Bill Would Cover More Medicare Patients for Skilled Nursing Care

A congressman is expressing confidence that a bill he sponsored – to fix a problem faced by many Medicare patients who are left without coverage for skilled nursing care – will pass this year. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., who introduced the bill with Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, told reporters in a conference call that the legislation has picked up 137 cosponsors. “This is not happening in a vacuum,” Courtney said, according to the Connecticut Mirror. “It’s happening because there is …

Are You in the Hospital or Not?

If you think you are having a stroke, you’ll probably go to the nearest ER. But will the hospital admit you? After you have been checked into the ER, the doctor may instead put you under “observation,” especially if it is unclear whether you have had a stroke, a fainting spell or something else. What is observation status? It’s an outpatient designation used to monitor patients during periods of medical uncertainty. Rather than being formally admitted as inpatients, patients in …

Medicare Premiums Stay Level

Medicare premiums will stay at their current levels next year. While the Affordable Care Act has made sweeping changes in the nation’s health care system, the monthly premium for Medicare Part B, which covers doctor visits and most types of outpatient services, will stay at $104.90 in 2014, with the deductible also unchanged, at $147. >> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter. Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), called that “good news …

More Doctors Accepting New Medicare Patients

It’s getting easier – not more difficult – to find doctors who take Medicare, according to a new study by the Department of Health and Human Services. Doctors have long complained about Medicare’s payment caps and the instability of a reimbursement system that forces cuts each year unless Congress intervenes to prevent them. Nonetheless, the HHS study says that the number of physicians accepting new Medicare patients is actually higher than the number taking new private insurance patients, according to …

If You Have Medicare, No Need to Go to Insurance Marketplaces

By Susan Jaffe, Kaiser Health News. This story produced in collaboration with USA Today While the Obama administration is stepping up efforts encouraging uninsured Americans to enroll in health coverage from the new online insurance marketplaces, officials are planning a campaign to convince millions of seniors to please stay away – don’t call and don’t sign up. “We want to reassure Medicare beneficiaries that they are already covered, their benefits are not changing and the marketplace doesn’t require them to do …

Surprising Facts About a Survivor – Social Security

Happy 78th birthday, Social Security. Since FDR signed you into law on Aug. 14, 1935, you’ve survived wars, budget cuts and changing demographics. Today you may be older than most of your beneficiaries, but you’re still central to secure retirement. Related: How Has Social Security Changed Lives? In Millions of Ways Here are some surprising facts about the program: The number of people who received Social security benefits last year – 61.9 million – is nearly half of what the U.S. …