with you: Carry your new card and show it to your health care providers when
you need care.

7. Your doctor knows it’s coming: Doctors,
other health care facilities and providers will ask for your new Medicare card when you need care.

8. You can find your number: If you forget your new card, you, your doctor or other health care
provider may be able to look up your Medicare Number online.

9. Keep your Medicare Advantage Card: If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO),
your Medicare Advantage
Plan ID card is your main card for Medicare – you should still keep and use it whenever you need
care. However, you also may be asked to show your new Medicare card, so you should carry this card
too.

10. Help is available: If you don’t get your new Medicare card by April 2019, call 1-800-MEDICARE
(1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.
You have the right to get Medicare information in an accessible format, like large print, Braille,
or audio. You also have the right to file a complaint if you feel you’ve been discriminated
against. Visit CMS.gov/about-cms/agency-information/aboutwebsite/ cmsnondiscriminationnotice.html,
or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for more

All people with Medicare are getting new Medicare cards. These new cards have a new Medicare Number that’s unique to each person with Medicare, instead of their Social Security Number.

When should I get it?

Medicare has started mailing cards to certain states and will continue mailing nationwide. Your new card will automatically come to you. You don’t need to do anything as long as your address is up to date. If you need to update your address, visit your mySocial Security account.

Sign up to get an email when your card mails.

Who sends it?

Medicare

What should I do when I get this card?

  • Destroy your old Medicare card and start using your new card right away. Your Medicare coverage and benefits stay the same.
  • Keep using your Medicare Advantage Plan ID card if you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan, like an HMO or PPO.
  • Carry your new Medicare card with you. Doctors, other health care providers, and facilities know it’s coming and will ask you for it.

Download a sample letter

New Medicare Card letter [PDF, 793 KB]