Question: Can I be penalized for not joining a Medicare prescription drug plan when I’m first eligible?
Answer: Yes. If you don’t join a Medicare prescription drug plan when you’re first eligible or go without prescription drug coverage for a period of 63 or more days in a row after you qualify, you may have to pay a late-enrollment penalty.
Seniors get to choose a new Medicare Part D prescription drug plan each year during an annual enrollment period from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. About 22.7 million people, or 43 percent of Medicare’s 52 million beneficiaries, are enrolled in these drug policies.
Shop around every year because premiums, covered medications, out-of-pocket costs and the plans offered change each year.
Medicare officials recommend seniors shop around for a new plan even if they are happy with their current coverage because premiums, covered medications, out-of-pocket costs and the plans offered change each year. Read more
Seniors can spend days in the hospital under observation care instead of as an admitted patient, which means they have to pay more money out of pocket for drugs and other expenses and they lose coverage for post-hospital nursing care.
Question: My mother was in the hospital for several days and then we had to put her in a nursing home. It turns out that she was never considered an admitted patient while in the hospital. She was considered outpatient under observation care. Because of that, the nursing home is saying we have to pay out of pocket for her nursing home care. How can I fix this?
Answer: You can challenge the observation status. The Center for Medicare Advocacy recommends patients file two kinds of appeals. For more information, read Seniors Increasingly Entering Hospitals As Observation Patients. Read more
Seniors overwhelmingly vote yes to protect their access to Medicare skilled home health care.
Bring the Vote Home, an initiative created to help senior citizens, disabled Americans, their family members, and their home healthcare clinicians participate in the nation’s democratic process, released new polling data on American seniors’ opinions on the value of Medicare skilled home health care services and proposed cuts that threaten to reduce Medicare home health funding by an unprecedented 14 percent. The poll, which surveyed 4,533 registered voters aged 65 and older, finds that American seniors overwhelmingly favor Medicare home health services and strongly oppose additional cuts to the benefit. Read more