Medicare Trying to Nudge Seniors Out of Plans With Low Ratings

By Susan Jaffe for Kaiser Health News, in collaboration with USA Today Medicare officials are trying a novel approach during this open enrollment season to gently nudge a half million beneficiaries out of 26 private drug and medical plans that have performed poorly over the past three years. It begins with letters informing seniors they are enrolled in a plan that received low ratings. “We encourage you to compare this plan to other options in your area and decide if …

Medicare Coverage Change for Therapy Offers Ray of Hope for Caregivers

A loved one suffers a stroke, a fall, or has a chronic illness such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis. Medicare initially covers payment for vital services such as skilled nursing, home health care and physical, occupational or speech therapy. We see improvement as they heal, grow stronger, speak more and become more engaged in life. Suddenly the bad news is delivered: the patient reaches a “plateau” or doesn’t show “improvement” according to Medicare standards. They will no …

Medicare Settlement Helps Those With Chronic Conditions

Thousands of Medicare recipients with chronic conditions – such as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis  and brain injury -  may soon have an easier time getting badly needed home-health care, nursing care and therapy. That’s because of a settlement in a nationwide class action suit that removes the requirement that patients getting these services must show “improvement” in their condition.  This guideline shift, reported yesterday,  would mean these services would be covered for Medicare recipients who need them to maintain a …

Study Finds Premium Support Plan Could Raise Medicare Premiums In Many Parts of Country

By Jordan Rau, Staff Writer, Kaiser Health News The type of proposal championed by Republicans to overhaul Medicare by giving beneficiaries a fixed amount of money to purchase insurance could lead to significant increases in premium costs in some parts of the country, according to a new study. If the plan had been in place in 2010, six in 10 Medicare beneficiaries – about 25 million people both in traditional Medicare and in private Medicare Advantage plans – would have …

FAQ: Decoding The $716 Billion In Medicare Reductions

Guest post by Mary Agnes Carey, Kaiser Health News Staff Writer The structure and financing of Medicare, the federal health insurance program that serves seniors and the disabled, has become a defining issue in the presidential and congressional campaigns since GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney picked Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis, as his running mate. KHN’s Mary Agnes Carey answers some frequently asked questions about the numbers and policy surrounding the Medicare debate. Q: Romney and other Republicans over the past two …