CMS Updates Medicare Enrollment Rules for 2023

On April 22, 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed implementation of parts of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA) to simplify Medicare enrollment. According to Medicare.gov, these changes will go into effect January 1, 2023. Generally speaking, the new Medicare enrollment rules will allow for a more straightforward enrollment process that reduces potential gaps in coverage. They also allow for more Special Enrollment Periods and extend some Part B coverage to certain beneficiaries. But, what are the specifics? All facts and figures can be found in CMS’ fact sheet on the provisions, unless specifically linked elsewhere. Current Medicare Enrollment Rules Currently, when Medicare coverage actually starts after enrollment… Read More

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When is the Part D Senior Saving Model expected to end? How many years is the model?

Since CMS is testing the Part D Senior Savings Model to lower costs and improve health care quality, it has a set period for when it’s available. Part D plans participating in the Model first became available on January 1, 2021. The Model extends until December 31, 2025, but the plans participating in the Model may change each year. Please contact your Total Benefit Solutions Medicare health insurance specialists at (215)355-2121, if you have any questions or concerns.

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Medigap Open Enrollment Period

Most beneficiaries get ONE Medigap Open Enrollment Period. The Medigap Open Enrollment Period cannot be changed or repeated. Under 65 Medicare beneficiaries get another Medigap Open Enrollment Period when they turn 65. As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions, Inc health insurance specialists with any questions or concerns at (215)355-2121.

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What is a Medicare Coverage Gap?

Most plans with Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) have a coverage gap (called a “donut hole”). This means that after you and your drug plan have spent a certain amount of money for covered drugs, you have to pay all costs out-of-pocket for your prescriptions up to a yearly limit. Once you have spent up to the yearly limit, your coverage gap ends and your drug plan helps pay for covered drugs again. As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions Medicare health insurance specialists today at (215)355-2121.

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Guaranteed Issue Rights

Guaranteed Issue (GI) rights are rights the beneficiary has in certain situations when insurance companies must offer certain Medigap policies. There are ONLY 7 situations where Guaranteed Issue Rights apply. Two of the most common are: Beneficiary is in a Medicare Advantage Plan, and the plan is leaving Medicare or stops giving care in their area, or the beneficiary moves out of the Medicare Advantage plan’s service area. Beneficiary has Original Medicare and an employer group health plan (including retiree or COBRA coverage) or union coverage that pays after Medicare pays and that plan is ending. Just like with the Medigap Open Enrollment Period, during a Guaranteed Issue: No eligibility… Read More

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What plans are part of the Part D Senior Savings Model?

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (also known as CMS, the federal agency that approves Medicare plans) announced Medicare Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage (MA-PD) and Part D prescription drug plans (PDPs) that are participating in the Model for Calendar Year (CY) 2022 in September 2021. You can call 1-800-MEDICARE to ask questions about enrollment, eligibility, and the Model, or visit Medicare Plan Finder at https://www.medicare.gov/plan-compare/ to search for coverage in your area and compare Part D plan options with the lowest prices for your prescriptions. You can also find a list of participating plans on the Model website at https://innovation.cms.gov/media/document/pdss-2022-model-landscape-file. If you have any questions, please contact… Read More

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Celebrity Medicare Sales Pitches Are Toned Down After Scrutiny

Soaring complaints and aggressive sales efforts result in tighter rules from regulators From WSJ.COM: If it’s football season, you can count on seeing Joe Namath on television, along with William Shatner and Jimmie “J J” Walker. They are the most prominent pitchmen for what has become an annual fall selling frenzy for Medicare Advantage policies.  After a surge in consumer complaints, and stiffer government rules, the sales pitches will likely be tamer this year. If there is confusion, “we’ll change things so it satisfies everybody and eliminates the confusion,” said Mr. Shatner, best known for his role as Captain Kirk in the “Star Trek” franchise  The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services toughened its… Read More

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Medicare Advantage (MA) Quick Facts

What is it? A Medicare Advantage Plan is a type of Medicare health plan offered by a private company, such as Independence Blue Cross, that contracts with Medicare to provide all Part A and Part B benefits. If enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, Medicare services are covered through the plan and aren’t paid for under Original Medicare. Plan types offered: Medicare Advantage Plans include Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) and Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO), for example. Independence offers Keystone 65 HMO as well as Personal Choice 65 PPO. Medical Coverage: If enrolled in a HMO, members must choose a PCP (which also will coordinate referrals) and must stay In-Network. PPO… Read More

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What kind of plans can participate in the Part D Senior Savings Model?

Most Medicare Part D plans that people choose from during Open Enrollment can participate in the Model. This includes stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs) as well as Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans (MA-PDs) that offer enhanced alternative Part D coverage. Private fee-for-service plans (PFFS plans), employer/union only direct contact plans (local coordinated care plans, prescription drug plans, PFFS plans), section 1876 cost contract plans, dual-eligible special needs plans (D-SNPs), section 1833 health care prepayment plans, Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) organizations, Medicare-Medicaid plans, and religious fraternal benefit plans (local coordinated care plans and PFFS plans) aren’t eligible to participate in the Model. Please contact… Read More

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Medigap Quick Facts

What is it? A Medigap policy (also called “Medicare Supplement Insurance”) is private health insurance that’s designed to supplement Original Medicare. This means it helps pay some of the health care costs (“gaps”) that Original Medicare doesn’t cover, like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Play types offered: Insurance companies can sell only a “standardized” policy identified in most states by letters. Independence Blue Cross offers Plans A, B, F, F-HD, G, G-HD, and N. Medical Coverage: No selection of a PCP is required; members are able to choose any doctor or hospital as long as they accept Original Medicare. This also allows for no referrals and no network. Prescription Drug Coverage:… Read More

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What is the Part D Senior Savings Model?

The Part D Senior Savings Model allows participating Part D prescription drug plans to offer a broad set of formulary insulins at a maximum $35.00 copayment per month’s supply, throughout the deductible, initial coverage, and coverage gap phases of their Part D drug coverage. This means that participating Part D plans offer enrollees predictable, stable copayments for insulin to help enrollees save money on their drug costs. If you have any questions, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions Inc Medicare specialists at (215)355-2121.

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MACRA: Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015

Since January 1, 2020, Medigap plans sold to people new to Medicare aren’t allowed to cover the Part B deductible. Because of this, Plans C and F are no longer available to people who were “new to Medicare” on or after January 1, 2020. For this situation, people “new to Medicare” are people who turned 65 on or after January 1, 2020, and people who got Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) on or after January 1, 2020. If you already have either of these 2 plans (or the high deductible version of Plan F) or you were covered by one of these plans before January 1, 2020, you will be… Read More

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Medigap Guaranteed issue rights

Guaranteed Issue Rights (Also Called “Medigap Protections”) are rights you have in certain situations when insurance companies must offer you certain Medigap policies. In these situations, an insurance company: Must sell you a Medigap policy Must cover all your pre-existing health conditions Can’t charge you more for a Medigap policy because of past or present health problems In most cases, you have a guaranteed issue right when you have other health coverage that changes in some way, like when you lose the other health coverage. In other cases, you have a “trial right” to try a  Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C)  and still buy a Medigap policy if you change your mind.… Read More

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Best Time to Buy a Medigap Policy

The best time to buy a Medigap policy is during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period. The Medigap Open Enrollment Period lasts for 6 months and begins on the first day of the month a beneficiary turns 65 or enrolls in Part B, whichever is later. Under 65 Medicare beneficiaries get a second Medigap Open Enrollment Period when they turn 65. The professionals at Total Benefit Solutions, Inc are here to help you understand your Medicare health insurance choices. Call us today at (215)355-2121.

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Medicare & Coronavirus

Medicare covers the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost to you. Medicare covers the vaccine for anyone who has Medicare due to their age, a disability, End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), or ALS (also called Lou Gehrig’s disease). Be sure to bring your Medicare card. To learn more about Medicare and the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters, click here. If you have Medicare and have a disability or face other challenges in getting to a location away from home for a vaccination, Medicare will pay a doctor or other care provider to give you the COVID-19 vaccine in your home. You may need to give them your Medicare Number for billing, but there’s… Read More

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What’s Not Covered by Part A & Part B?

Medicare doesn’t cover everything. Some of the items and services Medicare doesn’t cover include: Long-Term Care (also called custodial care ) Most dental care Eye exams related to prescribing glasses Dentures Cosmetic surgery   Acupuncture   Hearing aids and exams for fitting them Routine foot care To find out if Medicare covers a test, item, or service you need, click here. The professionals at Total Benefit Solutions, Inc are here to help you understand your Medicare Health Insurance choices. Call us today at (215)355-2121.

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Did you know? Aetna Medicare Supplement Members can pay their premiums now at CVS stores?

Members with Aetna Medicare Supplement policies can now pay their monthly premiums at their local CVS store. Their billing statements (for premiums less than $999) will have a unique barcode, which they can take to their local CVS store. The cashier will scan it just like they do any other CVS merchandise. Members can then pay their premiums by cash, debit card, or credit card. NOTE: The pay in store option is not available at CVS in Target stores at this time. If you have any questions, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions, Inc Medicare supplement specialists at (215)355-2121

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Case Study Library

We present a few case studies to illustrate how we have helped our clients solve their complicated employee benefit challenges. Click here to learn more!

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Time to Prepare for Medicare Part D Notice Requirements

An important deadline is approaching quickly – October 15 for the Medicare Part D notice requirement. The creditable-coverage notice must be given to all Part D-eligible individuals who are covered under, or apply for, an employer’s prescription drug benefits plan. This requirement applies to Medicare beneficiaries who are active employees and those who are retired, as well as Medicare beneficiaries who are covered as spouses under active or retiree coverage. Click here for a video explaining Medicare Part D notices. Please contact your Total Benefit Solutions Inc Medicare health insurance specialists at (215)355-2121 if you have any questions or concerns.

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Clarification of the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for Government Entity-Declared Disaster or Other Emergency

The memo clarified that the COVID-19 pandemic does not currently qualify for the SEP for Government Entity-Declared Disaster or Other Emergency (disaster SEP); however, it does qualify for the Exceptional Circumstances SEP. What you need to know: As a result of this guidance, do not submit enrollments for clients impacted by COVID-19 using the disaster SEP. Going forward, any new enrollments submitted for this reason will be declined.

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What are Medicare Supplements? Medicare Basics The Series

The professionals at Total Benefit Solutions, Inc are here to help you understand your Medicare Health Insurance choices. (215)355-2121

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What is the IRMAA Surcharge?

What is the IRMAA Surcharge? The income-related monthly adjustment amount (IRMAA) sliding scale is a set of statutory percentage-based tables used to adjust Medicare Part B and Part D prescription drug coverage premiums. The higher the beneficiary’s range of modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), the higher the IRMAA. Want to apply for relief from the IRMAA charges? The form required is posted below, just download and complete the form!

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Lower 2023 Medicare Part B Premium Could Be on the Way

Some changes in the health care industry resulted in expected cost savings for the Medicare program for 2022. CMS’ recent announcement states they plan on passing these savings to consumers via their 2023 Part B premium. Click here to read the details on the lower Part B Premium Please contact your Total Benefit Solutions Inc Medicare health insurance specialists at (215)355-2121 if you have any further questions or concerns.

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