Inflation Reduction Act: Establishing the Negotiated “Maximum Fair Price” for Medicare

The upper limit for the negotiated price of a drug (the “maximum fair price”) is equal to the lower of: The drug’s enrollment-weighted negotiated price (net of all price concessions) for a Part D drug; The average sales price for a Part B drug; or A percentage of the non-federal average manufacturer price (i.e., the average price wholesalers pay manufactures for drugs distributed to non-federal purchasers), depending on FDA approval date: 75% for small-molecule drugs more than 9 years but less than 12 years beyond FDA approval; 65% for drugs between 12 and 16 years beyond FDA approval; and 40% for drugs more than 16 years beyond FDA approval Financial… Read More

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Part D Senior Savings Model: Will step therapy apply with insulin drugs?

Step therapy is when a Part D plan requires enrollees to first try certain drugs to treat a medical condition before the plan will cover another drug for that condition. The Model doesn’t change Part D sponsors’ formulary requirements. Enrollees can find out if the insulin or insulins they use have any additional step therapy requirements or limits by looking at the Part D plan’s formulary. Have any questions regarding this notice? Please contact your Total Benefit Solutions Medicare health insurance specialists at (215)355-2121.

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What Insulin Drugs are Covered Under the Part D Senior Savings Model?

Part D sponsors are required to include at least one vial and pen dosage form for each of the different types of Model insulins, where available – rapid acting, short-acting, intermediate-acting and long-acting – at a maximum $35 copay for a one-month supply through the deductible, initial coverage, and coverage gap phases of the benefit. Part D sponsors are encouraged to include additional insulin formulations, such as concentrated insulins, at the same $35 copay for a one-month supply. The Model doesn’t affect the cost sharing of insulin covered under Part B. For a full list of the insulin drugs covered by each plan, as well as which drugs are covered… Read More

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Prescription Drug Provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act

For the first time, requires the federal government to negotiate prices for some top-selling drugs covered under Medicare Requires drug companies to pay rebates if prices rise faster than inflation for drugs used by Medicare beneficiaries Eliminates 5% coinsurance for catastrophic coverage in Medicare Part D in 2024, adds a $2,000 cap on Part D out-of-pocket spending in 2025, and limits annual increases in Part D premiums for 2024-2030 Limits monthly cost sharing for insulin products to $35 for people with Medicare Expands eligibility for Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy full benefits Eliminates cost sharing for adult vaccines covered under Medicare Part D and improves access to adult vaccines under… Read More

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Understanding the Health Care Provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act

The Inflation Reduction Act includes several landmark health care provisions that would lower prescription drug costs for people with Medicare, reduce Medicare drug spending and extend enhanced subsidies for Affordable Care Act marketplace coverage. On Thursday, August 11, a panel of KFF experts held a web briefing to explain these provisions and how they would affect people and federal health spending, followed by a Question and Answer session. Click here to open article and view Web Event video. The legislation for the first time would require the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate directly with drug manufacturers over the price of some high-cost drugs in the Medicare… Read More

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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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