2023 RxDC Reporting Instructions Released

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) recently updated its Prescription Drugs Data Collection (“RxDC”) reporting instructions for 2023 data. There are some noticeable differences. As previously reported, group health plan sponsors (typically employers) are required to submit information to CMS on prescription drugs and health care spending on an annual basis (“RxDC reporting”). The first reporting deadline for calendar years 2020 and 2021 was December 27, 2022 (extended to January 31, 2023). The next deadline for reporting on calendar year 2023 is June 1, 2024, which, despite being a Saturday, is a firm date. It should be noted that carriers, pharmacy benefit managers (“PBMs”), and third-party administrators (“TPAs”)… Read More

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Decisions for someone who is nearing age 65

As you near age 65, you need to learn about Medicare coverage choices and make several important enrollment decisions. This fact sheet will give you a list of the steps you shouldtake and tell you about resources to help you make your Medicare enrollment decisions. There can be penalties if you do not enroll on time, so it is best to complete these tasksat least 3 months BEFORE you turn 65. Please note you can enroll on Medicare Parts A & B with Medicare about 90 days before your 65th birthday. IF YOU ARE STILL WORKING and your company has less than 20 employees you still MUST enroll on Medicare… Read More

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What is the Part D Donut Hole in 2024?

The Medicare Donut Hole, officially called the Coverage Gap, refers to a stage in Medicare Part D plans where beneficiaries have to pay more for prescription drugs. Historically, after reaching a certain spending threshold, beneficiaries faced higher out-of-pocket costs for drugs until catastrophic coverage began. The Donut Hole was designed to encourage the use of more cost-effective medications and generic alternatives. As of 2024, the Donut Hole is not completely ending, but the percentage beneficiaries pay for prescriptions during this stage has been reduced. When a beneficiary and their plan have spent a total of $5,030 in 2024, they enter the Donut Hole. In this phase, they pay 25% of… Read More

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New Federal Rules: HHS 2023 Penalty Hike

In the world of healthcare compliance, staying up to date with federal regulations and guidelines is crucial to avoid costly penalties. One such regulation that affects healthcare providers and group health plans is the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, commonly known as the “Inflation Adjustment Act.” This act directs federal agencies to adjust civil monetary penalties to account for inflation. In a recent development, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued final rules on October 6, 2023, updating the civil monetary penalties for inflation. Understanding the Updated Penalties The adjusted penalties are applicable to penalties assessed on or after October 6, 2023. It’s… Read More

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Financial Support Soars for Mental Health Integration

Mental health is an essential component of overall well-being, and every American deserves access to quality mental health and substance use disorder treatment. Access to mental health care can be a transformative step in managing and coping with mental health concerns, allowing individuals to lead more fulfilling lives. This article explores the importance of integrating mental health services into other care settings and highlights the Collaborative Care Model (CoCM) as a promising approach to enhance access to mental health care. Expanding Access Through Integration Integrating mental health into broader healthcare settings is a pivotal strategy to increase accessibility and support for patients. The Collaborative Care Model, often abbreviated as CoCM,… Read More

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Medicare Supplement Insights: Protecting Your Wallet

In a world where healthcare costs are a growing concern for many, Medicare Supplement coverage has emerged as a reliable solution to bridge the gaps in original Medicare. As we delve into the latest data from 2021, including insights from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the California Department of Managed Health Care, and the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) from 2020, a compelling narrative about the significance of Medicare Supplement plans unfolds. Key Takeaways: 1. A Majority Embrace Medicare Supplement: In 2020, a staggering 54% of original Medicare enrollees without additional insurance coverage, such as Medicaid or employer-provided insurance, turned to Medicare Supplement policies for added peace of… Read More

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What is your Medicare Part D ANOC?

The Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) is a document that Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans are required to send to their members every year. The ANOC outlines any changes in coverage, costs, and more that will be effective in January 1. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare plan, your plan will send you an ANOC each fall. The ANOC includes information about any changes to your plan’s coverage, costs, and service area that will be effective in January 1. It’s important to review the ANOC carefully to understand how your plan’s coverage and costs may change in the upcoming year. If you have any questions or concerns about the changes, you can contact… Read More

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COBRA and Medicare: Complementary Health Insurance Explained

In today’s rapidly changing job landscape, it’s not uncommon for individuals to find themselves eligible for both Medicare and COBRA simultaneously. This dual eligibility can be a bit bewildering, but understanding how these two crucial insurance options interact is vital to making informed decisions that could impact your finances and peace of mind. Let’s delve into the intricacies of how COBRA works with Medicare and explore the options available to you. COBRA Unveiled First, let’s demystify COBRA. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is a federal program designed to provide a safety net for workers and their families. It allows you to maintain the health coverage provided by your… Read More

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Medicare Part D Notification Requirements

Employers sponsoring a group health plan with prescription drug benefits are required to notify their Medicare-eligible participants and beneficiaries as to whether the drug coverage provided under the plan is “creditable” or “non-creditable.” This notification must be provided prior to October 15th each year. Also, following the plan’s annual renewal, the employer must notify the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) of the creditable status of the drug plan. This information summarizes these requirements in more detail. What are the Notification Requirements About? Medicare Part D, the Medicare prescription drug program, generally imposes a lifetime penalty for late enrollment if an individual delays enrolling in Part D after initial eligibility… Read More

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Unlocking Medicare’s Potential: Top 3 Broker Benefits

It’s that time of year again – the Annual Open Enrollment period for Medicare is almost here, and it’s a crucial opportunity you won’t want to miss. If you’re eligible for Medicare, this is your chance to make important decisions about your healthcare coverage. Here are some compelling reasons why you should take advantage of this opportunity: Expert Guidance: Navigating the world of Medicare can be a complex and overwhelming task. Fortunately, during the Annual Open Enrollment period, you can access personalized advice and guidance from experienced brokers who understand the ins and outs of Medicare. These professionals can help you make informed decisions tailored to your unique healthcare needs.… Read More

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How can I get help with my Medicare Part A and Part B premiums?

(En español) States must help pay some of the Medicare costs for beneficiaries who have limited income and resources. Under these programs, states help pay for Medicare Part A and Part B premiums, deductibles and copayments. Some of these programs also pay additional Medicare expenses for elderly and disabled people. To find out if you are eligible for state help, contact your local medical assistance office. A representative can tell you the specific requirements and help you apply. If you have any questions or concerns please contact your Total Benefit Solutions, Inc Medicare health insurance specialist at (215)355-2121.

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Navigating the 2024 CMS Final Rule: What You Need to Know

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have set the stage for significant changes with their Final Rule provisions for 2024, slated to take effect on September 30, 2023. These updates will play a pivotal role as we gear up for the 2024 Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). The main points of the new rules Stay Informed: For more insights on these changes and additional updates, please visit the full 2024 CMS Final Rule here. As always if you have any questions or concerns about this bulleting please contact your Medicare health insurance experts at Total Benefit Solutions, Inc (215)-355-2121

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Are You Up To Date on Your Preventive Services?

Medicare covers a full range of preventive services to help keep you healthy and find problems early when treatment works best. Ask your doctor what services are right for you and use the document below to track appointment dates, times, and other important information. Download our Medicare check list sheet below to help you keep track of your Preventive Services! If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions, Inc Medicare health insurance specialist at (215)-355-2121.

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What’s Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)?

Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) is extra insurance you can buy from a private health insurance company to help pay your share of out-of-pocket costs in  Original Medicare. You must have Original Medicare – both Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance) – to buy a Medigap policy. Ask us today if you have questions about Medigap enrollment, rates or coverage at (215)355-2121.

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CMS Issues Final Rule, Making changes to MA and Part D

In April, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a Final Rule regarding the Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D programs. The Final Rule includes changes related to various aspects of those programs, including utilization management (UM) programs, Star Ratings, marketing and communications, health equity, provider directories, and network adequacy. Click here to read the bulletin

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What Additional Changes Are Being Made to Part D?

As of 2023, the out-of-pocket cost of insulin products is limited to no more than $35 per month in all Part D plans. In addition, adult vaccines covered under Part D, such as the shingles vaccine, are covered with no cost sharing. Starting in 2024, people with Medicare who have incomes up to 150% of poverty and resources at or below the limits for partial low-income subsidy benefits will be eligible for full benefits under the Part D Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) Program. The law eliminates the partial LIS benefit currently in place for individuals with incomes between 135% and 150% of poverty. Also starting in 2024, the calculation of the… Read More

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How Is the Medicare Part D Benefit Changing in 2024?

In 2024, costs in the catastrophic phase will change: the 5% coinsurance requirement for Part D enrollees will be eliminated and Part D plans will pay 20% of total drug costs in this phase instead of 15%. The 5% coinsurance requirement for Part D enrollees in the catastrophic phase will be eliminated In 2024, once Part D enrollees without low-income subsidies (LIS) have drug spending high enough to qualify for catastrophic coverage, they will no longer be required to pay 5% of their drug costs, which in effect means that out-of-pocket spending for Part D enrollees will be capped. In 2024, the catastrophic threshold will be set at $8,000. This… Read More

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What Does the Medicare Part D Benefit Look Like in 2023?

The standard design of the Medicare Part D benefit currently has four distinct phases, where the share of drug costs paid by Part D enrollees, Part D plans, drug manufacturers, and Medicare varies (Figure 1). (The Part D enrollee shares reflect costs paid by enrollees who are not receiving low-income subsidies.) If you have any questions or concerns please contact your Total Benefit Solutions, Inc Medicare health insurance specialist at (215)355-2121.

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Medicare Cheat Sheet: Download Today

Medicare insurance can seem complex on your own. We’re here to help! Medicareful is our easy-to-use Medicare plan finder that compares some of the available plans in your area and connects you with a Total Benefit Solutions, Inc. licensed sales agent who will guide you through enrollment. Whether it’s a Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage Part C Plan, or a Medicare Part D drug plan, we’ve got you covered. https://medicareful.com/totalbenefitsolutions Download our Medicare cheat sheet below to help you keep track of your most important points while shopping for a Medicare supplement! Contact Total Benefit Solutions, Inc today at 215-355-2121 or www.totalbenefits.net to get started. 

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Alert: 2023 mid-year IBC Group Medigap rate increase

Independence Blue Cross (Independence) recently received approval from the Pennsylvania Insurance Department to increase monthly premium rates effective July 1, 2023 for: The following plans did not have a rate increase: H with Rx, F(HD), N, and G(HD). Please review the 2023 Mid-Year Medigap Rate Increase – Medigap Security & Security 65 document for more information on call scripting and see below for related links for rate change letters and rate sheets.

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Independence: Annual Medicare Secondary Payer Group Size Collection Process

Independence Blue Cross (Independence) is required to collect information from group customers with 300 or fewer employees regarding their employer size to ensure proper coordination of benefits and reporting under the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) laws. This information is used by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to determine whether Independence or Medicare is the primary payer of claims for Medicare-eligible employees. We are mailing MSP notification letters this week to customers directing them to our MSP group size webpage, where they will find additional information on MSP and can complete a required survey. The survey must be completed by December 31. Customers will need their CID number (provided on the… Read More

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Medicare Advantage plans denying more inpatient claims

MA plans have adopted more restrictive criteria commonly used by commercial health insurance carriers, found consulting firm Crowe. Medicare Advantage plans denying more inpatient claims MA plans have adopted more restrictive criteria commonly used by commercial health insurance carriers, found consulting firm Crowe Healthcare systems have found themselves in precarious financial standing due to a dramatic increase in the number of inpatient claims being denied by health insurers based on the lack of medical necessity, according to data collected by accounting and technology firm Crowe. These level-of-care reimbursement disputes are especially rising in frequency among Medicare Advantage plans. Read the full story by clicking the link below. https://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/news/medicare-advantage-plans-denying-more-inpatient-claims As always if you have any… Read More

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What is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP) and why is it important?

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is different than the annual election period in the fall. The MA OEP happens annually from January 1st to March 31st. The OEP allows beneficiaries who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan to make a one-time change. Beneficiaries can use the Medicare OEP to: The Medicare OEP does not allow a beneficiary to change from one Part D plan to another Part D plan. The reason for the OEP is that Medicare beneficiaries are often confused about Medicare Advantage plans. They don’t understand how these plans work or they may not realize the plan has a network. Some Medicare beneficiaries try to make their… Read More

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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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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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