In February, Barack Obama created a bipartisan commission on reducing the national debt; and, this week they released a proposal for a very ambitious plan with numerous spending cuts and several tax increases. None of the plans will take place before 2012 but Nancy Pelosi calls it "simply unacceptable" the way the plan is now; and, some dispute that the budget can be balanced by spending cuts alone. Some of the proposed cuts include domestic and military, mortgage interest deduction, the child tax credit, earned income tax credit, reduce cost-of-living increases for all federal programs including Social Security, reduce Social Security benefits for everyone except low-income recipients who would get higher, full social security benefits would go from 67 to 69 by 2075, and more Medicare cost savings cuts. Also, a gradual increase up to $0.15 on the federal gasoline tax would be put in place. The final deadline is December 1st and 14 of the 18 members of the commission, including 12 members of Congress and 6 private citizens, must agree in order to send anything. The group made no decisions before the election, in order to avoid publicizing unpopular options like income tax rates across the board and the largest spending cuts in decades.
Examining Medicare's Dialysis System
In 1972 Congress granted complete comprehensive coverage under Medicare to patients with kidney failure. This decision was considered the closest the United States has come to socialized healthcare. The program, once seen as a model for our national health care system, now costs about $20 billion a year using 6% of the Medicare budget. However, the United States has one of the highest mortality rates in the world, with the systems for dialysis in other counties loosing far less patients. ProPublica reviewed dialysis for a year to understand why the money used isn't helping the mortality rate. Their findings showed unsanitary clinics, lapses in care, inconsistent quality standards, and fewer provider choices afflicting mostly minorities and the dispossessed. Yet, the dominators in the dialysis-care system are consistently profitable. This study warns what could happen when neither the government nor the market controls quality or cost.
Medicare Advantage Dis-enrollment Guidelines
Annual Election Period for MA Plans and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans beginning November 15, 2010 to December 31, 2010 with an effective date for dis-enrollees of January 1, 2011.Required: Complete the MA section on the Medicare supplement application; and send one of the following with the application:
Special Election Period Some examples of special election periods are when an MA plan withdraws from the market or when the member moves out of the service area. The effective date of the disenrollment varies by situation. Please see the plan rules.
Required: A copy of their termination letter.Please NOTE: In most instances, the member can keep their coverage until the end of the year. If the member wishes to have an effective date earlier than January 1, 2011, we must have a copy of their disenrollment request and their termination letter.
Forethought Medicare Supplement Product Release IN and KY
On Thursday Forethought Medicare Supplement was released in Indiana and Kentucky. Call PSM at 1-800-998-7715 for more information and to get contracted to sell today!
Sources: KHN, The New York Times, ProPublica