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Most Older Americans Fail on Medicare Basics

BY MAURIE BACKMAN: Millions of seniors rely on Medicare for health coverage in retirement, but new data tells us that a frightening number of older Americans are alarmingly clueless when it comes to some of the program’s basic rules. In a recent MassMutual quiz distributed among older adults aged 60 to 64, 65% failed to answer most questions correctly.

Specifically, 42% of older workers thought that both Medicare Parts A and B are free. Additionally, 37% thought that filing for Medicare and Social Security together was a requirement. And 34% didn’t know that Medicare won’t pay for health coverage outside of the U.S. (read more)

This ACO saved Medicare $5.6 million. Here’s why that’s a ‘big deal’

BY MEREDITH NEWMAN: Four years ago, Dr. William Funk attended a meeting one night after work to learn about something called Aledade. 

It was a health care start-up that had a simple, yet intriguing pitch for Delaware primary care doctors: Be a part of a group that reduces the cost of health care while improving patients’ quality of care. 

Funk was only one of 10 doctors to attend. He signed up the next day, becoming the first of 60 independent physicians to do so. (read more)

OPINION: Universal healthcare was unthinkable in America, but not any more

BY ADAM GAFFNEY: Barack Obama dropped a bombshell into the healthcare debate roiling the Democratic party last Friday. “Democrats aren’t just running on good old ideas like a higher minimum wage,” he said, “they’re running on good new ideas, like Medicare for All …” His endorsement made headlines, and for a good reason: until recently, real universal healthcare had long resided on the margins of the American political discourse. Obama’s announcement, then, was yet one more indication that this idea – also called single-payer healthcare – had migrated to the mainstream. The shift is an encouraging development for proponents, to be sure, but there is also cause for caution: as history shows, formidable political obstacles and pitfalls lie ahead. (read more)

Can I Get on Medicare as Soon as I Retire?

BY MAURIE BACKMAN: Millions of seniors rely on Medicare to pay for their health-related needs. But many near-retirees make one dangerous assumption: that they’ll be eligible for Medicare coverage the moment they leave the workforce.

If you’re wondering whether you can get on Medicare as soon as you retire, the answer is that it depends on when you decide to bring your career to a close. Pull the trigger too early, and you’ll be on your own for healthcare until Medicare eligibility sets in.

When does Medicare start?

Medicare eligibility begins at age 65, so if you retire at that age or later, you’ll have coverage immediately provided you enroll in advance. You actually get a seven-month period to sign up for Medicare that begins three months before the month of your 65th birthday and ends three months after the month in which you turn 65. Therefore, if you’re planning to retire at 65 on the nose, you can sign up for Medicare beforehand and get covered as soon as you leave your employer. (read more)

Can Paying for a Health Problem as a Whole, Not Piece by Piece, Save Medicare Money?

BY AUSTIN FRAKT: Among the standard complaints about the American health care system is that care is expensive and wasteful. These two problems are related, and to address them, Medicare has new ways to pay for care.

Until recently, Medicare paid for each health care service and reimbursed each health care organization separately. It didn’t matter if tests were duplicated or if a more efficient way of delivering care was available — as long as doctors and organizations were paid for what they did, they just kept providing care the way they always had. (read more)


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