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medicare

Medicare Part B

The next letter in our Medicare alphabet soup is Part B. Part B is essentially medical insurance that covers doctor’s services, outpatient care, home health services, and durable medical equipment. It will also cover some other services as well as well as many preventative services. As far as what doctors will and will not cover Part B depends on whether or not they have agreed to assignment. Assignment is simply your doctor or another health care provider agreeing to be paid directly by Medicare and be willing to accept the payment amount that Medicare decides is the value of the service. Agreement also means the doctor or health care provider cannot charge you any more than what the deductible and coinsurance amounts are. The basic cost for Medicare Part B for 2013 is $104.90 monthly. Individuals with higher AGI may end up paying more. The table below, courtesy of Medicare.gov shows […]

The ABC’s (and D’s) of Medicare

  With more and more baby boomers retiring, more and more people including the Boomers, and their children and families are going to have questions and concerns about Medicare. Questions can range from what Medicare is, what it does, what it doesn’t do, and the nuances that make up our nation’s health care for retirees. Medicare was created in 1965 by the Social Security Act and was signed into law by Lyndon Johnson. Currently, Medicare is funded via taxation and premiums paid by Medicare subscriber. Part A – which we will cover in a future article, is funded by a 2.9% tax on wages. Unlike Social Security tax that has a limit or cap on the amount of income that can be taxed ($110,100 in 2012 and $113,700 in 2013), Medicare has no such wage base. The 2.9% tax is on an unlimited amount of earnings. Eligibility for Medicare typically starts for […]

Baby Boomers Start Medicare

As of 12:01am EST on January 1, 2011, the very first Baby Boomer reached age 65… and that means that the era of Baby Boomers receiving Medicare has officially commenced. It is estimated that, during the period when Boomers are reaching age 65, between now and roughly 2030, the number of folks on the Medicare rolls will double.  Presently there are approximately 40 million Medicare recipients, and that number is expected to be around 80 million in 20 years. These incredible numbers will cause major challenges in funding the system – along with serious challenges in controlling the overall costs of healthcare during this period.  The rate of increase in the over-65 population will cause dramatic changes in the healthcare system in terms of capacity, costs, and controls. The new healthcare law passed earlier this year created an Independent Payment Advisory Board, which is supposed to provide guidance on how […]

What’s Up With Medicare Premiums? How Increases Are Determined

If you are collecting Social Security and covered by Medicare, you may be wondering why your Medicare premium didn’t increase for 2010 or 2011… or if it did increase, why did it – since it didn’t increase for so many? To understand this quandry, we need to look at the system for determining increases to Social Security benefits first. Social Security – No COLA Increase for 2010 or 2011 For the year 2010 (and 2011), there is no Cost-Of-Living Adjustment (COLA) in Social Security benefits.  This is reflected by the fact that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) had not increased for the year (as of May, when the figures are determined).  While the COLA figures don’t parallel the CPI exactly, the CPI is a rough guide to follow when determining increases. This is the first time in over 30 years that there will not be a COLA – there has […]