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2018 Baby Boomer Deals in Milwaukee

Published by . Filed under Lifestyle, Wisconsin. Total of no comments in the discussion.

With age comes some great perks: senior discounts. Across the state there are some great deals for Baby Boomers +. Specifically, savings when it comes to food and entertainment. Why stay at home when you can go out, have a great time and save! Here are some of the discounts available in Milwaukee:

Free Greek Fest Admission

Friday, June 22 – 24 • 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm

Greek Fest is filled with music, food and dancing, but the best part is that admission is FREE for all ages. Located at State Fair Park, Greek fest is perfect for enjoying culture with family and friends.

PHOTO: German Fest

Free Summer Fest Admission

Tuesday, July 3 • 12:00pm – 4:00 pm

Festival goers 60 and up get FREE admission when they check in at the designated turnstile at any gate on Tuesday, July 3; you must enter the festival before 4:00pm. Summer Fest is also offering $2 off any food and non-alcoholic beverage purchase over $10 that day for seniors. For more information, make sure to check out Summer Fest’s website.

PHOTO: AXS

Saving Big at the Milwaukee Air and Water Show

Saturday, July 21 – Sunday, July 22 • 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

This air show brings in a big crowd, but it also brings in big savings! Seniors 60+ and veterans get big discounts and can save up for $30.00 off the adult ticket price, depending on the type of ticket they purchase. For more information and to purchase tickets check out their website milwaukeeairshow.com

PHOTO: Milwaukee Independent

Huge Savings at German Fest

Friday, July 27 – Sunday, July 29 • 12:00 pm to 12:00 am *daily hours vary

Almost all the different cultural festivals throughout the city offer a senior discount, but German Fest offers a 50% discount for patrons 60 and older! You pay $8.00 instead of the $15.00 adult admission fee, now that is a great deal.

PHOTO: Wisconsin Gazette

Discounted State Fair Admission

Tuesday, August 2 – Sunday, August 12 • 8:00 am – 11:00 pm Daily *weekend hours differ

Seniors 60 and over get $6 off the adult ticket price! Those can be purchased ahead of time or at the gate, adult tickets cost $14 and the senior discount gets you in for $8.

PHOTO: Visit Milwaukee

Half-Price Brewers Tickets

Now – Wednesday, August 22

If you’re 60 years old and above, you can save 50% on Brewers tickets for all weekday afternoon home games at Miller Park. There are some exclusions, the discount does not apply to Cubs Games, the Miller Lite Beer pen, All-Inclusive Areas, Platinum, or Uecker Seats. 

PHOTO: Journal Sentinel

Free Day at the Milwaukee County Zoo

Friday, August 31 • 9:00 am to 1:00 pm

Are you 55 years old or over? Well then you get to enjoy a special FREE day at the zoo for their annual Senior Celebration event! There is entertainment, bingo and health and wellness offerings. A free day at the zoo? Now that is a steal.

PHOTO: Shepard Express

Young at Heart Movie Specials

Available Every Friday • Opening – 5:30 pm

For anyone 60 and over, every Friday Marcus Theatres offers their Young at Heart movie special – $6.00 for any movie that starts before 5:30pm. There are also concession specials, but be warned there is an additional charge for 3D and Ultra Screen movies.

PHOTO: Marcus Theaters

Save and Play with the Milwaukee Golf Discount Card

Available Now

People 60 years old and older save over 50% on greens fees and earn rewards points for free golf with the Milwaukee County Golf Discount Program. To join, you can register online and pay to join for one, two or three years. As soon as you’re registered, you can start earning rewards points to get those free rounds of golf in addition to getting a 59% discount off greens fees.

PHOTO: Biz Journal

Milwaukee Public Museum Discount and Free Days

Available Now

Seniors get $4.00 off the regular adult admission fee, so you only pay $14! In addition to offering daily discounts, they also offer free admission on specific holidays: Veterans Day – Free for Veterans and current members of the military , Grandparents Day – Free for Grandparents, Memorial Day – Free for Veterans and current members of the military

PHOTO: Milwaukee Public Museum

Symphony Savings

Available Now

Are you a lover or classical music? Well, seniors 65 or older can get 50% off regular priced MSO tickets on the day of the concert. Tickets must be purchased in person at the Marcus Center Box Office, Pabst Theater Box Office, or presenting venue and the discount is not available for Friday morning or Sunday matinee concerts.

PHOTO: Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

Savings at the Milwaukee Art Museum

Available Now *veteran discount available through Labor Day 2018

The Milwaukee Art Museum has beautiful, world class galleries and they also have great discounts for seniors & veterans. If you’re 65 or over, you will receive $2.00 off the adult admission fee and if you’re a veteran, you and one guest get FREE admission through Labor Day. Now those are some good deals.

PHOTO: Fox 6 News

60+ Discount at Culver’s

Available Now *location participation varies

Save 10% on your order at Culver’s if you’re 60+! Make sure to ask the cashier if the location you are at has this discount, and enjoy the savings.

PHOTO: Culver’s

Breakfast Deal at the Original Pancake House

Available Now *location participation varies

Who doesn’t love a good breakfast for a good price? The Original Pancake House offers a 10% discount on regular priced entrees for customers 55 and older on Fridays! Stop in from open to close on a Friday to get this deal.

PHOTO: Original Pancake House

Milwaukee Repertory Ticket Specials

Available Now

Milwaukee Repertory Theater offers a $5.00 off discount for patrons 65 or older for select performances. The discount is valid for a single ticket purchase, and it is subject to availability. To learn more information or to inquire about availability, you can call the ticket office at 414-224-9490.

PHOTO: Milwaukee Repertory Theatedr

Get Discounts with Amtrak

Available Now

Amtrak travelers 65 and over are eligible for a 10% discount on most Amtrak trains. There are limitations on which trains and what type of ticket you can use the discount on, so make sure to look online or ask when purchasing.

PHOTO: Digital Trend

Go with Milwaukee County Transit System

Available Now

Milwaukee County residents 65 or over can register for the MCTS Go Pass! The buss card gives local seniors a significant discount on bus fare. There are eligibility requirements, so make sure to check online at ridemcts.com/fares-passes/go-pass to see if you meet the requirements.

PHOTO: Journal Sentinel

Usinger’s Sausage Savings

Available Now

Everybody loves Usinger’s sausage, and you’re going to love their discount! Seniors receive a 10% discount on products every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at the Old World Third Street deli. You must purchase in person at the deli to receive the discount.

PHOTO: Usinger’s

Discovery World Deals

Available Now

Any discount can help you save, and Discovery World offers a $3.00 discount off their regular adult admission to patrons over 60. They also offer a military discount of $5.00 off the adult admission, so make sure to bring your military ID if you are a veteran.

PHOTO: Discovery World

Half-Price Florentine Opera Company Tickets

Available Now

You can finally afford to see as many operas as you want with the great senior discounts the Florentine Opera Company offers. There are two discount opportunities: tickets purchased ahead of time receive a 15% discount and tickets purchased one hour before the show at the Marcus Center Box Office receive a 50% discount. Those are savings that can make you sing.

PHOTO: Florentine Opera Company

Take a Class for Fun at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Available Fall 2018

If you’re thinking about doing something different and interesting this fall, senior community members can audit a class at UWM for a low cost! “Auditing” a class means taking a class for personal enrichment, not for credit and Wisconsin residents 60 years and older may qualify to audit classes for free. Enrollment is based on available space and some classes are not available to auditors.

For more information, call the UWM Office of Adult and Returning Student Services at 414-229-4672.

PHOTO: University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Why Long-Term Care (LTC) Makes Sense With Life Insurance

Published by . Filed under Long-Term Care, Medicaid. Total of no comments in the discussion.

When people begin to think about aging, retirement and preservation of assets, two important insurance products that are integral to the planning process are life insurance and long-term care (LTC) insurance.

We understand the discussions surrounding preservation of assets and retirement planning can be difficult, involving many moving parts from emotions to finances.  Life insurance can provide a loved one with financial security in the event of an untimely death, but most people don’t realize that preserving assets can also be achieved by using a specific life insurance design: life insurance with living benefits for long-term care.

A NATIONWIDE PROBLEM

Most people don’t realize the true cost of long-term care and therefore do not plan accordingly.  

A  2016 study published by the Center for Insurance Policy and Research reports that 52.3% of people turning 65 will have a long-term care need during their life.

A new report, released by Genworth Financial, states that the average cost of LTC is over $97,000 a year in today’s terms, for two to three years on average. That same report also found that two-thirds of Americans’ polled expected government programs to cover all or part of the cost of LTC.

Medicare is perceived by many to cover the costs of LTC needs, but unfortunately that’s not true.  Medicare will only provide a limited amount of coverage for temporary LTC. Some government programs only kick in after a person has undergone Medicaid spend-down.

Custodial care services can result in people being in a nursing home for years, potentially draining their own money and assets.

Source: Jama Network & Kaiser Family Foundation

LONG-TERM CARE 101

LTC refers to the services people need when a chronic illness such as Parkinson’s or dementia strikes.  To qualify for LTC benefits you need to be unable to perform at least two out of the six activities of daily living (ADL’s): Bathing, Continence, Dressing, Eating, Toileting and Transferring, or the doctor has certified you have Alzheimer’s or some other dementia.  

TRADITIONAL LONG-TERM CARE POLICY

This type of policy simply pays the benefit amount for LTC  services such as: home health care, nursing homes, adult day care and assisted living.

The advantages of this type of policy are:

  • Asset Protection – nursing facilities can cost upwards of $12,000 per month
  • Choosing care in your own home or a facility of your choice
  • Your premiums may be tax deductible
  • Estate preservation through Wisconsin Partnership program

These policies provide a great level of protection, however, it may not be the most efficient use of your premium dollars.  

LIFE INSURANCE WITH LIVING BENEFITS

Life insurance is fairly simple, you pay premiums and the face amount is paid upon death.  So why would you want to look into combining a LTC policy with life insurance?

The advantage of combining these two policies is the access to a death benefit along with living benefits for LTC protection. This design achieves a fixed premium for the lifetime of the policy which is crucial when approaching estate planning.

Source: Jama Network & Kaiser Family Foundation

This mean you have a death benefit, but if you need LTC you can draw from that benefit. This pairing locks in your premium and benefits are guaranteed.

The LTC rider on these life policies has the same triggers as a stand-alone LTC policy.  Plus, this guarantees your premiums paid into this policy are never a waste of money; death or a LTC need will  occur, sometimes both.

Life Insurance policies with a LTC rider can provide the following:

  • Nursing home costs
  • Home healthcare
  • Assisted living
  • Adult day care
  • International benefits
  • Caregiver training
  • Hospice services

NEXT STEPS

There are four main areas to consider when you are purchasing a life insurance with LTC rider policy: age, health, premium funding method and expected income over time.  These factors directly impact the type of policy you purchase.

Making decisions about what type of coverage is right for you can be daunting, but there are things you can do to ensure the decision process results in a plan that best suits your needs.

  • Be upfront and specific about current health conditions and doctor usage
  • Work with an advisor who compares costs between policies
  • Have a general idea of what you need to protect
  • Know your current policies (life insurance, LTC, annuities, etc)

We can’t predict the future, but the statistics tell us that 50% of people will have a LTC need in their lifetime.

You can take the first step by calling FHK Insurance or emailing JJKravit@FHKinsurance.com for a life insurance audit and a LTC needs analysis.

Consider sitting down with an expert to protect your assets today, but more importantly for your future.

J.J. Kravit, VP of FHK Insurance

8 Foods Everyone Over 50 Needs to Eat

Published by . Filed under Lifestyle. Total of no comments in the discussion.

Courtesy: ADW Diabetes

Eating healthy is important at all stages of life, but it is even more crucial once you are over 50. By making sure you are getting key nutrients in your diet you can help prevent serious illness and disease. Here are eight foods that everyone over the age of 50 should eat to improve their health.

Beans

Courtesy: Healthline

Navy beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, kidney beans, black beans: they are all rich in antioxidants, B vitamins, protein, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium and fiber. Eating a variety of beans has been linked to improved heart health, low blood sugar, a lower risk of developing cancer, stronger muscles and improved brain function. Beans pack a major nutritional punch that can help those over 50 stay healthy for longer.

HOW TO EAT: Beans are a great tossed with a salad, mashed up and eaten with rice, cooked in a low-sodium soup or smashed into a hamburger patty.

Beets

Courtesy: Read the Spirit

This root vegetable is a great source of vitamins and minerals. Beets are full of nitrates that can increase blood flow to the brain, which can help to combat dementia. Those nitrates can also lower blood pressure and the fiber in beets can improve cholesterol, making the vegetable a great way to help improve heart health.

HOW TO EAT: You can cut one up and put it on a salad, drink it as juice, roast it with other veggies or eat it on its own. If the flavor is too bitter for you, you can blend it into a smoothie to help mask the taste.

Sardines

Courtesy: Stack

Chances are you either really like these little fish or you can’t stand them. However, giving sardines a chance could actually be great for you if you are over the age of 50. They have 20 grams of protein on average in one serving and are full of great vitamins like B12, Omega-3 and phosphorus. These vitamins can improve memory, reduce stress, fight inflammation and promote healthy skin and bones.

HOW TO EAT: Eat them on their own straight out of a can, add them to a salad or eat with crackers & cheese. If you’re not keen on the fishy flavor of sardines you can chop them up and put them into a pasta sauce to help hide the taste.

Turmeric

Courtesy: Diabetes Self-Management

This spice is the ingredient that gives curry its yellow color, but a little-known fact is that is can improve memory and mood in adults over 50; those who have mild memory loss can benefit a ton from the healthy-brain-function qualities of this spice. Turmeric is packed full of antioxidants that can improve liver function, lower cholesterol and help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

HOW TO EAT: Because Turmeric is a spice, so you can add it to anything you would add herbs or spices to. Sprinkle some on your eggs in the morning, toss it on roasted veggies, incorporate it into soups or pasta sauces. It adds a punch of flavor that is packed full of important nutrients.

Avocado

Courtesy: California Avocado Commission

Avocado’s are big with the younger crowd because of their flavor and nutrients, but the older crowd should enjoy this fruit too! They are filled with healthy fats that can help lower cholesterol and antioxidants that help fight disease. These nutrients can help lower blood sugar and blood pressure as well.

HOW TO EAT: Slice it up and add it to a sandwich or salad, smash it on a piece of toast or add it to a smoothie. Another great way to eat avocado is to make it into guacamole and dip carrots or celery into it.

Sauerkraut

Courtesy: Bite

A German delicacy that promotes great health benefits. Sauerkraut is full of probiotics, and increasing your intake of probiotics can lead to improved digestion because of all the good bacteria they leave in your intestines. Make sure to eat it unpasteurized though because that will have the most probiotics in it.

HOW TO EAT: Sauerkraut can be added to anything! Put it on a sandwich, add it to an omelet, you can even eat it on its own. Just be mindful of the high sodium levels it can have, rinsing it off first can help get rid of some of that extra salt.

Kale

Courtesy: Healthline

Leafy greens are great for your immune system, but Kale offers even more nutritional benefits. It is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the plant; a single serving is packed with vitamin A, K, C, B6, calcium, copper, potassium and magnesium. These vitamins can boost your immune system, and also give you healthy skin, help maintain strong bones, prevent blood clots and protect against cancer.

HOW TO EAT: Kale is like any other leafy green, so you can add it to sandwiches, salads, smoothies. A fun way to eat this vegetable is to bake it into chips for a crunchy, healthy snack.

Dairy

Courtesy: Financial Tribute

People think eating full-fat dairy is bad for you, but it has great health benefits. Full-fat dairy can give you high levels of calcium needed for bone health and, in a 2016 study published by Harvard, people who ate more full-fat dairy had a 50 percent lower risk of developing type-two diabetes than those who didn’t. Dairy can also help keep you full and curb hunger so you don’t eat bad-carbohydrates like breads and pastas.

HOW TO EAT: You can add whole milk to your coffee, eat yogurt in the mornings or have cheese as an afternoon snack. Make sure to only have one serving of full-fat dairy a day because it is higher in calories.

New Medicare Card Mail-Out Delayed

Published by . Filed under Medicare Advantage, 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 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 & Prescriptions, 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.

button-request-a-call

2017 Medicare Parts A & B Premiums and Deductibles Announced

Published by . Filed under Drugs & Prescriptions, Medicare Advantage, 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, 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…