The cost item that is raising the cost of health insurance is not prescription drugs. Rather, it is the cost of hospitalization that is straining our healthcare budgets. Over 59% of Americans have had debt collectors contacting them due to past due bills. We are currently carrying well over 80 billion dollars in medical debt. Some hospital systems have become monopolies and have continued to raise prices albeit without improving services. With others, trying to read and figure out hospital billings seems veiled in foggy understanding when we try to decipher the complicated bills. It is a continuing and growing problem that Medicare plans to address in January.
Starting in 2021 CMS will begin to audit hospitals for price transparency, according to a recent statement. The new Hospital Price Transparency rule takes effect next month and will require hospitals to post their standard charges online. They must also define them in over 300 services that can you can compare nationwide. Medicare has agreed to investigate overcharge complaints. Hospitals not in compliancewill be subject to civil penalties. After a warning, should the institution not correct their deficiency they could be subject to fines up to $300 daily. The American Hospital Association has requested a delay of implementation of this new rule because of the additional burden of the pandemic. It is our feeling that we need relief from hospital’s questionable and often unfair and complicated billing practices, and that the new rule should continue to be in effect.
The COVID crisis has seen countless little spray bottles of sanitizer being sold throughout the country. I carry a couple in my car, and one at home. But using care with these products is important. Just remember, smoking can be bad for your health, as witnessed here.
On November 10th the Supreme Court will review the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The potential impact of their decision will have major impact on the healthcare coverage of millions of Americans. Last year a federal appeals court ruled the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate was unconstitutional, and cut the tax penalty to $0. Currently in California however the penalties for not being enrolled in creditable health insurance are in effect. The administration previously argued that the pre-existing protection in the plan should be overturned, but now has stated that all of the ACA should be invalidated. Individual enrollments in ACA plans have risen 2.3 million in the last three years, so the court’s decision will have a far reaching effect on our healthcare system.
So,you should be dealing with a LOCAL independent licensed broker (like LJR Insurance Solutions) because we know the physians, specialists, hospitals, and all the ins and outs of all the plans we are certified with. As fiduciaries, our job is to do the very best for you and we suggest the plans that fit your need for not a penny extra ever.
And who do you call when you have a question or a problem? Broadway Joe? An agent who you really don’t know? If they put you in a plan that your doctor doesn’t take, what do you do then…punt?
My opinion is that they are doing a major disservice to Medicare beneficiaries by this type of advertising. We really are there to help, so score a touchdown every time by using a qualified local agency!
While Medicare recipients have been enjoying lower premium rates for Part D drug coverage, several new developments may change that in the future. Although plan specifics cannot be released until Oct. 1st,Medicare has announced some notable changes. First, there is the “Cures Act” just passed by Congress that gives those with ESRD the right to enroll in plans designated for those with kidney failure. This will be the first time those beneficiaries these plans will be available. Also, there will be a much needed $35.00 cap on Insulin prescriptions, just announced by CMS. These changes alone could add to beneficiaries’ costs, but muddying the waters are three recent Presidential executive orders that could also negatively affect consumers according to an article published in a Healthpayer Intelligence news release.
The so-called “Rebate Rule” would restrict the ability of Pharmacy managers to obtain medications from foreign sources which could result in large savings. In addition, $100 billion is slated for drug makers as a “bailout”. There is much disagreement as to what these changes could bring. According to the American Health Institute Providers (AHIP) Medicare part D premiums could escalate as much as 25%, and we could see our current part D budget of 2.7 billion soar to about 7.9 billion by 2029. All this means more money out of our pockets for premiums and prescription medication. Let me know your comments by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
It seems like everyday I am getting suspicious robocalls about COVID-19 cures and products. Have you gotten any offering free face masks if you give them your Medicare number? DON’T DO IT! There are so many scammers out there trying to take advantage of seniors during this difficult time. Perhaps you have seen an online post offering FREE virus test kits or cures. Listen- you can prevent Medicare fraud by never giving your protected health or personal information to someone you don’t know. If they are offering something for nothing you can bet it’s a scam! If you suspect fraud you can report it to 1-800-MEDICARE.
Today, I turned down an opportunity from a major national carrier to work at a drug store to find perspective enrollees for their Medicare plan. I would have been at the store three times a week, sitting at a table replete with the company’s information and my business cards. Mind you, this is a great retail location with lots of traffic, great management, and an insurance carrier who offers great products with many extra benefits. I know I would have made multiple contacts with interested individuals, a good percentage of whom would have become my clients. Last year I worked at this location and had much success. Still, as excited as I was about the appointment I know I did the right thing in not taking advantage of it at this time. You see, my wife has a heart condition and a valve replacement and with the Corona virus still running out of control throughout the nation there were no doubts in my mind I was using good common sense. Here in the Coachella Valley the Eisenhower Hospital’s ICU unit is at or near capacity due to COVID-19, the death rate continues to rise, and still there are those who resist wearing protection which blows me away. If I had decided to cover my retail post during this perilous time and then brought home disease to my wife that could have caused serious problems for her, I never would have been able to forgive myself. So, I will continue to work from my office in Palm Desert, helping beneficiaries six days a week, albeit virtually. Better to do less business and stay safe, especially with our medical conditions and being in our 80s. To do otherwise would be foolish indeed.