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New Medicare Card Mail-Out Delayed

Published by . Filed under Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B. Total of no comments in the discussion.

UPDATE: Medicare officials are delaying the mail out of the new Medicare cards to ramp up security measures and protect beneficiaries against fraud.

Beneficiaries living in Delaware, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia will begin receiving their new Medicare ID cards in May, not April, which was the date originally scheduled.

“We are working on making our processes even better by using the highest levels of fraud protection when we mail new cards to current Medicare beneficiaries,” said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Earlier this year, the CMS released a schedule for when the updated cards would be mailed out state-by-state. Congress ordered the schedule be redesigned to prevent fraud. 

The first wave of cards are being delayed by one month, but the rest of the schedule remains the same.

The cards will be mailed and will automatically transfer your coverage to your new Medicare number, your Medicare Beneficiary Identifier. New Medicare enrollees will automatically get the updated cards, regardless of where they live.

The anticipated mailing date for current Medicare Beneficiaries in Wisconsin will be after June 2018, and that is the same anticipated mailing date for Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

Courtesy of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services

The new Medicare cards will still be red, white and blue, but they will not have Social Security numbers, gender, signatures or any other personal information that could compromise your identity

They will have your new Medicare number, which is a randomly assigned 11-character number that is unique to you; it will not be shared with anyone else without expressed permission.

There is no cost to receive your new card, and you do not need to call to activate your new card. Medicare will never ask you to give personal/private information to get your new Medicare number and card, so beware if you are contacted about your new Medicare card.

If you are a current Medicare beneficiary, check with the Social Security Administration to make sure they have your correct address. To check, you can connect with the SSA at ssa.gov/myaccount or call 800-772-1213. 

To stay updated as more information is released about this Medicare update, subscribe to our FHK VIP listfollow us on Facebook and check out our blog.

Medicare Change: Therapy Cap Limits and What it Means to You

Published by . Filed under Medicare Part B. Total of no comments in the discussion.

 

The hard cap on outpatient physical, speech and occupational therapy under Medicare Part B is no more. Congress ended the two-decade long battle of making exceptions for therapy cap limits when the new federal budget passed in early February of this year.

Currently, Medicare beneficiaries will no longer have to worry about receiving medically necessary services that go over the previously set cap limit.

Our profession has faced many challenges over the years, and there will be more ahead,” said Amy Lamb, President of the American Occupational Therapy Association, in a press release.

“For today, we must celebrate the end of a senseless policy that threatened the health and well-being of Medicare beneficiaries and our profession for 20 years.”

Medicare beneficiaries who needed outpatient therapy services were subject to a hard cap of $2,010 in 2018. That hard cap will now be replaced by a targeted medical review when services reach $3,000.

 

The Medicare law limited how much beneficiaries received for medically necessary outpatient therapy services during one calendar year.

Those limits were known as therapy caps or cap limits.

For individuals with original Medicare and a Supplemental policy, with the Part B deductible baked into the premium, Medicare would pay its 80% and your supplement would pay the remaining 20%. Medicare would pay its share until the total amount paid by both you and Medicare would reach the cap limit.

Anything over that cap, you would’ve then needed to pay for.

You could qualify for an exception to the cap if you were receiving medically necessary therapy services that went over the limit, and that would have been done through your therapist and Medicare.

Today, beneficiaries do not have to worry about cap limits and going through extra hoops to get the medically necessary treatment they need.

 

The basic idea is this: outpatient therapy under Medicare had a $2,010 cap limit for 2018 and anything over that you would have needed to file for an exception if it was medically necessary. With this new reform, when therapy services reach $3,000 they are subject to a targeted medical review to continue treatment.

Keep in mind, that this is an original Medicare rule that has changed this year.

Most new Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage program (Part C), and it is not yet known how this change will be implemented and interpreted by these Medicare Advantage programs.

For now, we would assume there is no consumer-facing-change for individuals on a Medicare Advantage plan, as there are limits for these therapies.

However, there could be additional cost savings this year if you are enrolled in these kind of plans for 2018, and we should see these changes have a positive impact for 2019 Medicare Advantage plans.

To stay updated as more information is released about this Medicare update, subscribe to our FHK VIP listfollow us on Facebook and check out our blog.

Medicare Cards are Changing in 2018: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know 

Published by . Filed under Affordable Care Act, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, Medicare Part D, Wisconsin. Total of no comments in the discussion.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are removing Social Security Numbers from Medicare cards to help prevent fraud, fight identity theft and protect taxpayers with Medicare.

Medicare cards will now have a new Medicare Number, called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), that is a unique number to you and it will replace the Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN). New cards will start being mailed as early as April in states across the country, but here are five fast facts you need to know now about what to expect with this important Medicare change.

1. MEDICARE WILL MAIL YOU YOUR NEW CARD

Courtesy of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

The CMS is mailing out the new Medicare cards based on where you live between April 2018 and April 2019; there are seven mailing waves, and Wisconsin is in the third wave. The anticipated mailing date for Wisconsin will be after June 2018, and that is the same anticipated mailing date for Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota. Your new card will be mailed to the address you have on file with Social Security, and there is no cost for you.

2. YOU WILL HAVE A UNIQUE MEDICARE NUMBER

The main reason CMS is removing Social Security Numbers from Medicare cards is to protect people with Medicare from identity theft and fraud. Your Social Security Number will be removed from your Medicare card and you will be given a Medicare Number that is unique to you; it will not be shared with anyone else without expressed permission. The new Medicare number will have numbers and uppercase letters, and the number will be on your new Medicare card.

3. YOUR MEDICARE BENEFITS WILL NOT CHANGE

The new Medicare number system will not change Medicare benefits. The benefits you receive from Medicare will not be affected by this change. Once you receive your new Medicare card you can start using it right away.

4. YOU CAN KEEP USING YOUR HICN UNTIL YOU GET YOUR NEW CARD

There is going to be a transition period from April 2018 to April 2019 while the new Medicare cards are being mailed out, and you can keep using your HICN until you receive your new Medicare card with your new Medicare number. Once you receive your new Medicare card, destroy your old card and start using your new card right away. Protect yourself from fraud & identity theft by making sure no one can access the personal information on your old Medicare card.

5. MAKE SURE YOUR MAILING ADDRESS IS UP TO DATE

The new Medicare cards will start being mailed after June 2018 in Wisconsin, but make sure your mailing address is up to date. If your address needs to be corrected, contact Social Security at ssa.gov/myaccount or 1-800-772-1213. Medicare will never ask you to give personal/private information to get your new Medicare number and card, so beware if you are contacted about your new Medicare card.

To stay updated as more information is released about this Medicare update, subscribe to our FHK VIP listfollow us on Facebook and check out our blog.

*information and video courtesy of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services* 

Managing Changes In Your Retiree Employer Medicare Plan

Published by . Filed under Affordable Care Act, drugs, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part B, Medicare Part D, retirement, Wisconsin. Total of no comments in the discussion.

Wisconsin health insurance plans can save you money on prescription drugsRetirement comes with its own set of questions and things to look out for, especially with health insurance coverage for individuals who are eligible for Medicare. Retiree insurance coverage offered by a former employer or a retiring spouse’s employer is not a mandatory benefit, and the sponsoring employer may change premiums and benefits or cancel the plan entirely based on their internal needs. If you have group insurance from a retiree plan along with Medicare coverage, Medicare provides primary coverage and your employer-sponsored insurance is secondary. You are, however, responsible for the premiums on your retiree group plans and your Medicare coverage. The cost and coverage varies from company to employee, depending on which package is offered.

Group Retiree Insurance trends for 2017

medicareEmployer-sponsored plans usually include prescription drug coverage. Sometimes that group prescription drug coverage doesn’t meet the minimum requirements of a Medicare Part D plan and therefore is not considered “creditable” drug coverage. If this is not resolved by the group retiree then it will result in late enrollment penalties when an individual Part D plan is purchased.

In today’s market, Medicare Advantage plans provide comprehensive coverage for Medicare eligible beneficiaries and are priced to save significant premium dollars. As an incentive, employers providing qualified prescription drug benefits received a retiree drug subsidy (RDS) amounting to 28 percent of allowed costs. However, changes in the treatment of RDS along with the phase-in of Part D coverage as defined by Affordable Care Act (ACA) guidelines reduced the number of members in employee-sponsored plans.

Other policy changes encouraged employers to partner with Medicare Advantage plans to administer their group retiree plans. Reductions in Medicare payment rates caused dislocations as insurers withdrew from certain markets as the number of members grew.

Evaluating your Group Retiree Coverage

Group retiree benefits vary, and benefits may change as employee sponsors adjust to changes in the health care environment. Benefits may be reduced or altered, and plans may be non-renewed entirely.

According to federal guidelines, participation in the Medicare Part D program is voluntary, but foregoing enrollment when you first become eligible and deciding to enroll later may lead to late enrollment penalties unless you can prove creditable drug coverage in the intervening period. You are responsible for premium payments and cost-sharing portions, including copays, coinsurance and deductibles. However, income-based assistance is offered for Wisconsin residents. You do not have to buy other insurance plans to qualify for a Medicare Part D plan. Likewise, you are not required to carry Part D coverage to keep your Parts A and B plans.

Assessing Alternatives to Retiree Health Coverage

active retireesThe Wisconsin health insurance market is considered one of the most robust in the nation with several alternatives to choose from when it comes to private insurance coverage. Individual coverage is offered to retirees seeking health insurance plans for Medicare Part C, other-wise known as Medicare Advantage coverage. Some of the Medicare Advantage plans may include supplemental health insurance coverage. If you decide to go with a Medicare Advantage Plan, you cannot purchase a Medicare supplement policy. Medicare Advantage plans may include out-of-pocket expenses that are not usually part of Wisconsin’s standardized Medicare supplement policies. Your choice of health care providers may be limited by your plan’s guidelines.

Some employers are turning to the health exchanges for managed retiree health plans. They are also offering Health Reimbursement Accounts to cover out-of-pocket expenses. With this choice, options may be limited to insurance providers that the employer has chosen for channeling these funds. There is also an issue as to whether these exchanges favored by employers offer adequate options to members. These nationwide outfits aren’t representing all options and have no local knowledge of which hospital systems and plans are offered in Wisconsin and other states. They do not offer every Medicare Advantage plan available in Wisconsin and may provide limited or no coverage in certain areas.

Finding Assistance for Health Plan Selection

obamacare wisconsinMedicare agents must be knowledgeable about all the plans available to Wisconsin residents. Contact an agent who represents most or all plans to find the most suitable coverage for your situation. The agent you choose to work with should have in-depth knowledge of Wisconsin’s health insurance market and the relevant guidelines to advise clients properly. Wisconsin offers its own version of Medicare Supplemental Insurance, which includes the Wisconsin Basic Plan that provides coverage for benefits such as mental and home health services, which are not included in standard Medicare plans. There are additionally up to five optional benefit riders that can be added to the basic plan.

Open enrollment ended on December 7 but may be extended to December 31 for coverage effective January 1, 2017 if your plan was non-renewed. If you miss this deadline, you have a special enrollment period year-round whenever you think it’s best to leave your retiree Medicare coverage.

We are Wisconsin insurance experts who will help you obtain a special enrollment period any time during the year due if you meet certain guidelines. Not all Medicare coverage is created equal, but FHK agents study all the factors applicable to you to find the optimum solution to your health coverage needs. Contact our office today to start the process of finding the best insurance for you.

Call us at (414) 228-7555 , or click to review your retiree package at no cost and no obligation.

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2017 Medicare Parts A & B Premiums and Deductibles Announced

Published by . Filed under drugs, insurance company, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, Medicare Part D, open enrollment, retirement, Wisconsin. Total of no comments in the discussion.

piggy bank and stethoscopeDate: 2016-11-10
Title: 2017 Medicare Parts A & B Premiums and Deductibles Announced
Contact: press@cms.hhs.gov

2017 Medicare Parts A & B Premiums and Deductibles Announced
Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the 2017 premiums for the Medicare inpatient hospital (Part A) and physician and outpatient hospital services (Part B) programs.

Medicare Part B Premiums/Deductibles
Medicare Part B covers physician services, outpatient hospital services, certain home health services, durable medical equipment, and other items. Read More…

The Outlook for Affordable Health Insurance in Wisconsin

Published by . Filed under Affordable Care Act, health insurance exchange, insurance company, Wisconsin. Total of no comments in the discussion.

fall-sceneThe Affordable Care Act changed the health care landscape tremen­dously. The gradual rollout of ACA provisions paved the way for an additional 20 million Americans to obtain health care coverage, which would not have been possible without ACA, which is referred to as Obamacare. Based on the latest figures from Whitehouse.gov, nine in 10 Americans now have health coverage. While a large part of the population obtains health coverage through their employers, a significant number depend on the health insurance exchanges to find affordable health insurance in Wisconsin. State governments had the option of establishing their own marketplace or sending their residents to the federal exchanges. Wisconsin opted for the latter. Read More…

How Do Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicaid Work Together?

Published by . Filed under Medicaid, Medicare Advantage. Total of 3 comments in the discussion.
road-sign-with-medicare-advantage

What Is Medicare Advantage?

Health insurance can be confusing for many Wisconsin seniors and their families. Here are a few tips on what you should know before talking to a Milwaukee health insurance agent.

What Is Medicare Advantage?

Medicare Advantage, or Part C plans, aren’t provided by the government. They’re actually offered by private companies that have been approved by Medicare. As a result, the quotes and services you receive may vary.

What does a quote for Part C cover? With this plan, Medicare pays your provider a fixed sum each month. This money goes towards the qualified health care services you use.

Insurers that offer Part C can set their own policy rules and prices. Two quotes with equal dollar amounts may offer distinctly different coverages. Read More…

Open Enrollment 2017: Should I Stay or Should I Change My Plan?

Published by . Filed under Medicare Advantage, open enrollment. Total of no comments in the discussion.
Join us for our 2017 Medicare Meetings

Join us for our 2017 Medicare Meetings

Medicare Advantage plans and prescription drug plans are about to go into their Annual Open Enrollment Period (OEP). There are several reasons to review your Wisconsin 2016 plan with a licensed insurance agent each year.

Many individuals on Medicare in Wisconsin for plan year 2016 are currently enrolled in one of these top three: AARP United Healthcare’s Medicare plan, Humana’s Medicare plan, or Anthem’s Medicare plan. Many individuals on Medicare could be enrolled in a Medicare Supplement as well, along with a stand alone prescription drug plan. During the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, which goes from October 15 through December 7, 2016, you can shop both Medicare advantage plans and prescription drug plans (PDP). Read More…

The Most Affordable Health Insurance Wisconsin Citizens Can Get

Published by . Filed under health insurance exchange, open enrollment, Wisconsin. Total of no comments in the discussion.
affordable health insurance wisconsin

Making your prescriptions more affordable

You might ask, “What is the most affordable health insurance Wisconsin citizens can get?” That’s what FHK is here to answer for you. We understand in these trying times that affordable health insurance that does what you need it to is increasingly difficult to come by. We pride ourselves on being experts in the field of health insurance, and also finding you the best value of your payments.

Affordable Health Insurance Benefits to Consider

Outlining what is most important to you in a health insurance plan is step one. Knowing what you need and want is half the battle of finding affordable health insurance.

Consider the benefits you’re looking for: Read More…

Obamacare Wisconsin

Published by . Filed under Affordable Care Act, Wisconsin. Total of no comments in the discussion.
employees-on-fhk-sign obamacare wisconsin

FHK means experienced, personal service!

Since the introduction of Obamacare Wisconsin citizens have been in search for affordable health insurance plans to accommodate the increased deductibles associated with the transition. Having someone knowledgeable on the topic is just the first step. Trusting that person to recommend the best insurance plan for your needs is the next.

Trustworthy Agents

It’s already known that we provide the most knowledgeable employees in regards to health insurance. With that in mind, we hold them to the highest standards when it comes to the trust they hold between them and their clients. We have created a reputation of trust, and with that comes customer loyalty. We don’t lead people astray from the plan that best suits them and their unique needs. Each person is different, and that holds true with their needs in insurance. With the introduction of Obamacare those needs shifted and became even more complex. Being the forward thinkers that we are, we became experts in the changing system. Read More…