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Blog

Medicare Costs in 2014

Posted on February 26, 2013 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (141)
           
2014 Medicare Deductibles

Medicare is reporting the 2014 Part A deductible, Part B premiums, Part B deductible and High Deductible Plan F deductible.                         Beginning in 2014:  

  • The Part A deductible will be $1,216 (up from $1,184 in 2013)
  • The Part B premiums will be unchanged and remain at $104.90 per month
  • The Part B deductible will be unchanged and remain at $147 per year
  • The High Deductible Plan F deductible will increase to $2,140 (up from $2,110 in 2013)

Staying Healthy In The Face Of Norovirus

Posted on February 25, 2013 at 1:22 PM Comments comments (105)
Have you heard of a sickness called Norovirus? Chances are you have had Norovirus, also called the "stomach flu," many times in your life. Despite its nickname, Norovirus is not related to the flu.
 
Norovirus is highly contagious and may cause vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. Symptoms usually start within 24 to 48 hours and most people begin to feel better within one or two days and have no long-term health effects.
 
People with the Norovirus illness are contagious from the moment they begin feeling sick until at least 3 days after they recover. There is no vaccine to prevent a Norovirus infection and no drug to treat people who get sick from the virus. Antibiotics will not help because they fight against bacteria, not viruses.
 
1 in every 15 Americans will get Norovirus illness each year. Norovirus is also estimated to cause over 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths each year in the United States.
 
The Center for Disease Control offers the following tips on protecting yourself from Norovirus:
 
  • Practice proper hand hygiene
 
Wash your hands carefully with soap and water—Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used in addition to hand washing. They should not be used as a substitute for washing with soap and water.
 
  • Wash fruits & vegetables and cook seafood thoroughly
 
 Carefully wash fruits and vegetables before preparing and eating them. Cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating them.
 
Be aware that Noroviruses are relatively resistant. They can survive temperatures as high as 140°F and quick steaming processes that are often used for cooking shellfish.
 
 
  • When you are sick, do not prepare food or care for others who are sick
 
You should not prepare food for others or provide healthcare while you are sick and for at least 2 to 3 days after you recover.
 
 
  • Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces
 
After throwing up or having diarrhea, immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces. Use a chlorine bleach solution with a concentration of 5–25 tablespoons of household bleach per gallon of water or other disinfectant registered as effective against Norovirus by the Environmental Protection Agency.
 
 
  • Wash laundry thoroughly
 
Immediately remove and wash clothes or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or stool (feces).
 
You should handle soiled items carefully without agitating them, wear rubber or disposable gloves while handling soiled items and wash your hands after, and wash the items with detergent at the maximum available cycle length then machine dry them.
 
If you follow these tips and use caution when caring for sick loved ones, you may dramatically reduce your chances of contracting Norovirus.

Applying for Medicare

Posted on October 25, 2012 at 4:14 PM Comments comments (0)
Turning 65 and unsure where to start? If you are not currently receiving Social Security Income and you would like to enroll in Medicare you should start by applying for Medicare.  You can apply three different ways:
 
  1. Enroll at your local social security office
  2. Enroll over the phone by calling the Social Security Administration 800-772-1213
  3. Enroll online http://www.ssa.gov/medicareonly/
 
It generally takes about 30 days for your application to be processed and you should receive your Medicare card within 45 days.  However, there are always exceptions and sometimes it takes longer.  It is best to apply early, so you can make sure everything is processed in a timely fashion.  You can apply for Medicare as early as 3 months before you turn 65.  Applying early will also give you plenty of time to apply for a Medicare Supplement.
 
More questions?  Contact us. We are always updating our blog with useful information.  And please do yourself a favor read our information regarding Long Term Care..protect your assets!!

Premium Increases are Predicted for Medicare Part D Prescription Coverage

Posted on October 25, 2012 at 4:11 PM Comments comments (0)
According to a recent article by Weiss Ratings, seven out of the ten most popular Medicare Part D Prescription plans are predicted to increase by double digits next year.
 
  • Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan (23 percent)
  • First Health Part D Premier (18 percent)
  • First Health Part D Value Plus (17 percent)
  • Cigna Medicare Rx Plan One (15 percent)
  • Express Scripts Medicare-Value (13 percent)
  • HealthSpring Prescription Drug Plan (12 percent)
  • Humana Enhanced (11 percent)
 
Three of the ten most popular plans Silver Script (8 percent), WellCare Classic (3 percent) and AARP Medicare RX Preferred are predicted to increase less drastically.  AARP's plan is only expected to increase the least - only $0.57 per month on average.  What does this mean to you? It's no secret that it is difficult for seniors to wade through the enormous amounts of health care information they receive in regards to Medicare and Medicare Supplements.  It is important to make sure all options are carefully considered.  Whether you or one of your loved ones is trying to decide what option is best - call us!  Judi L. Woods agency is an insurance brokerage firm which means we offer many plans throughout the state of Florida, and we can help you make an informed decision! 
 
Remember, Medicare Open Enrollment is from October 15, 2012 until December 7, 2012, so if you are looking for a change in coverage give us a call - we can help! To read the rest of Weiss Ratings article click here.
 

New! United American Reserve Fund Annuity

Posted on August 15, 2012 at 12:47 PM Comments comments (764)
United American Insurance is now offering a Reserve Fund Annuity to assist policyholders with accumulating funds needed to meet their health insurance calendar year deductible, copayment, out-of-pocket limits, or Part B excess charges (Plans A, B, and D) amount(s).  The Reserve Fund Annuity is available with ProCare Medicare Supplement Plans A, B, D, G, and HDF.
 
So what does that mean for you?  If you are age 65-90, you can earn interest on the money you set aside for healthcare.
 
Features & Benefits:
- After 14 days, there is no penalty for withdrawing your money to pay healthcare costs.
- No-load annuity, you keep the full amount you deposit
- Interest rate is guaranteed to never be less than 3%
 
For more information on how you can earn interest on the money you set aside for healthcare click on the link below:

Medicare Part D and the Donut Hole 2011

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (163)
The Coverage Gap or Donut Hole (or Doughnut Hole) has caused a considerable amount of confusion for many people and has even surprised seniors when they suddenly are required to pay the a higher price (or before 2011, the full price) of their prescription medications. The following brief over view is based on the 2011 Medicare Standard Benefit Plan Model. For more information, please click here to see  Frequently Asked Questions (or FAQs) about the Donut Hole.
 
Quick Overview: This is a quick overview of the Donut Hole or Coverage Gap.
  • According to the Medicare (or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CMS), Standard or Model Medicare Part D prescription plan, the Donut Hole phase of your Medicare Part D coverage begins when your total retail drug costs reach $2840. (In past coverage years, some Medicare Part D plans have implemented a different Initial Coverage Limit and have begun the Donut Hole phase a little earlier - perhaps at a total retail drug spending of $1,800.)
  • Please note, this $2840 is the total retail cost of the covered medications, not what you spend personally at the pharmacy. As a Medicare Part D beneficiary, you will pay only a portion of the $2840 and your Part D plan pays a portion. Your total retail cost of prescription medications is calculated from your Medicare Part D plan's negotiated retail drug price - and every Medicare Part D plan can have a different negotiated retail drug price. So it is possible that you may reach the Donut Hole a little earlier or later than someone else who uses the exact same prescription medications, but this other person has enrolled in a prescription drug plan from another Medicare Part D plan provider.
  • As a note, in the CMS model Medicare Part D plan, a beneficiary; like yourself, pays the first $310 dollars as an initial deductible and then is responsible for paying 25% of the next $2530, for a total out of pocket medication costs (or true out of pocket costs (or TrOOP) ) of $942.5 (excluding your monthly plan premiums).
  • Again, following the CMS Standard model Medicare Part D plan, when you reach the Donut Hole, your Medicare Part D plan will have paid the difference between the negotiated retail cost of all your drug purchases and your out of pocket cost or $1897.5.
  • However, most people simply say that you enter the Donut Hole phase of your Medicare Part D plan at the end of your Initial Coverage phase or when your reach your Medicare Part D plan's Initial Coverage Limit (again, around $2840).
  • With Changes in the Medicare law, a $250 Donut Hole Rebate program was implemented in 2010. Anyone reaching the 2010 Donut Hole would be automatically mailed a check for $250. Click here to read some frequently asked questions about the 2010 Donut Hole rebate.
  • The 2011 Donut Hole marks the beginning of an effort at closing the Donut Hole. In 2011, anyone reaching the Donut Hole will receive a 50% (fifty percent) discount on brand name formulary drugs and a 7% (seven percent) discount on all generic formulary medications. Click here if you would like to read more about the Donut Hole drug discount program.
  • Still have a question on the Donut Hole basics or did we miss something about the Donut Hole? Click here and let us know.
 
Please note there are some changes each year but this info is as of 2011 and there are few changes for 2012 so please ask me for details when we speak.
 
 
*Complete article can be found on www.q1medicare.com