Today in Medicare

Medicare decision problems

How to maintain business (and your sanity) during the Medicare election period

BY ELIE HARRIETT: The Medicare annual election period is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 of each year. During that period, every American enrolled in Medicare has an opportunity to enroll in, or change, their prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan. Like every other year, the importance of revisiting a plan cannot be understated. (read more)

Related: Medicare Advantage: A Spotlight

Everyone with Medicare has rights, protections

BY BOB MOOS: Remember how you learned back in your high school civics class that you have certain rights as an American? As we all know, those individual rights make up the first 10 amendments to our Constitution. But now that you’re older, you may not realize you also have certain rights as a Medicare beneficiary(read more)

Related: The Medicare Claims and Appeals Process

Medicare proposal to better align payments deserves broad support

BY RANDY BROUN: When it comes to healthcare services, many Americans assume that the government pays for healthcare the same way consumers pay for products in the retail setting. A consumer buying a bag of chips at Grocery Store A would expect to pay a comparable price for that exact same bag of chips at Grocery Story B three blocks away. In most cases, this would be true.

The same cannot be said for America’s health care system. Under current payment policies, a Medicare patient pays dramatically different costs for the exact same outpatient procedures delivered in different settings. For the administration of chemotherapy drugs, for example, the current Medicare payment to a hospital outpatient facility is more than double the rate paid to a community cancer clinic ($137 vs. $281). And, since Medicare patients are responsible for a portion of these charges, this disparity results in higher out of pocket costs for Medicare patients. (read more)

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