Comparing Traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage

Recent research by the Kaiser Family Foundation examined the differences between traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage. While people in either program were similarly satisfied with their care and overall care coordination, some distinctions became apparent. Traditional Medicare’s Strengths Traditional Medicare is a federal health insurance program for adults 65 and older and individuals with disabilities. […]

Social Security and Medicare Financial Outlooks Improve Slightly Due to Rebounding Economy

          An economy that is recovering from the pandemic faster than expected means that the Social Security and Medicare trustees are predicting that both programs’ trust funds will remain solvent longer than they forecast last year. While this is a short-term improvement, major difficulties loom unless Congress acts.   Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare […]

Medicare Enrollment Period Extended for Those Who’ve Been Getting a Busy Signal

          Medicare is part of the Social Security Administration (SSA), so if you need to enroll in Medicare, that’s whom you contact. But in recent months, phone lines at the SSA were experiencing major technical issues, preventing some individuals from being able to reach the SSA via telephone in a timely manner. These issues affected the […]

Medicare Advantage Plans Often Wrongly Deny Necessary Care, Study Finds

In an alarming number of instances, private Medicare Advantage plans are denying coverage for medical services that would be covered under original Medicare, according to a federal investigation. These denials are likely preventing or delaying medically necessary care for tens of thousands of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries each year. The investigation by the Department of Health and […]

Rather Than End Controversial Medicare Initiative, Biden Gives It a Makeover

In the face of mounting criticism that its Direct Contracting initiative will undermine traditional Medicare, the Biden administration announced that rather than terminate the model, it is changing its name and adding protections against abuse. The revamped program is a mouthful: the Accountable Care Organization Realizing Equity, Access, and Community Care (ACO REACH) Model. Direct Contracting’s critics, who […]

Medicare’s Controversial Direct Contracting Program Hits Biden Administration’s Radar

The Biden administration is hearing mounting calls to end a program that advocates warn will radically transform Medicare.  At the same time, the administration is getting counter-pressure from the health care industry that sees a sudden threat to the potentially lucrative plan.  A decision may be coming soon. As recently as early December 2021 the program, known as Direct […]

Medicare Won’t Cover Rapid At-Home Covid Tests

Americans’ ability to quickly and easily test for Covid-19 is one of the most important tools for stopping the infection’s spread.  This is why the Biden administration recently announced it is requiring private insurers to cover the cost of up to eight rapid at-home Covid tests a month purchased at retail stores and pharmacies.  But […]

Advocates Sound Alarm About Pilot Program They Say Could Privatize All of Medicare

The Biden administration is moving forward with a Trump-era pilot program that would hand over the care of millions of Medicare beneficiaries to private, mostly for-profit, groups.  Health care advocates warn that the little-known plan will limit patients’ choice of providers and effectively privatize Medicare for beneficiaries who specifically chose traditional, public Medicare because they […]

Medicare Premiums to Increase Dramatically in 2022

Medicare premiums are rising sharply next year, cutting into the large Social Security cost-of-living increase. The basic monthly premium will jump 15.5 percent, or $21.60, from $148.50 to $170.10 a month. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the premium and other Medicare cost increases on November 12, 2021. The steep hike is […]

Medicare Would Cover Dental, Vision, and Hearing Under Senate Democrats’ Spending Plan

The Senate Democrats’ proposal for a $3.5 trillion spending plan includes expanding Medicare to provide dental, vision, and hearing benefits. The proposal is now being negotiated in Congress.  Currently Medicare does not offer much in the way of dental, vision, and hearing benefits. Medicare Part A will cover certain emergency or necessary procedures that are […]