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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Author Archive: David Sayen

Protect yourself against Medicare ‘gaps’

Your Original Medicare insurance covers a wide variety of health services, from flu shots to hospital stays to hospice care. But it doesn’t cover everything, and it doesn’t cover all your out-of-pocket costs. Many services covered by Original Medicare require co-payments, coinsurance and deductibles. You can purchase extra insurance to cover these “gaps” in Medicare. […]

It’s easy to sign up for Medicare

So you’re turning 65. Congratulations! It’s time to start taking advantage of your Medicare benefits. Just how do you do that? First, here’s a quick overview of the benefits: Medicare has four parts, A through D. Part A pays for hospitalization, and most eligible people don’t have to pay premiums for it. Part B covers […]

It’s easy to get Medicare info online

As we move into 2014, I wanted to give you a quick overview of the Medicare information you can now get online. Our website,, has a wealth of information that you may find helpful. One terrific feature is our Compare websites, which provide quality-of-care information on hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies and dialysis centers […]

How Medicare helps you stay healthy

You may have heard something lately about “preventive health care.” What does that mean? At its most basic, preventive health care means living a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet. Exercise regularly. Maintain a healthy weight. Stop smoking. Like anyone else, people with Medicare can benefit from healthy living habits. Medicare also covers a variety […]

2 ways to get Medicare benefits

Some people may not realize it, but there are actually two ways to get Medicare benefits. The best-known way is Original Medicare. With Original Medicare, you can choose any doctor, hospital or other health care provider you want, as long as they accept Medicare. When you receive medical services or goods, Medicare pays the provider […]

Time to review your Medicare coverage

Medicare’s annual open enrollment period has begun, and I want to encourage everyone with Medicare to review their current health and prescription drug coverage. Open enrollment runs through Dec. 7, 2013. If you want to change your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan, this is the time of year to do it. […]

If you have Medicare, don’t worry about the new Health Insurance Marketplace

Some people with Medicare are asking lately if their Medicare coverage is affected by the new the Health Insurance Marketplace that starts in 2014. The answer is no – the Marketplace won’t have any effect on your Medicare coverage. The Health Insurance Marketplace is designed to help people who don’t have any health insurance. You […]

How Medicare covers ambulance services

I certainly hope you never need an ambulance, but at some point you may have to take one during a medical emergency. If you have Original Medicare, your Part B (medical insurance) covers ambulance services to or from a hospital, critical-access hospital or skilled nursing facility only when other transportation could endanger your health. In […]

What home health services does Medicare cover?

Medicare covers a variety of heath care services that you can receive in the comfort and privacy of your home. These include intermittent skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech-language pathology services and occupational therapy. Such services used to be available only at a hospital or doctor’s office. But they’re just as effective, more convenient and […]

Inpatient or outpatient? It makes a difference with Medicare

When you go to a hospital, does it make any difference if you’re considered an “inpatient” or an “outpatient?” Yes, it does. Your hospital status (whether the hospital classifies you as an inpatient or outpatient) affects how much you pay for hospital services like X-rays, drugs and lab tests. It also may affect whether Medicare will […]

Some doctors don’t take Medicare

What does it mean when a doctor tells you he or she has “opted out” of Medicare? An opt-out doctor is one who doesn’t accept Medicare. Doctors who have opted out of Medicare can charge their Medicare patients whatever fees the physicians choose. These doctors don’t submit any health care claims to Medicare. In addition, […]

How Medicare is improving coordination of your care

If two mechanics are working on your car, but they’re not talking to one another, the results may not be so good. Likewise, if a baseball coach doesn’t communicate well with his players, he’s not likely to win as many games as he could. Good coordination can improve outcomes in all sorts of human activities. […]

Get what you need from your Medicare drug plan

Is there anything you can do if your Medicare prescription drug (Part D) plan refuses to pay for a drug you need? What if you think you shouldn’t be paying as much for a certain drug? In both of these cases, you as a Medicare beneficiary have the right to formally request that your Part […]

Coming soon: A new way to buy health insurance

When key parts of the health care law take effect in 2014, you’ll have a new way to buy health insurance for yourself, your family or your small business: the Health Insurance Marketplace. The Marketplace is designed to help you find health insurance that fits your budget, with less hassle. Every health insurance plan in […]

Here’s how Medicare works with other insurance

You may have wondered how Medicare works with other insurance coverage, such as a group health plan from a former employer or union. It’s an important issue because it determines whether your medical bills are paid correctly and on time. If you have Medicare and other insurance, always be sure to tell your doctor, hospital […]

What’s new in Medicare for 2013

The Affordable Care Act strengthened Medicare in important ways. Signed in 2010, the federal health law already has provided free preventive health benefits to millions of people with Medicare, and saved billions of dollars for those who hit the gap in their Part D prescription drug coverage. In 2013, discounts on prescription drugs for people […]

Get a flu shot, not the flu

There’s still time to protect yourself against the flu by getting your flu vaccine before flu season hits full force. Medicare covers the flu vaccination, along with many other preventive-health services. People with Medicare can get the flu shot at no cost to them. There’s no coinsurance, copayment or deductible. Keep in mind that the […]

Take advantage of Medicare open enrollment

Medicare is stronger than ever, with more benefits, better choices and lower costs to beneficiaries. Expanded Medicare benefits under the health care law (the Affordable Care Act) continue to be available – including certain free preventive benefits, cancer screenings and an annual wellness visit. Whether you choose Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, take […]

Get answers to your Medicare questions

Health insurance isn’t the easiest thing to understand. But if you have Medicare, there’s a variety of help resources you can turn to. One is Medicare’s toll-free help line, 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227). Trained representatives are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year to answer your questions about your Medicare coverage. All people with Medicare […]

Tools help you pick the right hospital

If you’re having a medical emergency, the best thing you can do is get to the nearest hospital. But if you need nonemergency treatment, and you have time to plan, how do you find a hospital that best fits your needs? A good place to start is the Medicare website. There you’ll find an easy-to-use […]

Know your Medicare rights

As a person with Medicare, you have certain rights and protections. And it’s worth knowing what they are. You have rights whether you’re enrolled in Original Medicare — in which you can choose any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare — or Medicare Advantage, in which you get care within a network of health care […]

Medicare covers kidney disease

A diagnosis of kidney failure could be a real shock. And it’s becoming more common as the number of Americans with diabetes and high blood pressure grows. But even with this serious diagnosis you can survive and move on. Medicare can help. The program helps pay for kidney dialysis as well as kidney transplants. Chronic […]

What Medicare covers in the hospital

One of Medicare’s most important benefits is helping to cover your expenses if you need to be hospitalized. But what exactly is covered, and how much do you pay? Medicare helps cover certain medical services and supplies in hospitals. To get the full range of benefits, you must have both Medicare Part A, which is […]

How Medicare covers hospice care

Coping with terminal illness can be very difficult, both for the patient and his or her loved ones. That’s why I wanted to tell you about Medicare’s coverage for hospice care and how it works. Hospice is a program of care and support for people who are terminally ill. The focus is on comfort, not […]

What the health reform law does for Medicare

We hear a lot of back and forth these days about the Affordable Care Act — aka the federal health reform law — but not much about how it affects people with Medicare. When you sort through all the rhetoric, one thing is clear: The 2-year-old reform law contains some real benefits for those who get […]

Reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke

Heart disease and stroke have reached epidemic levels in our country. Heart disease is the leading killer of Americans; stroke is the fourth-leading killer. One of every three deaths in this county is caused by cardiovascular disease. That’s why Medicare is helping to lead the Million Hearts campaign, a national initiative that aims to prevent […]

Getting Medicare covered health services at home

Medicare covers a variety of heath care services that you can receive in the comfort and privacy of your home. These include intermittent skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech-language pathology services and occupational therapy. Such services used to be available only at a hospital or doctor’s office. But they’re just as effective, more convenient and […]

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