Key Differences: Medigap Open Enrollment, AEP, and ICEP

Medigap Open Enrollment Period: six (6) month period starting the first of the month a beneficiary turns 65 or enrolls into Part B, whichever is later. Once in a lifetime EXCEPT for Guaranteed Issue situation or beneficiaries under 65. Annual Election Period (AEP): Medicare Advantage or PDP ONLY. Every year from October 15th to December 7th. Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP): Medicare Advantage Only. With most ICEPs, occurs 3 months prior, the month of and 3 months after a beneficiary’s 65th birthday. 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.

Continue Reading

Part D Senior Savings Model: Will there be a plan with higher premiums for insulin at a lower cost?

The Part D Senior Savings Model allows drug manufacturers to offer their discounts in the coverage gap, even when a Part D plan enhances cost sharing. This allows plans to offer a fixed, consistent cost sharing on insulin. This structure is estimated to save enrollees who take insulin $446 in annual out-of-pocket costs. Part D sponsor plan premiums vary and beneficiaries should find a Part D plan that provides coverage they want at the lowest total annual cost, premiums and out-of-pocket costs combined. As always, please contact your Total Benefit Solutions Medicare health insurance specialists at (215)355-2121 with any questions or concerns.

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids May Help People with Medicare

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently finalized a rule that will permit people with Medicare, and others, to purchase hearing aids online or in stores, at lower costs, and without a prescription. The long-awaited rule, which will go into effect in October, may make hearing aids more affordable for as many as 30 million adults who believe they have mild to moderate hearing loss, even if they have not had a hearing exam. Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized a rule that will permit people with Medicare, and others, to purchase hearing aids online or in stores, at lower costs, and without a prescription. The long-awaited rule, which will go into effect in October, may… Read More

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

What Are Medicare Guaranteed Issue Rights?

Continue Reading

How To Find a Doctor You Trust

How to Find a Doctor You Trust Get a list of in-network providers: Call your insurance company or look at their plan materials for a list of doctors in their network. You’ll usually pay less to see a doctor in your network than a doctor who’s out-of-network. You can also call your Broker and they can help assist you in getting the names of Doctors near you that accept your plan. Do your research: Ask friends and family if they recommend their doctors. You may even be able to read online reviews for doctors in your area. Online reviews are a great way to gauge things such as bedside manner and wait… Read More

Continue Reading

Important Info! HSA Limits for 2019

Continue Reading

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” prior to October 15th, 2018. Please follow this link for more information:   Medicare Part D Notification Requirements       As always, if you have any questions or concerns about this notification or your specific policy, please contact us at 215-355-2121

Continue Reading