Medigap or Medicare Advantage: Which Should You Choose?

Those who are eligible for Medicare but aren’t fully satisfied with Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) alone are faced at a crossroads. One way leads to Medicare Advantage. The other to Medicare Supplement Insurance. The hope is that whichever one you choose will end at a destination booming with comprehensive and affordable health care. Continue reading “Medigap or Medicare Advantage: Which Should You Choose?” »

Frequently Asked Questions About Medicare

Almost every American over the age of 65 is covered by Medicare, or will be after they retire. However, there are a lot of aspects about this massive health insurance program that are not well understood by many people. With that in mind, here are a few things Americans often don’t know about Medicare and what you should know about each. Continue reading “Frequently Asked Questions About Medicare” »

12 Medicare Facts All Seniors Should Know

Medicare provides insurance coverage to 56 million Americans, yet many people don’t know everything they should know about this valuable program. Here are 12 important facts about Medicare that can help you make the most of your Medicare benefits. Continue reading “12 Medicare Facts All Seniors Should Know” »

What Does Medicare Cover for People With Diabetes?

For people with diabetes, Medicare Part B will cover blood glucose monitors, test strips, lancet devices, and lancets. In addition, glucose management solutions for those with diabetes are covered whether someone uses insulin or not.

Continue reading “What Does Medicare Cover for People With Diabetes?” »

Preventive Health Services Covered By 2017 Medicare Plans

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Does Medicare cover 100 % of all preventive health care screenings?

So you’re due to get a colonoscopy and a few other tests, but you want to find out if you’ll have to pay anything before you proceed.  You might be wondering, does Medicare cover these things?

Yes, Medicare Has Free Preventive Services

Medicare currently covers a wide array of free preventive and screening services to help you stay healthy, but not all services are completely covered.  You also need to be aware that the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) – which helps financially support Medicare – may very well cause these free preventive services to be eliminated in the future. But in the meantime, here’s how it works.

As of 2017, most of Medicare’s preventive services are available to all Part B beneficiaries for free, with no copays or deductibles, as long as you meet basic eligibility standards. Mammograms; colonoscopies; shots against flu, pneumonia, and hepatitis B; screenings for diabetes, depression, and heart conditions; and counseling to combat obesity, alcohol abuse, and smoking are just some of Medicare’s lengthy list of covered services. But to get these services for free, you need to go to a doctor who accepts Medicare “on assignment,” which means he or she has agreed to accept the Medicare approved rate as full payment.

Other Preventive Services May be Covered with a Medicare Supplement

Also, the tests are free only if they’re used at specified intervals. For example, prostate cancer PSA tests, once every 12 months for men over 50; or colonoscopy, once every 10 years, or every two years if you’re at high risk.

Medicare also offers a free “Welcome to Medicare” exam with your doctor in your first year, along with annual wellness visits thereafter. But don’t confuse these with full physical examinations. These are prevention-focused visits that provide only an overview of your health and medical risk factors and serve as a baseline for future care.

For a complete list of services along with their 2017 eligibility requirements, visit Medicare.gov and click on the “What Medicare Covers” tab at the top of the page, followed by “Preventive & screening services.”

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Watch Out For Hidden Cost For Preventive Services

You also need to know that while the previously listed Medicare services are completely free, you can be charged for certain diagnostic services or additional tests or procedures related to the preventive service. For example, if your doctor finds and removes a polyp during your preventive care colonoscopy screening, the removal of the polyp is considered diagnostic and you will likely be charged for it. Or, if during your annual wellness visit, your doctor needs to investigate or to treat a new or existing problem, you will probably be charged here too.

You may also have to pay a facility fee depending on where you receive the service. Certain hospitals, for example, will often charge separate facilities fees when you are receiving a preventive service. And, you can also be charged for a doctor’s visit if you meet with a physician before or after the service.

To eliminate billing surprises, talk to your doctor before any preventive service procedure to find out if you may be subject to a charge and what it would be.

Minimize Your Out-of-Pocket Cost

Medicare also offers several other preventive services that require some out-of-pocket cost sharing. With these tests, you’ll have to pay 20 percent of the cost of the service, after you’ve met your $183 Part B yearly deductible. The services that fall under this category include glaucoma screenings, diabetes self-management trainings, barium enemas to detect colon cancer, and digital rectal exams to detect prostate cancer.

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Preventive Services Might be Covered If You have a Medicare Advantage Plan

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, your plans are also required to cover the same free preventive services as original Medicare as long as you see in-network providers. If you see providers that are not in your plan’s network, charges will typically apply.

Original article written by Jim Miller.

Top Five States for Medicare Enrollment—What Does it Mean to Live There?

Over a third of Medicare enrollees live in just five states—California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Pennsylvania—and it would appear, with higher populations and seemingly more medical options for people to choose from, those states may offer Medicare enrollees some financial advantages or reduced costs. But is that really the case? Continue reading “Top Five States for Medicare Enrollment—What Does it Mean to Live There?” »

Get Your Copy of Medicare and You 2014

The Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP) / Annual Election Period (AEP) is an annual reminder to update your knowledge about Medicare so that you can make the most informed coverage choices going into the new year—and the newest edition of Medicare & You is one of the best resources at your disposal. Continue reading “Get Your Copy of Medicare and You 2014” »