Archive for December, 2009

PostHeaderIcon Medicare Mix Up

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) erroneously notified 400 thousand Medicare Advantage (MA) beneficiaries that some MA plans will no longer be offered next year in service areas where plans will continue to operate. CMS blamed the affected plans, contending that they hadn’t properly filled out forms.
According to CMS spokesman the issue is limited in scope in terms of number of organizations affected and beneficiaries impacted. Don’t you feel better already? It only affected 400 thousand seniors and a limited number of insurance companies.
A little known fact in this matter is that MA plans aren’t allowed to send out communications without CMS approval. Therefore they are not allowed to correct CMS erroneous letter, unless it is approved by CMS.
Kindly, CMS agreed to review any written notice insurance companies (MA Plans) would like to send to their members.
One must ponder about this. Was this a simple problem of incomplete paperwork? Was this an attempt to get beneficiaries back to traditional Medicare? Was this an elaborate attempt to question MA plans reputation? We will never know…

PostHeaderIcon Pharmacy Service with a Smile

Last Sunday was one of those days; it rained all day, the air was cold. Unfortunately, we run into an unexpected medical problem. A visit to the local urgent care center was in order. The short medical trip resulted in two prescriptions.

Going to the local CVS drug store did not appeal to either of us, so I suggested trying something new. I called Hope Street Pharmacy and asked if they have these medications available. A friendly person on the other end asked me to fax the prescription and they will let me know. With the fax, I included our insurance card along with a request for delivery. In about 15 minutes, I received a phone call; asking the usual questions, such as allergy for medications, etc. She also told me that the driver would be leaving soon. About a half hour later, we had the medicines at our doorstep. Altogether, it took less time than going to CVS, waiting for the fill and coming back home. Our insurance picked up the cost, just as it would have paid at CVS or any other big chain pharmacies.

I am sharing this story for one reason only. If you live in Greenwich, Stamford, Darien neighborhoods you have an option to use your friendly neighborhood pharmacy, instead of going to one of the big and impersonal chain stores. You will have friendly service, and option for delivery and so much more. Hope Street Pharmacy also blister package or daily/weekly/monthly dose package medications per special request. They also provide compounding and many other special services to improve the life of others.

PostHeaderIcon Medicare premiums and enrollment

Medicare Premiums for 2010:

Part A: (Hospital Insurance) Premium

Most people do not pay a monthly Part A premium because they or a spouse has 40 or more quarters of Medicare-covered employment.
For those who have not earned Medicare part A, by working 10 years, monthly fees applies as follows:
•The Part A premium is $254.00 per month for people having 30-39 quarters of Medicare-covered employment.
•The Part A premium is $461.00 per month for people who are not otherwise eligible for premium-free hospital insurance and have less than 30 quarters of Medicare-covered employment.

Part B: (Medical Insurance) Premium

Most beneficiaries will continue to pay the same $96.40 premium amount in 2010. Beneficiaries who currently have the Social Security Administration (SSA) withhold their Part B premium and have incomes of $85,000 or less (or $170,000 or less for joint filers) will not have an increase in their Part B premium in 2010.
For all others, the standard Medicare Part B monthly premium will be $110.50 in 2010, which is a 15% increase over the 2009 premium. If your income is above $85,000 (single) or $170,000 (married couple), then your Medicare Part B premium may be higher than $110.50 per month.