BY THE FREE PRESS: Carroll County Prosecuting Attorney Steven D. Barnett warns the county’s senior citizens to be aware of the potential for scam phone calls asking seniors for their Medicare card numbers.
The Prosecutor reminds seniors that if they are on Medicare, their Medicare card number is their Social Security Number. In many cases, criminals have attempted to get your Medicare number over the phone by creative means to use it to gain access to your financial accounts and steal your identity,” said Barnett.
U.S. Department of Justice statistics show that people over age 65 lost over $2.6 million in 2014 alone from these types of scams. (read more)
BY HOWARD GLECKMAN: The Senate has quietly and unanimously passed a bill that would improve some Medicare benefits for people with chronic disease. The measure would do many good things but the most important is this: It would take important steps toward breaking down the wall between medical treatment and non-medical supports and services in Medicare, beginning a process that would make it much easier for frail seniors to receive the right care when they need it.
The bipartisan measure, called the called the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic Care (CHRONIC) Act of 2017, was sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and top committee Democrat Ron Wyden (D-OR) as well as panel members Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and John Warner (D-VA). It would give Medicare managed care plans new flexibility to better organize care and provide non-medical supports and services. It would also expand a temporary program aimed at providing team-based care at home for people with complex medical conditions, and increase the use of telehealth services. (read more)
BY JUDITH GRAHAM: Millions of seniors will soon be notified that Medicare premiums for physicians’ services are rising and likely to consume most of the cost-of-living adjustment they’ll receive next year from Social Security.
Higher 2018 premiums for Medicare Part B will hit older adults who’ve been shielded from significant cost increases for several years, including large numbers of low-income individuals who struggle to make ends meet. (read more)
BY BRONWYN MIXTER: Unique device identifiers should be added to Medicare claims so the costs of recalled or prematurely failed medical devices can be identified and tracked, a federal watchdog agency said.
The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General recommended adding the identifiers to Medicare claims in a report issued Oct. 2, because the costs of all recalled or prematurely failed devices can’t be determined using only data on current claims. The lack of information prevents the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services from fully understanding and addressing these costs, hindering its and the Food and Drug Administration’s ability to identify poorly performing devices as quickly as possible, the OIG said in the report, dated September 2017. (read more)
BY RACHEL ROUBEIN: The AARP is criticizing a provision of a bill to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program that would charge higher Medicare premiums to wealthy seniors.
“Not only is it wrong to continue to ask Medicare beneficiaries to shoulder the burden for non-Medicare expenditures, but it will make it harder to finance actual improvements and address long-term challenges in the Medicare program,” Joyce Rogers, the AARP senior vice president of government affairs, wrote in a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. (read more)
Medicare doesn’t cover everything. Luckily, those on Medicare can now start saving on out of pocket expenses like prescription drugs, dental, vision, hearing, and more. Over 1 million people have already received their free Medicare Plus Card.(Read More...)