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At the beginning of the current session of Congress, the Center for Medicare Advocacy laid out a Medicare Platform for the New Congress to guide improvements to Medicare and possible expansion of the Medicare-covered population. One of the core considerations to improve Medicare for all beneficiaries, now and in the future, is the need to preserve … Read more

On August 27, 2019, the same day that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) debuted the updated Medicare Plan Finder (MPF) tool, four beneficiary advocacy organizations – the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Justice in Aging, Medicare Rights Center, and the National Council on Aging – sent a joint letter to CMS raising concerns … Read more

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 27, 2019 Contact: Justice in Aging – Vanessa Barrington: 510-256-1200, vbarrington@justiceinaging.org Medicare Rights Center – Mitchell Clark: 212-204-6286, mclark@medicarerights.org Center for Medicare Advocacy – Matt Shepard: 860-456-7790, mshepard@MedicareAdvocacy.org National Council on Aging – Armando Trull: 202-709-2474, armando.trull@ncoa.org Beneficiary Advocates Raise Alarms Concerning Roll-Out of New Medicare Plan Finder and Revision of Medicare Marketing Rules Washington, DC ─ … Read more

In late July 2019, the General Accounting Office (GAO) issued a report entitled “Medicare Plan Finder: Usability Problems and Incomplete Information Create Challenges for Beneficiaries Comparing Coverage Options” (GAO-19-627). In short, according to the Report, “[t]he Medicare Plan Finder (MPF) website—a primary resource for comparing Medicare coverage options—is difficult for beneficiaries to use and provides … Read more

June 25, 2019 The Honorable Richard Neal, Chairman The Honorable Kevin Brady, Ranking Member House Ways and Means Committee Washington, DC 20515 Dear Chairman Neal, Ranking Member Brady: The Center for Medicare Advocacy (Center) applauds the committee for its work addressing important beneficiary-related issues in the Beneficiary Education Tools Telehealth Extender Reauthorization (BETTER) Act of … Read more

Annual Enrollment has ended, but the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, allowing plan changes or a return to traditional Medicare continues through March 31 – Make sure you are fully informed about the Medicare that is right for you. When? January 1–March 31 What Can I Do? If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (with … Read more

As reported widely, including in The New York Times,[1] the Trump Administration spent this Medicare Annual Enrollment Period steering beneficiaries towards private Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. While CMS contests this conclusion, Administrator Verma stated they are “unleashing and strengthening” Medicare Advantage[2] and HHS Secretary Azar says he sees Medicare Advantage as the future of Medicare: … Read more

The Medicare Annual Coordinated Election Period (ACEP) is the most crucial time of year for Medicare beneficiaries to make decisions about how they wish to receive their Medicare coverage.  This year the Administration seems to be actively promoting Medicare Advantage plans. However, at the same time that this steering toward private plans is occurring, the … Read more

As we approach the final week of the Medicare Annual Coordinated Election Period (ACEP), individuals continue to make decisions about how they want to access their Medicare benefits in 2019.  Consumer advocates are concerned, however, that the information put out by the Medicare program about coverage options is incomplete and continues to promote one option … Read more

Concerned that Medicare beneficiaries could reject proper consideration of Medigap supplement plans because of undefined and significantly high costs listed in an “Estimated Annual Cost” column for Medigaps in the Medicare.gov CMS Plan Finder tool, the Center for Medicare Advocacy (the Center) requested CMS define costs that are included in the “Estimated Annual Cost” column. … Read more

Providing Medicare Beneficiaries with Complete, Objective Information to Help Them Make the Best Enrollment Decision The Center for Medicare Advocacy and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare have partnered to develop an education and outreach project to support Medicare beneficiaries and those who assist them enroll and re-enroll in Medicare. The Medicare … Read more

Overview The Annual Coordinated Election Period (ACEP), from October 15 through December 7, 2018, is the time period during which Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in, switch, or disenroll from Medicare Advantage (MA, or Part C) plans and Part D prescription drug plans.  Elections made during this time period will be effective January 1, 2019.  Information … Read more

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has released revisions to the Program Operations Manual System (POMS) regarding how to process Part A enrollments that are conditional to a state’s determination of a beneficiary as a Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB).  The update is intended to address inconsistencies and confusion in SSA field offices and includes important clarifications, … Read more

The Plan: Pass a Devastating Tax Bill, Balloon the Deficit, then Gut the Social Programs We Rely On Jimmo Update: Court Orders CMS to Modify Special Jimmo Webpage ACA and Medicare Enrollment Periods End Soon Changes to Notice of Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) Status The Plan: Pass a Devastating Tax Bill, Balloon the Deficit, then … Read more

Tax Cut Bill Just Got Worse. Health Care at Risk. This Week in Sabotage CMS Steering to Medicare Advantage Administration And Nursing Home Industry: Lockstep in Deregulating Nursing Facilities & Reducing Resident Protections Tax Cut Bill Just Got Worse.  Health Care at Risk. Free Webinar Series Next Webinar: Hospital Observation Status Update January 24, 2018 … Read more

CMA Alert – It’s Enrollment Season; CMS Reissues HH Booklet; “Homebound” Case Settlement; More

It's Health Care Enrollment Season NEW! CMS Again Reissues Improved Medicare Home Health Booklet THIS Week In ACA Sabotage… Happy Anniversary SSI Medicare "Homebound" Class Action Settled – Fairness Hearing Set for January 11, 2018 It's Health Care Enrollment Season Free Webinar Series Next Webinar: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Part 2 – Overview of Benefits for … Read more

CMA Alert – Remember You CAN Choose Original Medicare; Equitable Relief; This Week’s Sabotage News

You Can Choose Original Medicare: CMS Over-Emphasizes Private Medicare Advantage Plans in Open Enrollment Roll-Out CMS Extends Equitable Relief  CMA Joins 30 Organizations in Amicus Brief in Support of Court Challenge to Trump ACA Sabotage And THIS Week in ACA Sabotage… Auto-Enrollment… And No Time to Switch More Repeal Disguised as Reform You Can Choose Original … Read more

CMA Alert – Open Enrollment Tips; ACA Sabotage; More

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Begins October 15: Look Before You Leap This Week in ACA Sabotage  Breast Cancer Awareness Month International Day of Older Persons Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Begins October 15: Look Before You Leap Free Webinar Series Next Webinar: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Part 1 – History/Myths/Who is Served October 18, 2017 … Read more

In last week’s Alert, we posed 10 questions to ask before deciding between traditional Medicare and a Medicare Advantage Plan. This week we discuss what your answers may mean. Do you qualify for payment assistance or have access to other coverage through any of the following… Medicare Savings Program? Part D Low Income Subsidy? Employer/Military/Other … Read more

Do you qualify for payment assistance or have access to other coverage through any of the following… : Medicare Savings Program? Part D Low Income Subsidy? Employer/Military/Other Insurance? Medigap Plan? Which providers/facilities will you want to use? How important is it to you to continue seeing them? Do they accept Medicare? What Medicare Advantage Plan … Read more

In a June 2016 Weekly Alert the Center wrote about a process called “seamless conversion enrollment” used by some insurance companies that offer Medicare Advantage (MA) plans to capture enrollment among their pre-Medicare plan enrollees.  As we noted, “Medicare rules allow MA plan sponsors to ‘develop processes to provide seamless enrollment in an MA plan … Read more

Fall is the time for Medicare beneficiaries to explore their options regarding traditional Medicare, Part D prescription drug plans and Part C Medicare Advantage plans.  The Annual Coordinated Election Period (ACEP) starts on October 15th and ends on December 7th. This means that Medicare beneficiaries have to analyze their options and make choices by December … Read more

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law in 2010, was enacted to increase the quality and affordability of health care and lower the rate of uninsured by expanding private and public health insurance.  One mechanism the ACA established to achieve this goal was the creation of health insurance “Exchanges” – regulated online marketplaces where … Read more

October 21, 2016 – Update on Seamless Conversion: CMS is revisiting the seamless conversion enrollment policy and is temporarily suspending its acceptance of any new seamless enrollment proposals. Read more… Ms. M., a Medicare beneficiary living in the Southwest, turned 65 in October 2015 and became eligible for Medicare on October 1st. On September 30th she signed … Read more

The 2016 Medicare Part A and B General Enrollment Period runs from January 1 through March 31, 2016. As detailed below, this enrollment period is especially important for many individuals who are not eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A. Most people do not pay a premium for Medicare Part A because they have sufficient work history. … Read more

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted new materials for unions and employers to help employees with decisions about Medicare.  The materials are available at https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Find-Your-Provider-Type/Employers-and-Unions/Publications-to-share-with-employees.html.  Topics include: Medicare decisions for someone nearing age 65 Deciding whether to enroll in Medicare Part A or Part B when you turn 65 Deciding whether to enroll … Read more

The Center for Medicare Advocacy has been hearing more often from persons nearing retirement who work in small businesses, many of which have fewer than 20 employees.  Questions include whether COBRA benefits[1] will be available to them after they close their businesses and whether they have to keep some form of health care coverage to … Read more

Continued health care coverage authorized by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, commonly referred to as COBRA, provides a great step forwarded in reducing gaps in insurance for people between jobs or losing coverage due to the death of the covered worker in a family.  The rules for COBRA coverage are, nonetheless, complicated.  … Read more

Caution Advocates have seen an increase in the number of Medicare beneficiaries who have delayed enrolling in Medicare Part B, thinking, erroneously, that because they are paying for and receiving continued health coverage under COBRA, they do not have to enroll in Medicare Part B.[1]  COBRA-qualified beneficiaries who have delayed enrollment in Medicare Part B … Read more

Fall is the time for Medicare beneficiaries to explore their options regarding traditional Medicare, Part D prescription drug plans and Part C Medicare Advantage plans.  The Annual Coordinated Election Period (ACEP) starts on October 15th and ends on December 7th. This means that Medicare beneficiaries have to analyze their options and make choices by December … Read more

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently rolled out a web-based resource for employers to help them assist employees with obtaining information about transitioning to Medicare coverage.  This resource is part of a broader, concerted effort on the part of CMS and the Social Security Administration (SSA) to improve the information available to … Read more

Today, in concert with the White House Conference on Aging, the Administration announced the results of a concerted effort on the part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) to improve the information available to individuals becoming eligible for Medicare.  The Medicare program has complicated rules about how … Read more

A Brief Survey of Recent Reports, and a New Special Enrollment Period for 2015 Medicare's Annual Coordinated Election Period (ACEP) for Medicare Advantage and Part D plans began on October 15th and runs through December 7th.  During the ACEP, often referred to as "open enrollment," Medicare beneficiaries who do not have a Part D plan … Read more

Fall is the time for Medicare beneficiaries to explore their options regarding Part D prescription drug plans and Part C Medicare Advantage plans.  The Annual Coordinated Election Period (ACEP) for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans will start on October 15th and end on December 7th. This means that Medicare beneficiaries have to … Read more

Introduction In general, people who are eligible for Medicare may not purchase Marketplace plans (also called Qualified Health Plans or QHPs).[1] However, IRS guidance released in June, 2013 clarifies that two sub-populations of Medicare eligible individuals may be able to forego Medicare coverage to buy Marketplace plans: people who must pay Part A premiums (also … Read more

During the Annual Coordinated Election Period, which runs from October 15th through December 7th, people with Medicare can change their choice of health coverage (whether they receive that coverage through a private Medicare Advantage plan or traditional Medicare), and add, drop or change Medicare Part D drug coverage. For more information and to get help … Read more

The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) lasts from January 1st through February 14th of each year.  During the MADP, a beneficiary can switch from an MA plan to traditional Medicare. The new MADP also provides an opportunity to enroll in a Part D drug plan for those who have not already done so. When disenrolling … Read more

If you are eligible for Medicare you can chose between getting Medicare benefits through traditional Medicare (also known as original Medicare and traditional Medicare) or a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan.  Making this choice is personal and requires individuals to consider their circumstances, including their health, need for flexibility, budget and tolerance for financial risk.  Before … Read more

As discussed in last week’s Alert, the current Medicare Annual Enrollment Period lasts until December 7th.[1]  During this time period, Medicare beneficiaries can choose a Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Part D plan for 2013.  This Alert discusses Part C and D plan quality ratings for 2013, and special enrollment periods related to these ratings.  … Read more

Fall is the time for Medicare beneficiaries to explore their options regarding Part D prescription drug and Part C Medicare Advantage plans.  In years past, the annual enrollment period began in mid-November and lasted to the end of the year, with any changes or choices made effective January 1st.  Starting this year, that time period … Read more

Some Medicare beneficiaries lost prescription drug coverage at the end of 2010 because their Medicare Advantage (MA) plan or prescription drug plan (PDP) either did not renew its contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) or reduced the service area it served, and they did not enroll in a new plan.  These … Read more

Starting this year, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP) has been replaced by a new Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP), which lasts from January 1st through February 14th.[1] During the MADP, one can switch from an MA plan to traditional Medicare.  The new MADP also provides an opportunity to pick up Part D drug … Read more