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March 2016
Ambord
Dollar Sense

Are You Smarter Than a Medicare Thief?

Have you seen TV ads offering free tests and free medical equipment such as a free brace, for your neck, back, or knee, syringes, or other items?  If you respond, you may or may not receive what is promised. Even if you are given free tests, there’s no guarantee that your tests will be processed.  It doesn’t matter to thieves because they’ve what they want: your Medicare number.

Ambord
Dollar Sense

Social Security Ain’t What it Was Just a Few Weeks Ago

Overall, the decision when to begin taking Social Security is personal. Starting too early or filing too late could greatly curtail the amount you collect. So don’t leave this critical decision to chance.

Schlein
Washington Watch

What Is an ACO, How Does it Work and What Does it Mean to Me?

The old way of paying doctors fails to discourage overuse of health-care services and critics say it doesn’t hold doctors accountable for whether a patient gets healthier or not. These new payment programs include lump sum payments for treating a patient all the way through a procedure.
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To many, ACOs may sound a lot like health maintenance organizations. The critical difference is that an ACO patient is not required to stay in the network, the way an HMO patient is. In addition, ACOs must meet a long line of quality measures to ensure they are not saving money by stinting on necessary care.

February 2016
Ambord
Dollar Sense

Social Security Strategies Slated for the Dustbin in 2016

File and Suspend is a nice strategy. But again, Congress has put the kibosh on this program going forward. Now, the wife in this example can only receive spousal benefits if her husband — the higher earning spouse — is actually receiving benefits.

Schlein
Washington Watch

Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand on Social Security and Medicare?

Both Republicans and Democrats count on seniors as reliable voting blocs in their primary nominations contests and seniors can be counted on to turn out for the November election.

January 2016
Schlein
Washington Watch

The Health Care Changes That Mean More Dollars out of Seniors’ Pockets

Another factor has been the historically low growth in the nation’s health care spending, which has meant stability for Medicare beneficiaries. Privately-insured working families have not had the same experience during the Obama years because employers have continued to keep passing on a bigger share of health care costs to their workers.

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Studies have shown that screening only slightly reduces the risk of death from prostate cancer, because most grow so slowly they effectively are harmless. Yet many men diagnosed with prostate cancer undergo surgery and radiation, which can have lifelong side effects.

December 2015
Schlein
Washington Watch

House Speaker Paul Ryan, Social Security and Medicare — Big Changes, Little Tweaks or...?

Unable to reach a “grand bargain” on the budget with President Obama, Boehner pushed through smaller limited changes to Medicare as part of a larger deal on government spending. Ryan is likely to try the same strategy. But he has clearly laid out a larger vision for changing Medicare and Social Security.

November 2015
Schlein
Washington Watch

Medicare Open Enrollment: Time to Re-evaluate Your Plan and Help Prevent Scams

The law is clear. Under Medicare’s rules, insurance agents are prohibited from knocking on doors, making cold calls or sending unsolicited emails. Many manage to work around that by handing out business cards to get us to call them or getting your information at health fairs and other events by offering incentives like lunches, prizes etc.

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Medicare will never call you and ask for your personal information – NEVER. Nor will Medicare email you or visit your home unannounced to collect data. For the record, the federal government has no plans to issue new Medicare cards and lost or stolen card can be replaced at www.ssa.gov or by calling 1-800-772-1213.

October 2015
Ambord
Dollar Sense

Ready to Make Your Medicare Choices During Medicare Open Enrollment?

If you drop Medicare to take a Qualified Health Plan, there’s no guarantee that plan will pay for your medical costs. In many cases, a Qualified Health Plan has the right to refuse to pay costs for someone eligible for Medicare, and that means you’ll be left with no coverage at all.

Schlein
Washington Watch

Good, Bad and Worse News about Medicare

The sharp increase might prompt some seniors to consider traditional Medicare too expensive and they could look to Medicare Advantage as a potential alternative. Medicare Advantage, which is managed care, offers lower costs but also restricts which providers they can use.

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Many seniors are still getting billed for their hospital stay because they are observation care patients, not inpatients.  Observation care hurts seniors in two ways: It keeps Medicare’s more comprehensive hospitalization coverage from kicking in, and it means they may not get Medicare’s limited nursing home benefit if they need care in a facility after being in a hospital.

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