How does Original Medicare work?

Original Medicare covers most, but not all of the costs for approved health care services and supplies. After you meet your deductible, you pay your share of costs for services and supplies as you get them. There’s no limit on what you’ll pay out-of-pocket in a year unless you have other coverage (like Medigap, Medicaid, or employee or union coverage). Services covered by Medicare must be medically necessary. Medicare also covers many preventive services, like shots and screenings. If you go to a doctor or other health care provider that accepts the Medicare-approved amount, your share of costs may be less. If you get a service that Medicare doesn’t cover,… Read More

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Explore Blue KC Small Group Dental Plans and Rates for New Business

Oral health is a key component of overall health and dental coverage, starting with regular checkups, can help prevent health issues and medical costs down the road. Blue KC small employer group dental coverage offers a selection of plans – with no waiting period – an extensive local and national provider network, competitive rates, plus a rewards program. Don’t hesitate to contact your Total Benefit Solutions health insurance specialists with any questions or concerns today at (215)355-2121.

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What is vision coverage?

A health benefit that at least partially covers vision care, like eye exams and glasses. All the plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace include vision coverage for children. Only some plans include vision coverage for adults. If adult vision coverage is important to you, check the details of any plan you’re considering. If your plan doesn’t include adult vision coverage, you can buy a “stand-alone” vision plan to reduce your vision care expenses. The Marketplace doesn’t offer stand-alone vision plans. To shop for stand-alone vision plans, contact an insurance agent or broker, or search for plans online. You can also contact your state’s Department of Insurance. As always, don’t hesitate… Read More

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10 Things to Know About Medicaid Managed Care

Managed care plays a major role in the delivery of health care to Medicaid enrollees. With 69% of Medicaid beneficiaries enrolled in comprehensive managed care plans nationally, plans have played a key role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and in the fiscal implications for states. This brief describes 10 themes related to the use of comprehensive, risk-based managed care in the Medicaid program and highlights significant data and trends. Understanding these trends provides important context for the role managed care organizations (MCOs) play in the Medicaid program overall as well as during the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) and in its expected unwinding. CMS released guidance for state… Read More

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Four Key Changes in the Biden Administration’s Final Rule on Medicare Enrollment and Eligibility

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule on October 28, 2022, to implement several changes in Medicare enrollment and eligibility that were included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (CAA). These changes are designed to minimize gaps in coverage for people who sign up for Medicare and improve access to care by shortening the gap between Medicare enrollment and coverage; creating new Special Enrollment Periods for individuals whose coverage would otherwise be delayed due to challenging circumstances, such as a natural disaster; and extending coverage of immunosuppressive drugs for certain beneficiaries with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) who would otherwise lose coverage for these drugs… Read More

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10 Things to Know About the Unwinding of the Medicaid Continuous Enrollment Requirement

At the start of the pandemic, Congress enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which included a requirement that Medicaid programs keep people continuously enrolled through the end of the month in which the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) ends, in exchange for enhanced federal funding. Primarily due to the continuous enrollment requirement, Medicaid enrollment has grown substantially compared to before the pandemic and the uninsured rate has dropped. But, when the PHE ends, millions of people could lose coverage that could reverse recent gains in coverage. The current PHE is in effect until January 11, 2023, and the Biden administration has said it will give states a 60-day… Read More

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What is COBRA?

A federal law that may allow you to temporarily keep health coverage after your employment ends, you lose coverage as a dependent of the covered employee, or another qualifying event. If you elect COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) coverage, you pay 100% of the premiums, including the share the employer used to pay, plus a small administrative fee. Have any questions regarding this notice? Please contact your Total Benefit Solutions health insurance specialists today at (215)355-2121.

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What is Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI)?

The figure used to determine eligibility for premium tax credits and other savings for Marketplace health insurance plans and for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). MAGI is adjusted gross income (AGI) plus these, if any: untaxed foreign income, non-taxable Social Security benefits, and tax-exempt interest. As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions health insurance specialists with any questions today at (215)355-2121.

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What is Medicaid?

Insurance program that provides free or low-cost health coverage to some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Many states have expanded their Medicaid programs to cover all people below certain income levels. Whether you qualify for Medicaid coverage depends partly on whether your state has expanded its program. Medicaid benefits, and program names, vary somewhat between states. You can apply anytime. If you qualify, your coverage can begin immediately, any time of year. As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions health insurance specialists with any questions today at (215)355-2121.

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Using your health insurance coverage & getting emergency care

In an emergency, you should get care from the closest hospital that can help you. That hospital will treat you regardless of whether you have insurance. Your insurance company can’t charge you more for getting emergency room services at an out-of-network hospital. I’m having an emergency. Should I go straight to the hospital or do I need to call my insurer first? In a true emergency, go straight to the hospital. Insurers can’t require you to get prior approval before getting emergency room services from a provider or hospital outside your plan’s network. What does it mean that insurance companies can’t charge me more? Insurance plans can’t make you pay… Read More

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What is the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC)?

An easy-to-read summary that lets you make apples-to-apples comparisons of costs and coverage between health plans. You can compare options based on price, benefits, and other features that may be important to you. You’ll get the “Summary of Benefits and Coverage” (SBC) when you shop for coverage on your own or through your job, renew or change coverage, or request an SBC from the health insurance company. As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions health insurance specialists today at (215)355-2121.

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Medicare Part D: A First Look at Medicare Drug Plans in 2023

During the Medicare open enrollment period from October 15 to December 7 each year, beneficiaries can enroll in a plan that provides Part D prescription drug coverage, either a stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP) for people in traditional Medicare, or a Medicare Advantage plan that covers all Medicare benefits, including prescription drugs (MA-PD). Highlights for 2023: For more information regarding Part D Plan Availability and Part D Premiums, click here. Have any questions regarding this notice? Don’t hesitate to contact your Total Benefit Solutions health insurance specialists today at (215)355-2121.

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What is the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)?

Insurance program that provides low-cost health coverage to children in families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to buy private insurance. In some states, CHIP covers pregnant women. Each state offers CHIP coverage and works closely with its state Medicaid program. You can apply any time. If you qualify, your coverage can begin immediately, any time of year. As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions health insurance specialists today at (215)355-2121.

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What is medical underwriting?

A process used by insurance companies to try to figure out your health status when you’re applying for health insurance coverage to determine whether to offer you coverage, at what price, and with what exclusions or limits. As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions health insurance specialists today at (215)355-2121.

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Can consumers who qualify for COBRA continuation coverage opt out of it and get coverage through the Marketplace instead?

Consumers who qualify for COBRA coverage can opt out of it and enroll in Marketplace coverage. However, voluntarily terminating COBRA continuation coverage does not make a consumer eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) based on loss of the COBRA continuation coverage. Note that all qualified enrollees eligible for COBRA continuation coverage can get the Marketplace subsidy, not just the employee who qualifies for the COBRA benefit, as long as they are not actually enrolled in the COBRA continuation coverage. Please contact your trusted Total Benefit Solutions health insurance specialists with any questions or concerns 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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Further Guidance Issued on Contraceptive Coverage

On July 28, 2022, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury (collectively, “the Departments”) issued FAQ Part to clarify protections for contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”). In January 2022, the Departments had issued guidance on the ACA Preventive Care Mandate, including contraception. The Departments issued FAQ Part 54: In response to reports that individuals continue to experience difficulty accessing contraceptive coverage without cost sharing; To clarify application of the contraceptive coverage requirements to fertility awareness-based methods and to emergency contraceptive; and To address federal preemption of state law. Employers sponsoring non-grandfathered group health plans should review the various preventive care requirements effective… Read More

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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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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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