Medicare Basics

  • Do You Qualify for a Special Enrollment Period?

    By on February 14, 2017

    Medicare’s Special Enrollment Periods – called “SEPs “ – allow you to leave your Medicare Advantage Plan or your Part D Prescription Drug Plan and enroll in a different plan, even if it is not during Medicare’s annual open enrollment period from Oct 15 – Dec 7 each year. This article explains a few...

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  • Medicare Counseling Session Saves Family Over $10,000 in Avoided Costs

    By on February 7, 2017

    Highlighted below is one of many such success stories of our state's Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (HICAP). In just one session, HICAP Counselor, John Lee of Contra Costa County counseled a woman becoming eligible for Medicare, looked at her father's coverage and helped her find a much less expensive plan for him...

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  • What’s New in Medicare for 2017?

    By on January 24, 2017

    Understand your Medicare Part B premium, deductible and Part D costs for 2017.

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  • The Hirono Amendment Aims to Protect Medicare & Medicaid

    By on January 11, 2017

    Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) created an amendment to protect Medicare and Medicaid. California Health Advocates and advocates across the country have signed on as co-sponsors to protect these programs from the reconciliation process by creating a budget point of order to prevent any changes to Medicare would that raise...

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  • New Medicare Rules Help Assure High-Need Patients Get Better Care

    By on January 5, 2017

    As of January 1, 2017, Medicare has new regulations in effect that will pay for much of physicians' previously uncompensated time in care coordination for high-need elderly patients. For example, under the new rules, physicians will be compensated for the extra team work involved in complex chronic care management, such as working with nurses,...

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  • Do You Know Your Medigap Guaranteed Issue Rights?

    By on December 27, 2016

    Medigap policies are a form of private supplemental insurance that pay for part or all of Medicare’s coinsurance and deductibles. Certain policies also cover health care costs that Medicare doesn’t cover, such as emergency medical care in foreign countries, and excess charges from a provider who does not accept assignment. Medigap policies do not restrict you to a network...

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  • Americans Demand Hands Off Medicare

    By on December 19, 2016

    Americans across the country are demanding our government to keep its "hands off Medicare". Just last week, seniors and activists delivered more than one million petition signatures demanding that President Elect Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) keep their hands off the American people’s earned Medicare...

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  • Why Privatizing Medicare is a Bad Deal & Strengthening It is the Way to Go

    By on December 12, 2016

    We full-heartedly agree with the Center for Medicare Advocacy (CMA) and other advocates across the country on strengthening traditional Medicare versus other proposals to privatize and weaken the program. Privatizing Medicare is a very bad deal for our country’s 55 million older & disabled people. Not only have we repeatedly seen that private Medicare...

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  • An Uncertain Future for Medicare ~ Interview with Bonnie Burns

    By on December 8, 2016

    A graduate journalism student, Annalisa Pardo, from New York’s NCC News at Syracuse University recently interviewed our Training and Policy Specialist, Bonnie Burns, on the uncertain future of Medicare. Below are Annalisa’s questions and Bonnie’s responses.   1. What are the pros of privatizing Medicare? I see no benefit to privatizing Medicare and oppose...

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  • What is MACRA? And How Does It Relate to Medicare’s Promise?

    By on December 6, 2016

    Have you heard the new acronym, MACRA? The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) passed with bipartisan support in April 2015 and it will fundamentally change the way our country evaluates and pays for healthcare. The law does many things, but most importantly it establishes new ways to pay physicians for caring...

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