Medicare Basics

  • Trump Budget Blueprint Targets Medicare Counseling Program For Cuts

    By on April 5, 2017

    The Trump administration is proposing dramatic cuts to the State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIP), collectively known as HICAP in California. Trump’s budget would slash SHIP’s $52 million annual budget by $49 million, effectively ending federal support of the program.

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  • President’s Proposed Budget Would Eliminate SHIP Funding

    By on April 3, 2017

    More details of the President’s proposed budget were released last week outlining innumerable cuts to social service programs, including essentially eliminating funds for the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). SHIP funding pays the 24 local Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Programs (HICAPs) here in California to provide Medicare counseling and assistance to Medicare...

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  • We Won a Victory for Health Care Last Week & Our Vigilance Must Continue

    By on March 27, 2017

    Last week’s canceled vote on the GOP’s American Health Care Act (AHCA) marks a victory in health care for millions of Americans young to old. Thanks to the enormous public outcry, speaking out from advocates across the country, and opposition efforts by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan called off the...

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  • Equitable Relief Waives Part B Penalties for Qualified Beneficiaries

    By on March 2, 2017

    The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) announced that for a limited time it is offering equitable relief to certain Medicare beneficiaries currently enrolled in Medicare Part A and coverage through the individual Marketplace. This relief provides eligible beneficiaries the opportunity to enroll in Medicare Part B without penalty. Further, CMS is also...

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  • Do You Qualify for a Special Enrollment Period?

    By on February 14, 2017

    Medicare’s Special Enrollment Periods – called “SEPs “ – allow you to leave your Medicare Advantage Plan or your Part D Prescription Drug Plan and enroll in a different plan, even if it is not during Medicare’s annual open enrollment period from Oct 15 – Dec 7 each year. This article explains a few...

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  • Medicare Counseling Session Saves Family Over $10,000 in Avoided Costs

    By on February 7, 2017

    Highlighted below is one of many such success stories of our state's Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (HICAP). In just one session, HICAP Counselor, John Lee of Contra Costa County counseled a woman becoming eligible for Medicare, looked at her father's coverage and helped her find a much less expensive plan for him...

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  • What’s New in Medicare for 2017?

    By on January 24, 2017

    Understand your Medicare Part B premium, deductible and Part D costs for 2017.

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  • The Hirono Amendment Aims to Protect Medicare & Medicaid

    By on January 11, 2017

    Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) created an amendment to protect Medicare and Medicaid. California Health Advocates and advocates across the country have signed on as co-sponsors to protect these programs from the reconciliation process by creating a budget point of order to prevent any changes to Medicare would that raise...

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  • New Medicare Rules Help Assure High-Need Patients Get Better Care

    By on January 5, 2017

    As of January 1, 2017, Medicare has new regulations in effect that will pay for much of physicians' previously uncompensated time in care coordination for high-need elderly patients. For example, under the new rules, physicians will be compensated for the extra team work involved in complex chronic care management, such as working with nurses,...

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  • Do You Know Your Medigap Guaranteed Issue Rights?

    By on December 27, 2016

    Medigap policies are a form of private supplemental insurance that pay for part or all of Medicare’s coinsurance and deductibles. Certain policies also cover health care costs that Medicare doesn’t cover, such as emergency medical care in foreign countries, and excess charges from a provider who does not accept assignment. Medigap policies do not restrict you to a network...

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