Monthly Archives: September 2017

Seniors Can Get Affordable Supplemental Health Care Insurance

Affordable health care supplemental insurance for seniors is designed to accompany – or supplement – the health insurance coverage seniors already have. Cheap senior health insurance is sometimes just as difficult to obtain as health insurance for every other age group. Therefore, finding an affordable senior supplemental health care – a sort of “add-on” to existing senior health insurance policies – makes it easier for seniors to get the necessary and adequate health care.Finding affordable health care supplemental insurance for seniors requires basically the same process as finding any kind of health care coverage. Seniors can begin by shopping around. Pay attention to advertisements both on the Internet and in print form. Word-of-mouth is also an excellent way to find out about affordable health care supplemental insurance for seniors. Ask friends and family members about their own senior health care supplemental insurance.

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Affordable health care supplemental insurance for seniors is only affordable if it fits your budget and provides the kind of extra coverage you need. Once you’ve decided which health insurance companies you’d like to check out, ask their insurance agents or representatives about coverage options and rates. You want the coverage you need at the price you can afford. Don’t sacrifice a particular kind of coverage you need just to save a few bucks. At the same time, don’t agree to payments you may not be able to make. Think of it as a balancing act.Affordable health care supplemental insurance for seniors doesn’t mean a thing if the company from which you’ve purchased your policy leaves you high and dry. Make sure the insurance company is licensed to do business in your state. You can do this by contacting your state’s department of insurance. There are many fly-by-night companies out there looking to make a quick buck, traveling around selling “insurance” and quickly leaving the scene of the crime, so to speak. If you know the company is licensed in your state, you know your state can help you if problems arise.

Medicare And Medicare Supplement Insurance Face Support And Threats

While some Republican legislators seek to reduce Medicaid and Medicare benefits, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius goes about her business to not only expand access to health care, but to also improve the health care that’s available. The focus of health care reform appears to be shifting from the insurance market to how hospitals provide health care.Saying, “Everybody in America should have better health care and better costs,” Sebelius is travelling around the country promoting her Partnership for Patients initiative. The goal of the partnership is to reduce injuries that patients suffer while hospitalized, including the number of new infections. She reminds us that each year, the number of people who “die from harm in hospitals is more than the number of people who die annually as a result of AIDS, breast cancer and car accidents combined.”Sebelius plans to not only reduce injuries within hospitals by 40 percent, but to also cut the need for hospital readmissions by 20 percent in three years. In exchange for up to $1 billion in the Medicare funding of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, she estimates that her initiative could slash $50 billion worth of Medicare costs in the coming decade. The fate of Medicare and Medicare Supplemental Health Insurance may be determined by the war over health care reform.

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Maximize Medicare And Medicare Supplemental Insurance BenefitsWhile politicians toss around conflicting ideas regarding funding Medicare, you have the power to make the most of your coverage whether you rely on Original Medicare, a combination of Medicare and Medigap Insurance or you use one of the Medicare Advantage Plans as a substitute.This May, the Journal of the American Medical Association highlights how to improve quality of life and cut health care costs with a single strategy. It offers a comprehensive analysis of clinical trials showing that exercise and physical activity helps to control blood glucose levels and diabetes.Other studies show how exercise programs improve high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides. Researchers have also shown that cardiovascular and cognition problems respond to exercise, which reduces premature deaths and enhances the quality of life.Using exercise to maintain your health makes it less expensive to supplement Medicare with the best Medicare Supplement Insurance. Good health makes it easy to sail past medical underwriting departments that estimate what your health care will cost insurance companies. With good health, you can get better rates and you won’t face exclusions on your coverage.What Does Exercise Mean For Your Health Care Costs?One study gave a specific dollar amount that older adults actually saved on health care. Those who used a health club facility at least twice a week for a two-year period, had a $1,252 reduction in the cost of their health care during the second year as compared to people who used a health club less than once a week. Programs that combine aerobic and resistance training produce greater benefits than resistance exercises alone.

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Even though health club benefits have been shown to correlate with slower increases in total health care costs among older adults, Medicare does not reimburse for exercise programs. It does reimburse for approved self-management education and medical nutrition programs regarding type 2 diabetes, though.Until Medicare managers begin to use this cost-cutting strategy, see whether Medicare Supplement Plans begin to offer reimbursement or other discounts for exercise programs and other forms of physical activity.

Paying For Home Health Care – What Do Medicare and Medigap Cover?

Prescribed only by a physician, home health care is skilled nursing care that aids in the recovery from illness, injury, or surgery in the patient’s home. And fortunately for many seniors who are now opting for care at home, Medicare insurance covers most costs related to home health care.The government, however, has set some limitations on payouts – you are only eligible if you need intermittent care (usually defined as seven days a week or less than eight hours a day over 21 days or less) (1), physical/occupational therapy or speech language pathology; you are homebound; and the home health care agency providing care is approved by your Medicare insurance program.In addition to medication administration, general supervision, and therapy services, the Medicare home health benefit covers a number of other necessities, including medical aids and supplies to aid in recuperation. On the occasion, though, you may be required to cover some of the costs associated with home health care. But what can you expect to pay out-of-pocket that’s not covered by Medicare dollars?Medicare Insurance: Part A and Part BHospital Insurance (Medicare Part A) helps cover the costs of your inpatient care at hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, or religious non-medical health care establishments. Part A can also help cover hospice and home health care services. Individuals aged 65 and older are usually automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and do not have to pay a monthly premium if Medicare taxes were paid while working. If you did not pay taxes, you are still eligible, but you will be required to pay a monthly premium.

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Medical Insurance (Medicare Part B) helps cover services such as those offered by your physician and outpatient care. Many seniors maintain their enrollment in Part A, but elect not to use Part B, which requires a monthly premium that is dependent upon income, the requirements of which change yearly. Unfortunately, if you didn’t sign up for Part B when you were first eligible for insurance, your premium may be slightly higher (2).For questions on your Medicare insurance benefits, you should contact 1-800-MEDICARE or read the handbook mailed to you each year entitled “Medicare and You.”What’s Covered and What’s NotMedicare insurance pays for physical and occupational therapy and speech language pathology services, counseling, some medical supplies, durable medical equipment (which must meet coverage criteria), as well as general assistance with daily activities which include dressing, bathing, eating, and toileting. For most other medical equipment, Medicare insurance will cover 80% of its cost (3).However, Medicare will not cover twenty-four hour care at home, meals delivered to your home, and services unrelated to your care such as housekeeping. Of course, as mentioned above, you will be required to pay 20% for medical equipment not fully covered by Medicare insurance such as wheelchairs, walkers, and oxygen tanks (4).In some cases, your home health care agency may present you with a Home Health Advance Beneficiary Notice (HHABN), which, simply put, means if your agency is ceasing your care services, you will be presented with a written statement outlining the supplies and services the agency believes your Medicare insurance benefits will not cover as well as a detailed explanation of why. Should this situation arise, you do have recourse – the HHABN lists directions on acquiring the final decision on payment issues or filing an appeal if Medicare refuses to cover costs for home health care. In the meantime, you should continue receiving home health care services, but keep in mind that you will be paying for these services out-of-pocket until Medicare accepts your claims and remits past expenses.Medigap and Other Out-of-Pocket ExpensesMedigap, a supplemental insurance policy, is sold privately and covers the services and supplies not paid for by Medicare insurance. When used in conjunction, Medigap and Medicare can often cover a large majority of the costs of your home health care. Insurance companies offer a variety of different Medigap policies (A through L), but since each one comes with specific benefits, you’ll need to compare the highlights closely. Medigap policies vary by cost, and many insurance companies require you to have both Medicare Parts A and B in order to purchase a supplemental plan (5).

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For seniors with both Part A and Part B Medicare, your home health care situation is usually covered, save for the 20% out-of-pocket expenses for medical equipment. Just remember to keep track of your Medicare insurance benefits (and Medigap if applicable) by verifying with your physician, home health care agency, and insurance representative. Paying for home health care does not have to cost you an arm and a leg, but do be prepared for the occasional (but necessary) out-of-pocket medical expenses.Sources1. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Medicare and Home Health Care, page 6
2. Medicare website: “Your Medicare Benefits.”
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. Medicare website: “Medigap (Supplemental Insurance) Policies.”

Health Insurance Facts – Including 2010 Health Care Reform

Health Insurance Facts and FiguresIt’s amazing to read about the fact companies pay their top CEOs millions of dollars per year but that more than 40 million Americans – and more than 8 million children – can’t afford health insurance and don’t get it through their small business employer.The Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 aims to change this. Some of the new changes include that EVERYONE must have health insurance by 2014 or face penalties from the IRS. Small businesses will also receive large tax breaks and government stipends to help get their employees insured.Here are some more interesting facts about health insurance:Health care costs typically covered by insurance include doctor visits, hospital visits, surgery, advanced procedures, tests, home care, routine and advanced treatments and other services. Typically, the people who qualify for Medicare are those who are 65 years or older, as well as younger people with disabilities and people with permanent kidney failure. Medicaid is for people who are receiving federal government aid. It typically covers hospitalization, doctor’s visits and other types of services. Prescription drugs, chronic illnesses, uninsured patients, and longer life expectancy are adding to the rising cost of health care. Supplemental insurance covers treatments and services that regular health insurance doesn’t.

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Worker’s compensation covers health care costs for illnesses and injuries that occurred because of a person’s employment.Types of Plans:-Fee-for-Service: Fee-for-service plans allow you to choose the hospital and doctor you want, but you have to pay a monthly premium fee.-Health Maintenance Organizations: HMOs are prepaid health plans that require you to pay a co-payment when you visit a doctor. The plans concentrate on preventative care to keep costs down (the costs involved in treating someone with advanced illnesses are much higher).-Health Savings Accounts: These savings accounts help pay down high deductibles. They often carry over from year to year.-Point of Service Plans: These plans allow you to see doctors who aren’t inside your plan.-Preferred Provider Organizations: Like HMOs, there is a small co-payment for visiting doctors inside your plan. Unlike HMOs, you can see doctors who are outside your plan, but you’ll have to pay more of the bill yourself.-Self-Directed Health Plans: This is a PPO plan combined with a quarterly allowance that you can use for preventative health care. Like a health savings account, the money rolls over to the next year if you don’t use it.Health insurance figures:Millions of Americans are uninsured or under insured because of the soaring costs of health care. The U.S. paid almost $2.5 trillion in health care costs in 2008, and the average health care cost per American is $7,400 per year. Uninsured patients who also don’t pay their medical bills are driving up the cost of health care. Hospitals cover approximately $30 billion every year in unpaid medical bills. There are more than 40 million Americans who live without health insurance every year, and more than 8 million of them are children. Employers pay a premium of about $12,500 per year for insurance for a family of four. Economists predict that health care costs will rise to more than $3 trillion per year during the next decade.

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People who wait to see a doctor even though they are ill or injured often end up facing higher medical bills. Preventable hospital visits can end up costing those people more than $3,000 on average.