Simple Tips for Seniors to Avoid Medicare Fraud

Experts estimate that about $60 billion is lost annually due to Medicare fraud.  Consumers do not have to be Medicare beneficiaries to be affected by the high cost of fraud. Costs are passed down to all Americans in the form of increased insurance premiums, higher medical care outlays and inflated price tags on medical equipment.  Since Medicare fraud can affect any senior, it is beneficial to be proactive about preventing it. If any questions arise, you can call us to discuss a concern you may have about a potential fraud or scam. We may be able to refer policyholders to…

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The 10 Most Expensive Prescription Drugs

Some people spend thousands of dollars a year on medications, and thanks to their insurance they may not have to pay full price for the pharmaceuticals their doctors prescribe. But there is a growing body of drugs that are breaking the bank for insurers and the people who need them. New, innovative medicines that drug companies make using cutting-edge technology and science, can come with hefty price tags. GoodRx.com, a website that provides coupons for purchasing prescription drugs, has published a list of the 10 most expensive drugs in the U.S. The list includes those that are available at pharmacies…

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CMS Approves Medicare Coverage of ‘Breakthrough’ Medical Devices

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued new rules that require Medicare to cover medical devices that the Food and Drug Administration designates as "breakthrough" technology.  The rule paves the way for giving Medicare recipients access to the latest technologies four years after they receive market approval by the FDA. The move should greatly speed up the time by which these new devices are covered by Medicare, the approval process of which can be extremely slow. Under the final rule, the CMS will use the data for these devices during the four years after the FDA approves them,…

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Why Everyone Needs Life Insurance

People who are considering life insurance usually debate whether they need it or not. If anyone will suffer financially after a person's death, that person should have life insurance. This death benefit is meant to help surviving family members or dependents cope with the financial difficulties of losing the deceased's income and paying for final expenses. Life insurance isn't subject to federal income tax. In order to determine how much life coverage to buy, it's important to consider what surviving loved ones would need if death occurred suddenly.  Be sure to consider monthly living expenses, debts and final expenses when…

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Fewer Medicare Advantage Plans Receive High-Quality Ratings

There are fewer Medicare Advantage plans receiving high-quality ratings for their 2021 offerings than for this year's.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has reported that 49% of 400 Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage received four stars or more (the maximum is five), compared to 52% in 2020. Also, there are fewer people enrolled in plans that will have four or five stars in 2021.  The star ratings measure the quality of service enrollees receive and are based on actual experience of seniors with their plans.  The CMS rates Medicare Part C plans according to hundreds of specific…

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Executive Orders Take Aim at Medicare Drug Costs, More

President Trump in late September issued three executive orders that would affect Medicare outpatient drug prices, protect people with pre-existing conditions from health insurance pricing discrimination and end surprise billing.The main, and most substantive, order would fix prices that Medicare pays for outpatient and pharmacy-sold pharmaceuticals to the lowest prices offered in comparable developed countries.The Trump administration had announced in July that it would release an order on Medicare outpatient drug prices pending negotiations with the pharmaceutical industry. But after those talks failed to yield the results the administration had hoped for, the president decided to release the latest version…

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The SECURE Act Eliminates the ‘Stretch IRA’ – Here’s What to Do

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act) eliminates the stretch IRA for most non-spouse beneficiaries, beginning with deaths in 2020.That means many taxpayers should look at revising their estate plans. Here's why. New IRA rulesPrior to the SECURE Act, which was a tax measure signed into law in December 2019, the law allowed heirs to "stretch" IRA distributions over their entire life expectancy. This means you could theoretically leave a large IRA to a grandchild, for example, and the distributions could be spread out over decades. This provided a significant tax deferral benefit for younger…

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The Lesser Known Features of Long-Term Care Insurance

Buyers of long-term care insurance often focus on just the coverage basics, such as the level of daily benefits, length of coverage and under what conditions the policy will pay a claim. While these basics form the chassis of the policy, long-term care policies offer a host of other options that may prove beneficial to the policyholder.  Let's take a look at some of these available options: Survivorship premium waiver - If both spouses obtain long-term care policies from one insurer, some policies will provide a waiver of all remaining premiums if one spouse dies within a certain number of years…

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