Wednesday, October 5, 2016

AmeriHealth 65 HMO Discontinued in New Jersey for 2017

Urgent Message for Seniors in New Jersey

AmeriHealth 65 HMO and Aetna Medicare Value Plan

Discontinued in New Jersey for 2017

AmeriHealth 65 HMO and Aetna Medicare Value Plan will be dropped in New Jersey as of January 1st, 2017.

If you do not act quickly, you would be left with just Original Medicare which can result in many unwanted costs and high deductibles.

Greg Gudis from BGA Insurance Group has put together a video explaining this change and what you can do about it.

 

 

Here are some more articles that reference this insurance coverage loss for seniors in NJ:

You may use the form below to contact BGA Insurance Group to request immediate assistance with your upcoming Medicare Enrollment.

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The post AmeriHealth 65 HMO Discontinued in New Jersey for 2017 originally appeared on The Aging Adult Guide

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Medicare Enrollment 2017 – Questions and Answers

Medicare Enrollment Requirements & Rules

The number sits at 55+ million for beneficiaries with Medicare coverage.

Many citizens are still lagging behind or might want to change their plan. To ensure the right decision is made, it becomes pertinent to know what to do. There are several steps a person has to complete before having a set plan ready for their needs.

Let’s take a look at the most important steps one requires when it comes to getting high-quality coverage.

1) Find Out Eligibility And Sign Up

Before doing anything else, it is recommended to read through all pertinent information. There is a lot to catch up on and being aware of these details is necessary. Those who wing it will end up with an inferior plan that doesn’t suit their needs or wants.

Go through all of this information and make sure it is understood (including terminology).

Once this information has been processed, it is time to move onto figuring out if one is eligible. It is a simple process and won’t take long at all.

After this is completed and you’re found eligible, it’s time to sign up. This is just to have your name under “Medicare.” The selection will be made afterward.

Many people prefer to start the process by working with an insurance broker. Determine if you received your Annual Notice of Change so that you can bring it to the meeting.

Your Recommended Agent is Greg from BGA Insurance Group

greg gudis

Greg Gudis – Licensed agent ready to assist you during the enrollment period in October 2016. Please fill out the form below to send your information to Greg so that he can contact you with the best advice and plan information for your current situation. He can also provide expert advice on retirement planning, life insurance, and long-term care.

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2) Compare Plans

You’re going to have a few options during this step. It’s recommended to take your time and show patience as it’ll lead to a good selection on your part.

Before doing anything else, it’s time to decide what path to take. Do you wish to do it on your own? Do you want to seek out assistance from an insurance broker? It’s recommended to speak with a broker as they’ll have a connection to all agencies reducing the time taken to sign up.

They’ll already understand the nuances, which will cut into the time you take to find a good plan.

When you’ve made a decision, it’s time to take a look at all of the plans. If you’re doing it alone, you’ll have to seek out various agencies or head to a state-based marketplace (each state has one) and go through all of the options. If desired, a person can also choose from private entities.

An insurance broker can be helpful here as they already have a connection to these networks and will match up each client based on their requirements. There are many different Medicare supplemental plans New Jersey residents can choose from, so make sure you ask your broker what is best for you.

3) Ask Questions or fill out a Medicare Enrollment Questionnaire

Your research does not end in the beginning. It’s an ongoing process where you are accumulating as much information as possible. This also includes understanding what agencies have to provide with their offerings. Each agency is going to have something unique to offer.

You want to go through these details and find something that’ll fit under your requirements both medically and financially.

Until this happens, you don’t need to move onto the next step. As long as you beat the deadline, you’ll have enough time to process what is being put in front of you and comparing choices as well. This might be one of the most important steps to getting your coverage.

4) Select Planpennsauken-nj-medicare-agent

The final step and the most important one is to select a plan. Which direction do you want to go in? Which plan best fits your needs? This is an important step as all of the “homework” you’ve done is going to end here.

When selecting a plan, think about the following items of concern:

1) What are the long-term prospects of this plan?
2) How much will you be paying (i.e. deductible)?
3) How much are you saving compared to other options?

Go through all of this information and have it written down to get a better look. Once you’ve done this, a great decision can be made with all of the prerequisites taken care of.

It’s not impossible to go through these steps and find a high-grade plan. There is a good fit for everyone as long as the steps are taken seriously and a person doesn’t rush along the way. Those who rush will end up making the wrong selection or putting it all up to luck.

Be smart and make sure Medicare enrollment is not being skimmed through.

Upcoming Medicare Enrollment Seminar in Pennsauken, NJ:

Additional Resources:

New Jersey Medicare Supplement Plans

Medicare Advantage in New Jersey

Part D Prescription New Jersey



The post Medicare Enrollment 2017 – Questions and Answers originally appeared on The Aging Adult Guide

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Only One New Jersey Hospital Not Penalized by CMS for Medicare Reimbursement

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) engages in a Hospital Readmission Reduction Program that aims to penalize any hospital if they have a higher readmission rate than determined in the year 2017. They do so by withholding Medicare reimbursements.

Only one hospital in New Jersey did not receive a penalty, and that hospital was Hunderton Medical Center.

hunderton medical center

CMS compares actual readmission rates with expected rates based on patient risk factors for five conditions including: acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), congestive heart failure, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and total joint replacements. If the actual readmission rate exceeds the expected rate, the hospital receives a reduction in their Medicare reimbursement for the next year.

 

Fines were determined based on data for the period from July 2012 to June 2015. Each hospital was assessed by what their reported readmission rate was and what CMS determined to be an appropriate rate based on national and demographic information.

 

“Hunterdon Medical Center has been analyzing our readmission rates and implementing measures to improve them for many years. Once discharged from the hospital, patients are followed up by a specialist or primary care physician within three to five days after being released from the hospital. In fact, we are now making these appointments for our patients while he/she is still in the hospital,” explained Robert Coates, M.D., Vice President of Medical Affairs.

Read full article.

Technology seems to be on their side as Hunderton has been using more advanced software to try and determine which patients might be at a higher risk for readmission so that they can be cared for more closely. If you think about it, this is a very smart way of predicting what patients might have a more severe health problem that needs to be dealt with now rather than later. Should more hospitals adopt this strategy?

Interestingly enough, technology has had another major influence in the way doctors are examining patients and then collecting on Medicare procedures.

Technology Influences Medicare from the Doctor’s Office

In Woodbridge, NJ, Robert Boyd uses a new medical device to perform an evaluation in his office rather than referring to another doctor or specialist. He began using this device to test for a specific neurological condition:

He used a device to test whether people sweat in response to a low-voltage current, a way to diagnose nerve damage. In 2014, he collected $105,905 from Medicare for the procedures.

Testing for the condition rose nationwide in recent years after a device became available that allows doctors to perform tests in their offices—and to make more profit from Medicare for doing so. The federal program for seniors and disabled people paid out $16.7 million for the test in 2014, according to the latest data, a 10-fold increase from two years earlier.

 

Such increases are commonplace after the introduction of medical devices that allow doctors to provide services in their offices that they used to refer elsewhere. A Wall Street Journal analysis of recently released Medicare billing data showed that four of the top 10 fastest-growing Medicare services from 2012 to 2014 involved new devices.

 

Medicare’s tab for those four services rose by $123.5 million from 2012 to 2014, to $135 million, the data show. In each case, a small cadre of doctors adopted the services much faster than their peers. Less than 10% of doctors accounted for more than half the rise in spending for each service, the Journal found. The Journal studied only services performed throughout that period with at least $5 million in 2014 payments.

Read more at the WSJ.

As time moves on, technology is influencing our culture at a rapid pace. Doctors are now given more choices which can help them make better decisions in the office without spending more time or delaying an evaluation by sending the patient to another appointment. Will this have a greater influence on Medicare in New Jersey? Only time will tell.

The 2017 Medicare enrollment period is approaching and seniors should begin to consider looking at their NJ Medicare Plans in order to make the right decision moving into the new year. Insurance brokers can assist with this decision as it can be a confusing and complex level of detail to navigate. Some providers like Aetna are leaving the healthcare marketplace, which means your Medicare Advantage plan could be affected.

Need help during the upcoming enrollment period?

Your Recommended Agent is Greg from BGA Insurance Group

greg gudis

Greg Gudis – Licensed agent ready to assist you during the enrollment period in October 2016. Please fill out the form below to send your information to Greg so that he can contact you with the best advice and plan information for your current situation. He can also provide expert advice on retirement planning, life insurance, and long-term care.

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The post Only One New Jersey Hospital Not Penalized by CMS for Medicare Reimbursement originally appeared on The Aging Adult Guide

Monday, August 29, 2016

Aetna to Leave Federal Insurance Marketplace in 2017

If you are a senior looking to enroll in Medicare for 2017, you may have heard that Aetna will be withdrawing from the federal health insurance marketplace in Pennsylvania in 2017. The reason for this is unexpectedly high claims which have resulted in massive losses of more than $430 million. This loss has come since the plans launched in January of 2014.

aetna

Here is a the information according to the Post-Gazette and Mark Bertolini, Chairman and CEO of Aetna:

Because of those losses, “We have decided to reduce our individual public exchange presence in 2017,” said Aetna Chairman and CEO Mark Bertolini said in a statement.

Aetna, headquartered in Hartford, Conn., will continue to participate in the Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia marketplaces next year while leaving 11 other states including Pennsylvania.

 

Pennsylvania Insurance Department Commissioner Teresa Miller said in a statement Tuesday that she was disappointed by Aetna’s decision, while acknowledging the insurer’s financial difficulties, but added that “all Pennsylvanians continue to have choices” among other insurers’ plans.

She said Aetna serves about 31,000 Pennsylvanians, representing about 6 percent of the state’s individual health insurance market.

Teresa Miller, Insurance Commissioner of PA had this to say:

It is unfortunate that decisions made by the federal government are negatively impacting Pennsylvania’s marketplace,” Commissioner Miller said, “but all of Pennsylvania’s marketplace consumers continue to have options and therefore will have access to the federal subsidies only available through the marketplace.

Read more here.

 

If you are a senior citizen in Pennsylvania that has had an Aetna Medicare coverage plan, you may be asking “what do I do now?”

There is no easy answer to this question, as it can be complicated to explain all of the details as it will greatly depend on your current health and financial situation. The best thing you can do at this time is to consult with a Medicare insurance broker agent to discuss alternatives.

Teresa Miller had more to say on this issue at a recent public hearing:

“The cost of health insurance and the impact these costs have on consumers is something my department takes very seriously when reviewing requests for rate increases,” said Commissioner Miller. “However, cost is not the only measure of impact on consumers. As Insurance Commissioner, I am also charged with ensuring this market is sustainable and that Pennsylvania’s consumers continue to have choices when they seek health insurance coverage.”

 

Miller said many health insurance companies have absorbed higher spending on healthcare in recent years, more than originally anticipated, and are looking to offset losses that might otherwise convince them to leave Pennsylvania markets.

 

“We’ve come a long way in a very short time, but the law is not perfect,” said Paula Sunshine, senior vice president and chief marketing executive of Independence Blue Cross, in reference to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). “We’re trying to balance both access and uncertainty. There are consequences to carriers not getting payments they expect.”

View the original source.

 

How does this affect my current plan? Should I enroll in new coverage?

This is a good question and many seniors are wondering the very same thing.

Seniors that are looking to replace a lost Medicare Advantage plan in PA should speak with a local insurance agent to ensure that they can continue their coverage without interruption. This can be a stressful or uneasy time but if you know what to do, things will work out.

You can learn more about Pennsylvania Medicare Advantage plans by visiting our resource which covers this information.

If you would like to schedule a consultation with an insurance broker in your area, we recommend the agent below.

Your Recommended Agent is Greg from BGA Insurance Group

greg gudis

Greg Gudis – Licensed agent ready to assist you during the enrollment period in October 2016. Please fill out the form below to send your information to Greg so that he can contact you with the best advice and plan information for your current situation. He can also provide expert advice on retirement planning, life insurance, and long-term care.

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The post Aetna to Leave Federal Insurance Marketplace in 2017 originally appeared on The Aging Adult Guide

Saturday, August 27, 2016

2017 Medicare Enrollment – Advice from PA Insurance Commissioner

Recently in Harrisburg, PA, Secretary of Aging and Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller provided a consumer alert that many seniors in Pennsylvania should acknowledge. The following is a breakdown of her advice and what should be done given that the 2017 … Read More

The post 2017 Medicare Enrollment – Advice from PA Insurance Commissioner originally appeared on The Aging Adult Guide

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

About Medicare Part A

How Medicare Part A Works

If you are turning 65 or you have recently found out that you are eligible for Medicare, you most likely have many questions. Figuring out how Medicare works is not always easy. There are two coverage choices with Medicare. You can get original Medicare or Medicare Advantage.

If you choose to get original Medicare, you will automatically get Part A coverage unless you choose Medicare Advantage. This coverage is for Part A, which is Hospital Insurance and Part B, which is Medical coverage. 


If you choose regular Medicare, you get coverage for 80 percent of all costs in most cases, but you are responsible for the remaining 20 percent out of your pocket. Private insurance companies provide Medicare Advantage plans. These plans cost you a monthly premium, but your coverage takes care of all expenses except for monthly premiums and deductibles or copayments.

Whichever way you choose to get Medicare, you will be covered under Part A for hospital care. Here is a guide to that section of Medicare. 

This is a general guide, and it should be noted that different individuals with certain circumstances like End-stage Renal Disease have to sign up specifically for Part A. More information can be obtained from the Department of Social Security.

Medicare Part A Services

Part A comes with either type of Medicare coverage. This coverage does not normally entail paying a premium. You use your red, white and blue Medicare card to get services from hospitals that participate in Medicare. You use your insurance-issued Medicare card for these services if you have a Medicare Advantage plan. 

Part A covers inpatient care when you are in a hospital. It also covers inpatient care at a skilled nursing facility. These facilities are not the same thing as long-term care facilities. Part A will also cover hospice care, home health care, and inpatient services in a religious non-medical health care facility. 

Part A coverage will also supply your hospital with blood from a blood bank. If your hospital has to buy the blood for you, you must pay the hospital for the first three units used in a calendar year. Otherwise, you can opt to have someone donate the blood to you.

These are general services covered by Medicare Part A. You can find out more about you are going to be covered specifically by contacting Social Security or by going online to the Medicare website. In order to understand Medicare Part B, read more on the next page.

Monday, August 15, 2016

How Medicare Part B Works

If you are turning 65 or you have become eligible for Medicare for another reason, you are probably confused about the different parts. There are two parts including A and B. You can also opt for  Part C which is comprised of independently sold insurance plans as well as Part D which is for prescription drug coverage.

 
However you get Medicare, you get Part B, generally speaking. This is the case whether you choose the “original” form which is what most people automatically get, or you choose an Advantage or Part C plan. Part B is medical insurance that includes doctor’s care, outpatient services, durable medical equipment and home health care.

 

Medicare Part B in More Detail


Part B takes care of those medical services which are deemed medically necessary. In Medicare terms, that means that the services and supplies are necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of a disease, injury or illness.

These services must fall under accepted standards of medical care, according to Medicare. This means that most naturopathic services would not be able to be covered under Part B if you chose to take that path for your care.

Some Part B services are preventative. This means that things like breast cancer screenings or cardiovascular disease screenings are covered.  Colorectal cancer screenings are also covered.  Other services that are covered are three month’s worth of CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure services.

Some of the durable equipment covered under Part B includes walkers or diabetes supplies. For diabetics, if the insulin is necessary to your health that will also be covered. In some cases, however, insulin is covered by Part D. It will also be important to understand the benefits of enrolling in a New Jersey supplement plan as opposed to a Medicare advantage plan.

Very often people want to consult with another doctor to get a second opinion regarding a proposed surgery. These second opinions are covered under Part B.

Flu shots are covered at least once per flu season. You can also get a glaucoma test once a year if you are at a high risk for it.

Hearing exams might be covered if your doctor deems them to be necessary as part of determining how to treat you for a hearing problem. Also, you may get one pair of eyeglasses if you get cataract surgery wherein you are given an intraocular lens.

There are many more health services covered under this section of Medicare. You can find out more by visiting Medicare online.