Archive for the ‘Medicare’ category

What The Supreme Court Decision Means To You

July 5th, 2012

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled not to throw out the health care reform which was passed over two years ago.  Two major issues were being watched by many people.  The first one, was the Medicaid expansion and the qualifications to get insurance through Medicaid.  And the second, was whether or not the individual mandate was constitutional.  The Supreme Court ruled that the mandate is constitutional and that they will enforce the mandate as a tax.  The original pitch and what was Obama’s selling point, was that the mandate would be penalized as a fee not a tax.  So this decision is huge and can have some falling out by supporters of Obama.  Anyone who does not health insurance by 2014, will pay $95 or 1% of their income, which ever is greater.  The figures go up if you have a family that is not covered.  Also, if you still do not have health insurance by 2016, the tax will go up to 2.5%.

So the question here is, will people that are healthy still go without health insurance and pay the tax.  Or, is the tax enough to make them change their behaviors.  Most likely, the former because it still is a lot cheaper to pay the tax then pay the monthly premium on a health insurance policy.  Another issue will be how each state will proceed with implementing the health insurance exchanges by 2014.  Still, there are 26 states that are opposed to the ruling and it will be a challenge for the federal government to manage the exchanges without support on the state level.

Supreme Court Decision Drawing Near

June 4th, 2012

The health reform was passed well over two years ago and has not gone without debate.  Many parts of the reform have already been implemented and have had a positive impact.  For instance, the lifetime maximum was lifted so no one can be limited by the amount of medical services they can receive.  This is very important for those patients who are terminally ill and rely of medical services to keep them alive.  Also, the age was increased for dependents to be on their parents’ health insurance to age 26.  As the economy continues to struggle, many are relying on others to pay their health insurance premiums.

However, the most important part of the reform is still being debated, and that is whether or not the individual mandate is constitutional.  Starting in 2014, the reform says that everyone must have health insurance and they will face a penalty from the government.  The Supreme Court is ruling on this and the results will have a huge impact on health care and the economy as a whole.

Learn About Medicare

May 4th, 2012

As baby boomers continue to retire, Medicare will play a vital role in their health care and the overall care of the U.S..  Once you reach the age of 65, you have the option of going on Medicare.  The government provides the insurance for those who qualify.  As you earned income throughout your life, some of your tax dollars has been going towards Medicare.  When you do turn 65, you can immediately enroll in Medicare.  However, if you do not enroll when you turn 65, then the only time to enroll in Medicare is during the annual enrollment period that is every December.  Some people, however, work for another company that offers health insurance and they choose to stay on that plan.  If that is the case, Medicare benefits may still help you.  If the company has over 20 employees then Medicare benefits will still be applied to most situations.

The Medicare benefits are mostly for hospitalization and basic services.  To further beef up your benefits, you can purchase additional insurance that will work with your Medicare coverage.  This additional insurance is sometimes known as supplemental insurance.  The additional insurance covers benefits such as prescription drugs and doctor visits.  Medicare is a much cheaper option to getting traditional insurance in the open market.

Medicare To Help Obese Patients

December 1st, 2011

A decision has recently been made that Medicare will pay for screening and counseling services to help obese patients lose weight.  This decision has caused a lot of debate in a short period of time.  Many experts are concerned that doctors do not have the time to help obese patients because they are already so busy with everything else they are doing.  And having free medical services will make doctors too busy and the service will go down overall. 

A recent survey of primary care physicians showed that 72 percent of the staff in their offices had no prior weight loss training.  This is a big concern if Medicare plans to start paying for these services.  Experts are saying that Medicare jumped too soon and that doctors and their staff are not ready to handle the potential demand.  About 30 percent of Medicare population is considered obese.  This means that their will be a huge increase in services that they will demand and many are not sure if the system can handle it.

Medicare And Open Enrollment

November 21st, 2011

Every year Medicare allows individuals who qualify to enroll and save money on their health coverage.  This year, open enrollment for Medicare ends in early December so many individuals are asking about coverage and benefits for Medicare.  In addition to Medicare coverage, individuals can purchase Medicare supplemental plans to get even more benefits.

Medicare supplemental plans are often a lot cheaper than traditional insurance.  And more importantly, the network of doctors and access to care is much larger.  Typically, people can purchase supplemental coverage for less than a hundred dollars and have very good health insurance.  Some carriers such as AARP, even offer health insurance for no monthly premium and basically a pay as you go option.  This is a great way to save money per month and only use the insurance when you need it.

California Could Pose Problem For Obama’s Healthcare Reform

September 19th, 2011

Ever since the health reform laws have passed, California has been a leading state when it comes to compliance and pro-activeness.  California was set to be a model state for the health reform  and many states were supposed to follow their path.  In fact, it has been quite the opposite.  Many states are fighting to overturn the laws, stating that the health reform laws are unconstitutional because the government they say can not force Americans to get health insurance against their will.

California is asking the government for permission to place limits on how people on Medicaid can use the program.  Medicaid, which is a federal program for poor Americans to use healthcare, is a very costly program for the state.  California wants the government to allow them to place limits on use so people in California will not take advantage of the system.  California believes that other states will follow their path if they can pull this off.  California was one of the first states to approve the health insurance exchange which must be up and running by 2014.

Is “Obamacare” Working?

September 15th, 2011

The Affordable Care Act is a major part of the new health reform laws past last year and its main purpose is to make health insurance more affordable for Americans.  According to the Census Bureau, about 500,000 young adults ages between 18-24, had health insurance in 2010 as compared to 2009.  That is a large increase and many experts are pointing to the new health reform as a reason many Americans purchased health insurance.  Their are many things that changed about health insurance, including things such as free wellness and preventive check-ups once per year, and no cap on lifetime benefits.  Some of these benefits, which were enacted by the Affordable Care Act, might be the reason that more Americans are getting health insurance.

The long-term effects of the health reform is still yet to be determined.  Starting in 2014, states are required to have a health insurance exchange up and running to make buying affordable health insurance easy for all Americans.  This will be requiring a lot of management both at the state level and the federal level.  In addition, experts are still not sure of the total costs over the long haul.  Many people are still skeptical of its value.

More Medicare Reform, More Struggling Hospitals

September 12th, 2011

Many organizations and hospitals will be feeling the effects of the health care reform next year and beyond.  The Affordable Care Act was enacted last year and one of the provisions states that both Medicare and Medicaid will be getting reimbursement rate cuts.  Many hospitals that serve this segment will be taking a hit to their bottom line and as a consequence, the quality of their service might go down as well.  The elections are right around the corner and many do not think that anything will be appealed or changed. 

Organizations are preparing for the worst case and also bracing for a less profitable business.  The rate reductions to Medicare is a big concern because the baby boomers are starting to take a big effect on the services.  More and more individuals are starting to retire and hospitals are feeling the demand of the medical services and the participation increase in Medicare.