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Today’s Hot Topics in Medicare News

Among 2020 Democrats, a debate over ‘Medicare-for-all’

BY RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR: “Medicare-for-all” is quickly becoming a rallying cry for many Democratic White House hopefuls, but there are growing questions about how to pull off such a dramatic switch to a government-run health care system.

The debate over scrapping private insurers has heated up in recent days since Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California, a supporter of “Medicare-for-all,” told CNN’s Jake Tapper, “Who of us has not had that situation, where you’ve got to wait for approval, and the doctor says, well, I don’t know if your insurance company is going to cover this? Let’s eliminate all of that. Let’s move on.” (read more)

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There's never been an easy way for Medicare beneficiaries to save on services and products not covered by Medicare alone, until now.

Medicare Advantage Enrollment Surges For Centene And WellCare

BY BRUCE JAPSEN: Centene and WellCare Health Plans are the latest to report a surge in seniors signing up for private Medicare coverage administered by health insurers.

Centene and WellCare, which reported earnings Tuesday, have been expanding beyond their historic business lines dominated by administering Medicaid benefits for states into Medicare Advantage. Centene also has a large business offering subsidized individual coverage offered under the Affordable Care Act. (read more)

Medicare spending on healthcare for elderly dips, driven by better cardiovascular care

BY JEFF LAGASSE: Healthcare spending among the Medicare population age 65 and older has slowed dramatically since 2005, and as much as half of that reduction can be attributed to reduced spending on cardiovascular disease, a new Harvard study has found.

Led by Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics David Cutler, a team of researchers showed that by 2012, those reductions saved the average person nearly $3,000 a year. Across the entire elderly population, those savings add up to an impressive $120 billion, with about half of those savings coming from Medicare. (read more)

OPINION: Wealth tax. 70 percent rates. Medicare-for-all. Let’s take a breath.

BY STEVEN PEARLSTEIN: It’s still a year before the Iowa caucuses and already Democratic politicians are tripping over each other to frame the policy debate and demonstrate their progressive bona fides to party activists.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 29-year-old congresswoman from the Bronx and the media darling of the freshman class, opened the bidding by proposing a 70 percent tax rate on incomes above $10 million. In case anyone doubted her anti-capitalist leanings, her top policy adviser adopted a new Twitter handle, Every Billionaire Is A Policy Failure. (read more)

New Medicare Enrollment Application

BY RENEE DUSTMAN: There is a new version of the CMS-855I Medicare Enrollment Application, which physicians and non-physician practitioners may begin using immediately. Medicare Administrative Contractors will accept the previous version of the application (7/2011) through April 30, and then require you to use the new version (12/18).

What’s Changed?

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has made the following changes to the form “to reduce provider burden:” (read more)

The new Medicare Plus Card saves you up to 75% on things not covered by Medicare

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.

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