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 …

House Calls for Frail Medicare Patients Bring Savings

By Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer WASHINGTON (AP) – Ten or 12 times a year, Beatrice Adams’ daughter would race her frail mother to the emergency room for high blood pressure or pain from a list of chronic illnesses. Then Adams found a doctor who makes house calls, and the 89-year-old hasn’t needed ER care in the nearly two years since. “I’m not a wimpy female,” Adams said as Eric De Jonge, M.D.,  wheeled his medical bag into her dining …

Most Medicare Recipients Have Modest Incomes, Kaiser Reports

If you’ve ever wondered about the finances of people receiving federally funded Medicare benefits - are they wealthy, poor or somewhere in between? - a new chart provides some clues. This interactive infographic, released by the Kaiser Family Foundation, takes into account assets, income, age and more as it delivers a financial picture of the estimated 52.4 million people on Medicare. The graphic also includes projected data for 2030, so you can see how current recipients measure up against future beneficiaries. >> Sign up for the AARP Money …

Medicare Patients Now Can Do a Check-Up on Doctors

In a major data release this morning, Medicare shared information on $77 billion in payments to more than 880,000 health care providers. Consumers for the first time can look up doctors, find out the number of procedures they have performed and how much Medicare paid. This is one piece of the puzzle for determining the overall value of care being delivered. The information, from 2012 Medicare Part B payments, already has generated some eye-popping articles, with reports of one Florida ophthalmologist receiving …

Medicare Database Reveals Top-Paid Doctors

By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Serdar Tumgoren, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) – Medicare paid a tiny group of doctors $3 million or more apiece in 2012. One got nearly $21 million. Those are among the findings of an Associated Press analysis of physician data released Wednesday by the Obama administration, part of a move to open the books on health care financing. Topping Medicare’s list was Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, whose relationship with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), made headlines last year …

Government Hikes Payment Estimate for Medicare Advantage Plans

By Tom Murphy, AP Business Writer The government has raised its payment estimate for Medicare Advantage plans months ahead of a busy election season during which cuts to the program promise to be a key focus for politicians and voters. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Monday that 2015 payments to the plans should increase less than 1 percent overall. That compares to a drop of nearly 2 percent that the government forecast in February. Analysts expect actual …