Pay Less for Your Prescription Drugs

By Nicole Duritz The dog days of August are the most likely time for Medicare Part D participants to fall into the “doughnut hole” and see their prescription costs rise. With AARP resources, you can see if you’re at risk of falling in, and find options for lowering your drug costs. The Doughnut Hole Each year, 19 percent of Medicare Part D beneficiaries fall into the doughnut hole. Once the amount of money you and your insurance company pay for …

Are Medical Credit Cards Unhealthy for Your Finances?

You need some expensive medical care yet don’t have the insurance or money to pay for it. Should you use a medical credit card that’s pitched at some doctors’ offices? A new report by the nonprofit Consumer Action warns that some of these cards can be unhealthy for your finances. They usually offer a zero percent introductory rate, though after that period, card terms can vary greatly. The problem is that these terms often are difficult to uncover. So patients …

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 …

5 Things to Talk About With Your Doctor

The following is a guest post from William J. Hall, MD, AARP Board Member. Bill Hall is a geriatrician with a special interest in strategies for successful aging. Last time, I described some of the reasons why both patients and physicians sometimes feel that the office visit is not as satisfying as either would like. Based on many years of caring for older adults, here are a few simple strategies: Make a List. No matter what your age, the most …

A Visit to the Doctor

The following is a guest post from William J. Hall, MD, AARP Board Member . Bill Hall is a geriatrician with a special interest in strategies for successful aging. Let’s talk about rights. After decades of doing this, I think that far and away the most common concerns I hear relate to the quality of the personal interaction between you the patient and your physician or other health care providers. Everybody seems rushed. There are often questions that you want to …