Medicare's chief actuary, Rick Foster, projects the new Health Care law savings of $575 comes from slowing the increase in fees paid to hospitals, home health agencies, and reducing payments to private Medicare Advantage plans. The new Health Care law does slow the growth of Medicare; but, does not cut spending from year to year over the next decade. In fact, no benefits under traditional Medicare will be eliminated and some will be added. The biggest impact will be on the roughly 24% of seniors on Medicare Advantage who will see extra benefits on their plan eliminated and some plans shut down all together. Seniors are concerned about finding new doctors, if and when they have to, and some doctors are refusing new Medicare patients because Medicare doesn't pay enough. Plus, a 1997 law beginning December 1, reduces doctors' Medicare payments even more causing concern. The law also adds new benefits to Medicare including free preventive screenings and $250 rebates to those seniors who hit the "doughnut hole" of prescription drug coverage and the changes will keep the Medicare hospital trust fun afloat until 2029, which is twelve years longer than projected without the law. Most speculate that Congress will postpone these law from going into effect.
Choices in Medicare Advantage Plans Equal Less Confusion
In 2011, Medicare Advantage premiums and Medicare Part D prescription drug packages will rise approximately 5% from 2010. One reason for the rise in cost is that there will be fewer options in Medicare Advantage. Some senior advocates say seniors were confused in the past by too many options and therefore some ended up making ill-informed decisions out of frustration. Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center says "People still have good choices, but they also have less choice, which makes it easier to choose." With the lowest cost prescription drug plan being offered from Humana and Wal-Mart Preferred RX, Baker also warns not to be too swayed by price and to make sure all drugs are covered on the approved list with no restrictions. Seniors have from November 15th to December 31st to decide on a new plan.
Forethought® Medicare Supplement Product Release
This week, the Forethought® Medicare Supplement product was released in Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West Virginia. Forethought Benefits Include:
Mutual of Omaha offers Seminar Packages
Just in time for Annual Enrollment, Mutual of Omaha is offering a point-of-sale seminar package including a PowerPoint presentation, speaker notes, and an invitation flyer or postcard to send to invite perspective attendees. States that have already approved the package include AR, AZ, CT, DC, GA, HI, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, RI, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA, VT, WI, and WV, with new states being approved continuously. The seminar package was created to help attract and educate groups of new prospects about the advantages of owning a Medicare Supplement, reasons to own a Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement, and a brief history of Mutual of Omaha. Materials are currently available under your Sales and Professional Access (SPA) account at Mutual of Omaha in the Forms and Materials section. For more information about getting contracted to sell Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement, click here.
Sources: KHN, The Washington Post, The Tennessean, Mutual of Omaha