Medicare Releases Official 2016 Part B Premiums

After months of speculation, Medicare’s standard Part B premiums for 2016 have been officially announced. About 70 percent of beneficiaries will continue to pay the same amount that has been charged for the past three years: $104.90 a month. Others will pay $121.80 a month, or more for higher-income beneficiaries who already pay higher premiums. As previously reported, the double standard arises from a quirk in the law that occurs only when there is no Social Security cost of living …

Take Advantage of Medicare’s Free Preventive Services

Being able to treat a medical problem is good, but dodging the problem altogether is even better. That seems obvious, yet Medicare has only recently expanded coverage for services that help prevent or stave off some of the diseases that make people very ill and — not coincidentally — cost Medicare mountains of money. Many of these preventive tests, screenings and counseling sessions are now available for free, with no copays or deductibles, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. More …

Medicare Overpays $6.7 Billion for Patient Evaluation Services

Medicare spent $6.7 billion too much in 2010 by “inappropriately” paying claims from physicians who had submitted the wrong billing codes or no documentation at all for certain services, according to a new report from the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Although that amount was a small fraction of Medicare’s total spending of more than $525 billion in 2010, it still added up to 21 percent of what Medicare paid for all “evaluation …