Today in Medicare

scam alert Medicare

BBB warns of new twist in Medicare scam

BY EMILY VALLA: Scammers often target seniors by pretending to be representatives of insurance companies or health care companies. Recently, the Better Business Bureau is seeing a new twist on this classic con: calls from “Medicare” claiming to have your new back brace.

Here’s how the scam works. You pick up the phone, and it’s someone pretending to be a Medicare representative. From there, the con has two typical patterns. (read more)

Why Medicare and Medicaid can outmatch private plans on cost

BY AUSTIN FRAKT: Both Medicare and Medicaid pay lower prices to health care providers compared with private market plans offered by employers and in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. On that basis, you might think these public programs are more cost-efficient. Are they?

Imagine that I take my car to the cheapest mechanic in town, while you take yours to the most expensive. My repairs, though costing less, don’t always fix the problem or last as long. You get what you pay for.

Let’s take a look at whether something similar is happening with public health programs.(read more)

Big changes expected in many 2018 Medicare Advantage plans

BY WALECIA KONRAD: As if there isn’t enough to worry about when it comes to finding health insurance, add this item to the list: Medicare Advantage.

Changes in plan structures and a dearth of insurers in rural areas may leave consumers with fewer choices and more confusion in the upcoming Medicare open enrollment period, which begins October 15.

Medicare Advantage plans, offered by private insurers, provide traditional Medicare coverage and often offer additional benefits such as dental, vision and Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. Premiums, deductibles and co-pays vary significantly from plan to plan, so comparing costs and coverage each year — even if you are already enrolled — is critical. (read more)

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