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Obama vs. Romney: Key differences in Medicare/Medicaid

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Nov 02, 2012 @ 12:47 PM

Medicare Supplements As the Presidential race draws to a close most people have chosen which candidate they are going to support next Tuesday in the election. One of the main topics this election season has been health care, with Medicare being a heated topic. The candidates differ from how much the government should be involved, to where the funding should come from, and in the case of Medicare, at what age beneficiaries should become eligible.

Here are a few key differences to consider about the future of Medicare and Medicaid based on each of the candidates’ platforms.

  1. Medicare
    1. Obama: Says that PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) has already made important changes for Medicare. Things like requiring basic Medicare to include basic preventive services to patients and reducing the size of the Medicare Part D doughnut hole. With his plan, the Medicare system would be structured the same way and begin at the same age that it does currently.

    2. Romney: For retirees and near retirees, Medicare will be the same. However, in the future seniors will receive vouchers and have insurance options that provide coverage as least as good as today’s Medicare, with traditional Medicare as one of the options to choose from. Romney says, “Competition among plans to provide high quality service while charging low premiums will hold costs down while also improving the quality of coverage enjoyed by seniors.”

  2. Medicaid
    1. Obama: Under his plan, Medicaid would work the same way it does currently.

    2. Romney: Says that he would replace the current funding for Medicaid with a “block grant” program providing every state with a set amount of funding that it could use as it wished. He says he would “limit federal standards and requirements.”

With only a few days left, most of us are excited and anxious to see what the outcome will be. For sports fans, that result might come a little bit sooner. Since the 1984 election, the winner of the Alabama-LSU game has coincided with the party who has won the election. With Alabama’s wins aligned with the Democratic Party and LSU with the Republican. Obviously, statistics are made to be broken, but it still adds another element of intensity to the SEC game this weekend and gives friends and family something to speculate about.

Hopefully you are having a productive and prosperous AEP so far. Remember that your marketer at PSM is available to answer any questions that arise and help you with any issues you encounter. Just give them a call at 1-800-998-7715.

Please give us your feedback!
Which candidate do you think has the better plan for Medicare? Do you think a voucher system is a good idea? If not, why? Do you think a state-controled program would better regulate the system? If not, what would?

(We realize this is a polarizing topic, please remember to be respectful of other commenters. Thank you.)


Source: LifeHealthPro

Additional Updates:
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Tags: Manhattan Life Medicare Supplement, senior market news, Medicare Discussion, Combined Insurance Medicare Supplement, industry news

Penalties for Seniors Who Delay Filing for Medicare

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Feb 03, 2012 @ 09:05 AM

Medicare SupplementsAs you are talking with seniors just aging into the Medicare market, it is important to advise them about the penalties they will pay if they do not sign up for Medicare Part B at the right time. For those seniors who have already filed for Social Security, they will automatically be enrolled in Medicare at age sixty-five. However, seniors who continue in the workforce, either by choice or necessity, and delay their Medicare coverage need to notify Medicare of their decision. Otherwise they will face a 10% Part B penalty for each year that they do not file. So someone filing for the first time at age seventy will face a 50% Part B penalty. The penalty is permanent and can translate into thousands of dollars in unnecessary penalty charges.

For your clients who decide to continue working, advise them to notify Medicare of their decision as soon as they turn sixty-five to ensure they will avoid penalties later. Especially, those seniors who work at a company with over twenty employees, as their employer will continue to provide their benefits. They can do this by choosing the option on the back of the Medicare card that is sent, calling the Social Security Administration, or visiting the SSA website. For their Part D prescription coverage, seniors can delay filing as long as their employer provides equal or better coverage.

Those seniors earning more should also be informed about the surcharges on high-income seniors. Currently, this affects only 5% of seniors, however those still in the workforce are more likely than those retired to fall into the income bracket. The extra charges can be applied not only to Part B, but also Medicare Advantage and Part D coverage.

Advising your prospects of these penalties is great for client retention and relationship growth. While they continue to receive their healthcare from their employer, you can work with them on their final expense, long-term care, and annuity needs until they require a Medicare Supplement.

Please give us your feedback!
Do you have clients who didn't know about these penalties and have suffered inflated costs due to delaying? How do you go about avising your clients who want to delay their Medicare benefits?

Source: KHN

Additional Updates:
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  • An Exciting New Short Term Care Plan from MedAmerica - Learn More
  • UnitedHealthcare Code Of Conduct/Conflict Of Interest Policy Awareness - Learn More

Tags: United Healthcare Medicare Supplement, Final Expense, Annuities, Senior Market Advice, Medicare Discussion, health insurance news, industry news, Stonebridge Medicare Supplement

Obama: Help Improve Health Care Law and Move Forward

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Jan 28, 2011 @ 09:48 AM

Medicare SupplementsTuesday President Obama gave the State of the Union annual address. He spoke on health care stating, "Instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let's fix what needs fixing and move forward." He challenged Republicans to help him improve the health care law; and, offered to help them make two changes, adding medical malpractice reform eliminating an unpopular paperwork requirement for small businesses.  Medical malpractice reform has been in the works for a while, with Republicans and Democrats butting heads on whether to have fixed caps on damages or not. However, both agree that something has to be done for the approximately 98,000 people a year who die from preventable medical errors. Also, with Obama’s suggested changes, small businesses would no longer have to file 1099 forms for payments $600 or more.

He insisted he’ll fight repeals to prevent going "back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a pre-existing condition" and he explained how the law is already helping seniors pay for their prescriptions and young adults continue to be on their parent’s policies. President Obama also stated he is open to small changes and will consider new ideas to bring down health care costs, urging that repealing the law would increase the federal deficit by $230 billion over the next ten years. Also, during the State of the Union, the President called for more cost-cutting in Medicare and Medicaid. Critics fear Obama is not listening to what Americans want which is repeal, not just small changes. While still others commended him for saying he is open for changes.

How do you feel about President Obama’s stand on health care reform in the State of the Union? Do you think he is open enough for change?

Berwick Renominated to Continue to Head CMS

Wednesday the White House issued a renomination of Dr. Don Berwick as the head of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Republicans, who strongly opposed him being nominated last year, dislike his controversial view in support of the British health system, supplying “eyes open or closed,” and question his qualifications and background. However, Berwick has received strong support from most major medical associations. Berwick will face a hearing in the Finance Committee as well as a confirmation by the full Senate before he becomes the head of the CMS. So far, it looks to be a difficult nomination process for him.

Do you like Dr. Don Berwick for the head of the CMS? Do you think he will pass the nomination process?

Medicare Toaster by John Hambrock

Medicare Toaster by John Hambrock
by John Hambrock for The Cartoonist Group from "The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee"

2011 Supply Requisition

2011 Supplies
If you were busy in 2010, 2011 will be even busier! Make sure you have the right tools. Update your Med Supp materials for Mutual of Omaha, Forethought Life, Gerber Life, Sentinel Life, and Woodmen of the World/Assured Life to reflect the 2011 co-pays and deductibles.


Sources: KHN, Politico, The Associated Press

Tags: senior market news, Medicare, Medicare Discussion, insurance news, health care reform

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation: Cost vs. Care

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Nov 19, 2010 @ 10:07 AM

Medicare SupplementsThe Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) launched a set of initiatives to improve medical care and lower the cost of services and care provided by medical professionals. The CMMI is also committed to quickly assessing the projects at hand and putting them to use promptly if proven successful. This initiative comes after finding evidence that the current healthcare system has rising costs because patients are not getting the care they need. Also, they found that one out of seven Medicare patients are suffering from medical error, due to lacks in care. With 90 million Americans relying on Medicare and Medicaid, studies show that when doctors work together patients are hospitalized less often, recover more quickly, and have fewer complications. The initiative also hopes to reduce hospital infection and help ensure seniors take the medications prescribed to them by their doctor in order to stabilize their condition and/or get well quicker. The CMMI believes that by giving financial incentives to doctors and hospitals who work together unnecessary tests will be eliminated and chronic health conditions treated before they become larger illnesses, and end up costing Medicare more money that could have been saved. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation is starting this new plan in eight states, comprised of: Maine, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan, and Minnesota. In these states, teams of doctors will work together in "medical homes" on patient care. Also, next year the Center for Medicare and Medicaid will offer $1 million dollar grants for states to develop programs to coordinate care between doctors and hospitals. Some critics dismiss the effort, saying the CMMI is aimlessly throwing ideas out, hoping one will work; yet, some big companies are eager to move with a partnership with the government.

Rivlin-Domenici Proposed Losses for Medicare

On Wednesday Rivlin-Domenici released their proposal to reduce the deficit and it is more generous than the proposal released last week by the Presidential Fiscal Commission. Their proposal places a cap on government Medicare spending for seniors with more of the cost burden on the senior's shoulders. The plan gives very little help from the government to purchase health insurance and a choice from either traditional fee-for-service or from private firms offering plans similar to how Medicare Advantage is today. The committee predicts more seniors will opt for private insurance due to cost. The plan also includes making higher co-payments for Medicare Part B, up to 35% from the current 25%, which would save Medicare $123 billion through 2018. Starting in 2018, a cap would be put in place to limit the increase in spending on Medicare beneficiaries to economic growth rate of 1% each year. The other major element of in the plan eliminates the tax exclusion for employer-provided insurance. Capping and eventually eliminating the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored insurance could slow health care costs from increasing and would raise $10 trillion. There are speculation on whether both parties would ever be able to agree on the plan as it was proposed this week, Democrats are against cuts in benefits and Republicans are against benefit cuts as well and the large increase of out-of-pocket costs.

Presidential Fiscal Commission Update

On Thursday, the Presidential Fiscal Commission ended a three-day closed session without a consensus. The panel's co-chairmen, Democrat Erskine Bowles and former Senator Republican Alan Simpson released their own proposal last week but the group remains at odds on deciding how to slow down and eliminate some health care cost. The panel reconvenes on November 30th, with a deadline to submit to Congress on December 1st.

Nebraska Woodmen of the World/Assured Life New Rates and Plan N

Effective December 1, 2010, new rates and Plan N are released for Nebraska. Please see the new rates and notification for Nebraska.

Sources: KHN, The Fiscal Times, The LA Times, PBS, WSJ

Tags: senior market news, Medicare Discussion, Medicare News, Woodmen of the World Medicare Supplement, health care reform

More Medicare Beneficiaries Finding They Are Not Admitted

Posted by Richard Ybarra on Fri, Sep 10, 2010 @ 01:40 PM

Medicare SupplementsKaiser Health News in collaboration with The Washington Post published a very interesting article focusing on how more and more Medicare beneficiaries are finding they are not being classified as “admitted - inpatient” when staying at a hospital. Instead, they are being classified as “under observation.” Though the level of care doesn’t vary between either classification, the latter means Medicare beneficiaries will have to pay significantly more out-of-pocket for their total care.

One example given in the article is about Ed Timmins (88) who spent four days in the hospital for extreme back pain and other issues. The whole time he was never admitted, so Medicare isn’t going to cover his $23,864 nursing home bill. The hospital where he received treatment would not discuss his case, but implied that he did not meet Medicare’s “medical necessity” requirement to be in an inpatient status.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, claims from hospitals for observation care have increased over the last several years. Observation care claims rose from 828,000 in 2006 to more than 1.1 million in 2009. Additionally, observation care claims regarding stays more than two days tripled to 83,183. The article states several reasons for the increase, but focuses on the fact that Medicare is being more aggressive in their audits in order to reduce costs. Click here to read the full article. Also, you may want to forward this useful link to your clients that explains what to do if they are classified as “under observation.”

Selling More with Jeffrey Gitomer

This month’s issue of InsuranceNewsNet has an in-depth interview with Jeffrey Gitomer who wrote The Sales Bible. Here is a list what he believes insurance agents should and should not do to increase their sales.

  • Do communicate with your existing customers once a week, once every two weeks, or at the very least once a month. E-blasts are an excellent way to accomplish this and build trust.
  • Do learn how to take rejection
  • Do give a referral before asking for one
  • Don’t spend too much time cold-calling – Mr. Gitomer believes it’s on “life support”
  • Do speak publically as often as possible, or at least meet people in your target market as often as possible
  • Do write articles and publish them in as many places as possible – Mr. Gitomer says every penny he has made since 1992 started from one of his articles
  • Do join your local Toastmasters organization to hone your presentation skills
  • Do develop a website and brand it with your name, not your company name
  • Do weekly e-blasts
  • Do maintain a blog
  • Do maintain a Facebook fan page
  • Do take your most important clients to networking functions, and network at least 4 to 6 hours a week, and have a 1-year networking plan each year
  • Sales formula: 1/3 product knowledge, 1/3 presentation skills, 1/3 personal development

Google Implements New “Instant” Feature

Since many of you are beginning to utilize search engine optimization as a method of attracting more customers to your business, you will want to know that on Wednesday, Google implemented a new feature they call “Google Instant.” This feature automatically attempts to complete your search terms as you type them. As you are typing Google starts to stream results. These results change dynamically as you further refine your search term. Google says this new feature will reduce search times by two to five seconds. The change will also have a significant impact on SEO strategy. Now you will want to start optimizing for search terms that Google automatically generates. Also, this feature appears to only be available on the most recent browsers, so if you are still using older browsers such as IE 6 or 7, you’ll need to upgrade to use this new feature.

Sources: KHN, Washington Post, InsuranceNewsNet, ComputerWorld

Tags: senior market blog, senior market news, Medicare, Medicare Supplement, Medicare Discussion, Medicare News, senior insurance market news

Improper Payments Law to Mitigate Medicare Misspending

Posted by Richard Ybarra on Fri, Jul 23, 2010 @ 11:26 AM

Medicare Cost Savings On Thursday, President Obama signed a bill that mandates federal departments and agencies to reduce misspending. In fiscal year 2009, the federal government doled out nearly $110 billion in improper payments, mostly due to Medicare and Medicaid fraud. The Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act also stipulates agencies to invest at least $1 million in audits to identify likely overpayments, and to create processes to reduce such improper payments and establish penalties for government organizations that fail to comply with the new law.

Denials of Insurance Claims Easier to Fight

The Obama administration issued new rules regarding health care reform. The new rules guarantee the right for all Americans to appeal denials of insurance claims, first with their insurance company, and then to a third-party review board if required. Many states already have similar laws in place, however the rules differ greatly. Now the rules will be standard across the United States. The new rules aim to empower consumers when appealing insurance claims that are denied. America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) spokesman Robert Zirkelbach said that his organization supports the standardization of the appeals process. The Obama administration is also providing $30 million in grants to improve state consumer assistance offices. States have until July 2011 to comply.

$251 Million Medicare Fraud Ring in 5 Cities Busted

Last Friday, Federal law enforcement officials announced the arrests of dozens of suspects in five states for defrauding Medicare of $251 million. The suspects, including several doctors and nurses, were apprehended in Miami, New York, Detroit, Houston, and Baton Rouge. 94 suspects were indicted, with 36 being arrested for billing Medicare for unnecessary equipment, and H.I.V and physical therapy treatments that were never conducted. The New York Times reported that violent criminals and mobster were getting into the action, as they viewed Medicare fraud as more lucrative and less risky than dealing drugs and fire arms.

Part D Increases Use of Heart Failure Medication

Reuters reported on a recent study of 7,000 older heart failure patients in one large insurance plan released by the American Heart Journal. The study found that the number of filled prescriptions for heart failure drugs soared after Part D took effect in 2006. Low-income seniors who never had previous drug coverage saw the biggest increase in filled prescriptions. Reuters states that the findings, among other cited in the article, substantiate arguments the goal of the law is being met.

Sources: Washington Post, Reuters, New York Times, KHN

Tags: senior market blog, senior market news, Medicare Supplement, Medicare Discussion, Medicare News, senior insurance market news, Medicare Advice

President Obama Appoints New, Controversial Medicare Leader

Posted by Richard Ybarra on Fri, Jul 09, 2010 @ 10:26 AM

Medicare Cost Savings

On Wednesday, Dr. Donald Berwick was chosen by President Obama to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Dr. Donald Berwick is a Harvard Medical School professor and president of the Institute for Health Care Improvement (IHCI). The recess appointment by President Obama ends a four-year period without an official director for CMS. It also allows President Obama and Dr. Berwick to avoid the normal nomination process that would have entailed an onslaught of questions from Republicans.


According to the Boston Globe, “appointments made during official congressional breaks do not require a vote.” President Obama took further advantage of the break by appointing two other director positions for other government agencies. Of course, Republicans are expressing their outrage at what they believe is an exploitation of the political process. According to The Hill, Republicans are questioning Dr. Berwick’s industry ties, as his IHCI organization received millions in gifts from undisclosed donors in 2009.


Second Round of Doughnut Hole Checks Sent to Seniors


Over 300,000 seniors will get a $250 check from the government to help close the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap known as the “doughnut hole.” This second round of checks is going to seniors who entered the coverage gap between April and June and were not able to receive low-income subsidies. The first batch of 80,000 checks was sent in June and according to a Department of Health and Human Services press release, “About 70 percent of the checks were cashed within a week.” The checks are a result of the agreement between Congress and the pharmaceutical industry to close the “doughnut hole.”


Health Affairs Releases Brief on Medicare Doc Reimbursement Issue


Health Affairs released an excellent document analyzing the Medicare Doctor reimbursement issue. The document looks at the history of the issue, as well as the current situation. The most interesting parts however, are the forecasts it makes and the options it identifies. One statement made in the report is especially eye catching. The report states that if Medicare rates are frozen through 2014, it could add $89 billion to the federal deficit. We highly recommend reading the report if you are interested in learning more about the issue. You can view the document here.


Sources: KHN, Boston Globe, New York Times, The Hill


Tags: Senior Market Success, senior market blog, senior market news, Medicare, Medicare Supplement, Senior Market, Medicare Discussion, Medicare News, senior insurance market news

Medicare Performance Payments Could Widen Quality Care Gap

Posted by Richard Ybarra on Fri, Jul 02, 2010 @ 10:54 AM

Medicare Cost Savings

According to a study published in PLoS Medicine, the government’s plan to implement a pay-for-performance system for Medicare would lead to greater inequality among hospitals in rich and poor areas. The study analyzed 2,700 hospitals from 2004 to 2007. Each hospital was assigned a baseline score based on a number of factors in accordance to the system the government is planning to use. The report found that hospitals in richer areas received better baseline scores than those in more disadvantaged areas. The report concluded that in general, hospitals’ performance increased over time with a pay-for-performance system, but the benefits and level of performance increases were much smaller for hospitals in disadvantaged areas.

The reason for this according to the report is that the pay-for-performance system gives hospitals with lower baseline scores less credit for performance improvements. So hospitals in disadvantaged areas must essentially achieve greater improvements than “richer” hospitals to receive the same amount of payments from the government.

The problem of course is that poorer hospitals have fewer resources to start with, so it is very difficult for such hospitals to close the performance gap with their better funded competition. Those hospitals with greater resources will have better performance thereby receiving the majority of government funding.

The report states that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has acknowledged that pay-for-performance could worsen the disposition of resource-strapped hospitals, but has taken a wait-and-see approach to see if that will be the case. For more information on the report click here.


New National Health Insurance Website Goes Live

If you haven’t already heard, you may be interested in knowing that the Health and Human Services Department has launched HealthCare.gov that offers consumers a central place to learn about all their insurance coverage options. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced yesterday that this site is the first central database of health coverage options, including Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. It also includes information from plan information from private insurance carries for small businesses and individuals. According to HHS, the new website offers billions of health care choices through its finder function. Check it out here.


SEC Investigates Major Home-Health Companies for Medicare Fraud

Amedisys, Inc., the largest U.S. home-nursing provider, and Almost Family, Inc., the fourth-largest, both recently announced that they are under investigation by the SEC. In May, following a Wall Street Journal article that identified irregular reimbursement patterns, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee said it was analyzing whether the home-nursing industry manipulated the number of visits made to patients to inflate government reimbursement payments. According to Businessweek, the recent announcements signal that the analysis is expanding and may even include more companies. With the announcements, most publicly traded home-health companies are seeing the value of their stock significantly decline.


Sources: KHN, NPR, Businessweek, Wall Street Journal, PLoS Medicine


Tags: senior market blog, senior market news, Medicare, Medicare Supplement, Medicare Discussion, Medicare News, senior insurance market news, Medicare Sales, Medicare Solutions

2010 Medicare Advantage Enrollment Trends Report Released

Posted by Richard Ybarra on Fri, Jun 25, 2010 @ 11:54 AM

Medicare Cost Savings

A The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation released a report that provides an analysis of Medicare Advantage enrollment trends among HMOs, PPOs, and PFFS plans.  The report highlights that 11.1 million people were enrolled in private Medicare Advantage plans as of March 2010.  This is an increase from 10.5 million in March 2009.  The report showed that this increase took place despite a reduction of available plans throughout that same period. 

The report also found that three or fewer insurance companies dominate the Medicare Advantage market in every state except New York.  In 14 states, one company enrolls more than half of all Medicare Advantage customers.  Nationwide, both UnitedHealth Group and Humana Inc. control 33% of the total Medicare Advantage enrollment nationwide. 

For the full report follow this link: http://kff.org/medicare/upload/8080.pdf

Medicare Doc Pay Cuts Expected to be Delayed Today

Last night, the House of Representatives voted 417-1 to approve a Senate bill that delays a 21% cut in Medicare payments to doctors.  The bill delays the cuts another six months.  Lawmakers will work on a more permanent solution in that time, but if history is any indication, a permanent solution isn’t coming anytime soon.  Obama has expressed his approval of the bill and is planning to sign it into law today. 

The Medicare doc pay cut delay was a part of a larger bill that included unemployment benefit extensions and more aid to states.  When that bill was filibustered by Republicans, Democrats separated the Medicare doc pay cut delay into its own bill.  Now the hope is that the much more expensive, permanent solution can be passed after congressional elections in November.  The bill being signed today will increase payments to providers by 2.2% and will be paid for with a series of health care and pension changes.

Medicare and Medicaid Implements New Fraud Mapping Tool

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented a new fraud mapping tool that will eventually be used throughout all government agencies.  The fraud mapping tool was developed by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board to collect massive amounts of information in real time, analyze the data for fraud trends, and then project possible fraud or errors using an array of indicators.  This new tool comes on top of the “Do Not Pay” list created last week.  Both methods aim to achieve President Obama’s goal of cutting improper Medicare payments in half by 2012.

Sentinel Life Medicare Supplement Plan N Approved in CA, IA, and LA

Sentinel Life Medicare Supplement Plan N has been approved for Louisiana, Iowa, and California.  Each of these plans offer competitive rates and generous commissions.  To learn more about these products click here.

Sources: AP, NPR, KFF, KHN


Tags: senior market blog, senior market news, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, Medicare Discussion, Medicare News, senior insurance market news, Medicare Advantage News, Medicare Sales, Medicare Advice, Medicare Solutions

Obama Mandates Creation of National “Do Not Pay List”

Posted by Richard Ybarra on Fri, Jun 18, 2010 @ 11:29 AM

Medicare Cost Savings

As part of a series of government spending cuts, President Obama today will announce that all federal agencies must create a national “do not pay list.”  The goal of this list is to reduce the likelihood and impact of fraud.  The list will identify people and organizations whom are ineligible to receive government benefits, contracts, grants, and loans.  The Treasury Department, General Services Administration, and Office of Management and Budget will work together to create a database of dead people, delinquent or jailed contractors, and other debarred or suspended firms. 

In addition to contributing to the creation of the “do not pay” list, CMS will implement an online fraud-detection program that will keep a close watch on medical providers and conduct deeper background checks.  According to the Washington Post, CMS made $65 billion in erroneous payments in 2009. Additionally, CMS must cut at least five percent from its budget to meet President Obama’s budget cutting goals.

The Obama administration is also seeking out additional discretionary funding for the HEAT program.  According to the Justice department and the department of Health and Human Services, the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT) has experienced much success in fighting Medicare and Medicaid waste, fraud, and abuse in its first year.  One highlight mentioned by the Justice department is that Medicare claims and payouts for medical equipment used in the home decreased significantly after HEAT arrested and prosecuted a number of criminals in South Florida where health fraud is rampant.  The Obama administration wants to capitalize on the early success of the HEAT program by expanding it to a total of 20 teams by the end of 2012.

Still No Medicare Doc Pay Fix

“Tonight, every single Republican voted to give doctors a 21% pay cut,” said Senator Harry Reid after the defeat of a recent bill on Thursday that contained provisions to delay Medicare reimbursement cuts and the extension of jobless benefits.  Republicans and even several moderate Democrats are calling for the bill to be paid for with cuts to other government programs and won’t vote for it until it is.

Recent Modernized Medicare Supplement Approvals

    • Sentinel Life’s Plan N is now approved in California.
    • Gerber Life’s Modernized Medigap Plans (excluding M & N) are now approved in California.
    • Sentinel Life Medigap Plan N now approved in Iowa.
    • Mutual of Omaha Modernized Medigap Plans N and M now approved in Florida.


For a list of plans in your state, see our modernized med supp approval chart.


Sources: Washington Post, Federal Times, AP


Tags: senior market blog, senior market news, Medicare, Medicare Supplement, Medicare Discussion, Medicare News, senior insurance market news, Medicare Sales, Medicare Solutions

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