Category

Making the Most of your Medicare

New Medicare Drug Plan Regulations May Confuse Patients, Push for Trying Cheaper Options

By | Making the Most of your Medicare, Medicare

New regulations from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, puts new regulations on the private Medicare drug plan market to move towards use of cheaper drugs first. Referred to as “step therapy,” the push towards using the cheaper drugs first before more expensive alternatives are tried has been part of the regulations in the past but was not preferred by providers or patients. According to an article from ThinkAdvisor, “CMS says it will speed up its process for handling patient appeals related to the kinds of drugs affected by the new rules.” This will hopefully alleviate the concerns from previous attempts at moving towards a step therapy policy. A preliminary version of the final Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage drug price regulations is available here. For help understanding this and other changes in the Medicare marketplace, contact…

Read More

COBRA Reimbursement Pitfalls at Retirement

By | Making the Most of your Medicare

by: Eric Steinlage The last few years, I have seen an increase with large employers offering top employees a COBRA severance package when they decide to finally retire. This is often done to entice the employee to “stick around” for another year to train the employee taking over the retiree’s responsibilities. The employer will generally pay for up to 18 months of COBRA with little to no cost for the retiree. This situation can cause headache for the retiree when they come off the COBRA plan and try to find their own coverage. Most people are eligible for Medicare Part A and Part B at age 65 but, due to people working later, it is not uncommon for people to postpone Part B at age 65. This is due to their group plan offering better and more affordable coverage or “creditable coverage” to Medicare. This is a valid reason for…

Read More
state pensions healthcare cut medicare

State Health Benefits for Retirees Being Slashed: What You Need to Know

By | Making the Most of your Medicare, Understanding Health Care Reform

Many states are making significant cuts to healthcare options for retirees as the costs of medical care raise, a new article from the Wall Street Journal reports. The article, released on May 1st., 2019, highlights the issues many states share when it comes to fulfilling promised pension benefits that include healthcare coverage. History of State and Federally Covered Healthcare Benefits Historically, pensions were a savings vehicle for employees to plan their retirement, including healthcare coverage once they left the workforce. Pensions were available in both private and public sector jobs, only becoming less attainable by companies and organizations once vehicles like 401(k)s emerged as attractive options. If states were formerly employed by either the state in which they reside or the federal government, those entities would provide coverage for retirement benefits and even cover healthcare to some extent. How the 2008 Financial Crisis Impacted Retiree Healthcare Following the financial crisis…

Read More