Read about topics to help you age well, enjoy your retirement years, and navigate the intricacies of Medicare and Social Security.
Every Medicare recipient wants to understand their costs, especially when they go up each year. On November 6, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its price increases for 2021. Here are four Medicare cost increases taking effect January 1, 2021 that you need to be aware of and understand.
The cost increase Medicare recipients are most interested in is Part B's monthly premium. For 2021, the base rate is increasing from $144.60 in 2020 to $148.50 in 2021. This is an increase of 2.6%, and only increases the Part B premium by $3.90 per month. But if you're retired and on a fixed income, such as Social Security (which is only increasing 1.3% in 2021), this is probably not a welcome increase.
If you earn over $88,000 per year as a single, or $176,000 for married filing jointly, rates are going up based on your income level, as shown in the table below.
Medicare and Medicaid sound similar, but they're actually very different. Each provides different types of assistance to help with healthcare. Both are government programs, but they are very different. Medicare is provided by the federal government (the Social Security Administration). Medicaid is provided by state governments and varies from state to state. Medicare is available to anyone age 65 and older who has worked at least 10 years in the U.S., and at any age to people with disabilities. Medicaid is only available to people with limited income and assets.
Let's look at the other differences.
Medicare is federal healthcare insurance for people 65 years of age or older. You can get Medicare under age 65 if you have a qualifying disability, including end stage renal disease (ESRD) or ALS. Medicare covers inpatient or hospital care (Part A), outpatient services (Part B), and prescription drugs (Part D). Other plans, such as Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Medigap are...
Have you visited Medicare's web page for finding and comparing nursing homes? You can enter a ZIP code, city and state, or just a state to find nursing homes and compare their ratings for health inspections, staffing, and quality measures. If you're lookig for a nursing home for yourself or a loved one, this information is extremely helpful.
But with COVID-19 and the pandemic, there are more reasons wto be concerned about nursing homes. many of the most serious COVID-19 outbreaks have been in care facilities. This means that new tools are needed to determine which care facilities have not only the best ratings, but also have the fewest COVID-19 cases.
In early June 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS, or CMS.gov) started posting its first set of underlying COVID-19 data for nursing homes. This is part of their effort to require nursing homes to inform residents and their families of COVID-19 cases in their...
Aging Energized has released a new eBook, Medicare Basics. Unlike many Medicare books currently available, this book is current with 2020 Medicare information. It starts at the beginning and works through the basic information you need to know about Medicare. After a short overview of Medicare's parts, you learn the details of when you need to sign up. This information alone is worth the price of the book, because it can save you from the late penalties that can become part of your Medicare premium for the rest of your life if you sign up for Medicare late.
The book then goes on to explain each of Medicare's parts in detail. This empowers you to choose the best Medicare plans for your personal situation.
Throughout the book, recommendations and guidance are provided to help you understand how information pertains to you. Examples and a case study are used to communicate key points. The closing chapters go into detail about different scenarios for what plans a person might choose and...
There's no doubt that by now you've heard about the Coronavirus (which is officially called "2019 Novel Coroavirus" or "COVID-19"). Medicare recently released a statement saying that Medicare Part B (medical insurance) covers a test to see if you have Coronavirus.
To get the test, your doctor or health care provider must order it. The availability of tests at this time is limited, however, and varies depending on your location. This is expected to change in the next days and weeks. Be sure to check with your health care provider for information if you feel that you need to be tested.
Here are the details of what Medicare covers for Coronavirus:
Medicare Advantage vs. Medigap. There are actually three choices to contemplate but this quickly resolves down to these two primary choices.
When you sign for Medicare at age 65, you first sign up for Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (outpatient and physician insurance). For most people Part A is free and Part B is reasonably priced at $144.60 per month in 2020. You could stop here with this basic coverage and not purchase any additional health insurance. This is not advised, but you could.
The three choices to contemplate are:
We don't advise that you choose option 1, original Medicare with no additional supplement coverage. Why? Because the out-of-pocket expenses, at 20% of total...
When you go to https://medicare.gov to sign up for Medicare Part A and Part B (original Medicare), you may not realize that the first thing you will do is to create an account with the Social Security Administration . . . even if you're not planning on collecting Social Security yet. It's a little confusing, so we want to clarify the difference between your Social Security account and your Medicare account. Each serves a different, but very important, purpose.
When you go to https://medicare.gov and click on a link to sign up for Medicare, the link opens a Social Security Administration web page. This page begins the process of creating a Social Security account. The online form collects all the necessary information for your Medicare Part A application. You can also create your Social Security account by calling or visiting the Social Security Administration.
After the Social Security Administration receives your application, they review it. If they...
Based on discussions and feedback from many people, we have compiled the list of key questions people want answers to when they set out to investigate and learn more about Medicare:
We have answers to these questions, and much more, in our Medicare Basics course.
Once you sign up for Medicare, everyone receives a free medical exam. It's called your Welcome to Medicare exam or visit.
The primary purpose of this visit is to give your Medicare doctor insight into your current health and to establish a baseline for future care.
Here are some key things to know about this particular doctor visit:
Here are some things to expect during the exam. The doctor will:
The doctor will want to know if you are up to date on health screenings such as mammograms, colonoscopies, prostate exams, and others.
This visit is NOT an in-depth, comprehensive, full-body work-up physical that includes a body...
On January 8, 2020, Medicare Rights Center President Fred Riccardi testified at a hearing of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health titled “Legislation to Improve Americans’ Health Care Coverage and Outcomes.”
In the testimony, Medicare Rights urged Congress to pass the bipartisan, bicameral Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act (H.R. 2477) without delay.
The BENES Act is urgently needed to modernize and simplify the Medicare Part B enrollment process. Currently, far too many people make honest mistakes when trying to understand and navigate this confusing system. The consequences of such missteps are significant—including late enrollment penalties, higher out-of-pocket health care costs, gaps in coverage, and barriers to accessing needed services.
Unfortunately, many people do make mistakes. Year after year, among the most frequent calls to the National Consumer Helpline are...