Is Acupuncture Covered by Medicare Is acupuncture covered by Medicare? Only if you have chronic low back pain as defined by Medicare. Let's look at what that means and what treatments are available. This article is part of our series "What Does Medicare Cover?" Click the link to read about more frequently asked coverage questions in that article. Medicare Acupuncture Coverage for Lower Back Pain If you have chronic lower back pain, Medicare will cover a certain amount of acupuncture visits for you. It is covered under Medicare Part B. What is considered "Chronic Lower Back Pain?" According to the ... Read More
What Does Medicare Cover? The Most Frequently Asked Medicare Coverage Questions This is a quick directory answering what Medicare will and will not cover. We will list out frequently asked questions, brief answers, and links to more in depth articles if we have them. Medicare Ambulance Coverage Medicare does cover ambulance coverage for approved emergency situations. Original Medicare covers 80% of the cost of service. You additional plans will cover all or part of the rest. Read more about Medicare ambulance coverage here. Medicare and Hearing Aids Does Medicare cover hearing aids? While there might be some Medicare Advantage Plans ... Read More
Does Medicare Cover Chiropractic Care / Services? Yes, when deemed medically necessary, Medicare does cover chiropractic services. Original Medicare Part B pays for 80% of the cost of chiropractic services. You will pay the other 20% is the co-insurance - unless you have supplemental insurance. "Medically necessary" chiropractic care is defined as manual manipulation of the spine to correct a subluxation by a qualified provider such as a chiropractor. (Medicare.gov source info). What is a Subluxation? A subluxation is when one or more of your bones moves out of position. In other words, your spinal vertebrae are out of position ... Read More
Does Medicare Cover Cataract Surgery? Yes, Medicare covers cataract surgery. Medicare Part B covers the costs associated with cataract surgery. This includes if you need corrective lenses as a result from surgery. (Such as glasses or contact lenses.) Let's get into the necessary details you will want to know before cataract surgery. (Such as, how much will I pay?) But first, what is a Cataract? And second, why would you need cataract surgery? What is a Cataract? According to the National Health Institute: Cataracts are a cloudy area in the eye's lens that affects vision. To start, cataracts are a ... Read More
Does Medicare Cover Ambulance Services? Yes, Medicare covers ambulance services in approved emergency situations. As with all Medicare covered costs, you will pay 20% of the cost of service, unless you have additional coverage. Let's break down in more detail - what is covered and how it gets paid for. Does Medicare Pay for Ambulance Services? Medicare Part B covers ambulance services. (Part B is medical insurance. To learn more about what Part A and Part B offers, visit this page.) What does the government describe as covered ambulance services? Well, they include: Emergency ground transportation to a hospital (including ... Read More
How Long Does Medicare Pay for Rehab? How Long Does Medicare Pay for Rehab? It depends on what Medicare Plan you have. Medicare often pays for at least part of medically necessary rehab. However, how it pays, and how much it pays, for your rehab is dependent on what type of care you need and what kind of Medicare plan you have. Let's look at the various types of rehab and how: Original Medicare, Medigap, and Medicare Advantage address coverage. Original Medicare Rehabilitation Medicare Parts A B C D Explained Rehab, or Inpatient Rehabilitation Care, is part of Medicare Part ... Read More
Does Medicare Pay for Stem Cell Therapy? When does Medicare pay for stem cell therapy? The answer is: in a limited amount of cases. Stem cell therapy is still controversial and expensive. Moreover, there are limited amounts of studies available on specific therapies and procedures. As a result, Medicare's coverage of stem cell therapies, including transplants, is minimal. If you have a sick loved one, or if you yourself are sick, it makes sense to want to research every option available for quick healing. During your search, you may run into "stem cell therapy" as a treatment option. Sometimes, stem ... Read More
What is MAPD? There are a lot of acronyms in Medicare, and even more in insurance. We know, it can get very confusing when you are not hip to the "Medicare/ insurance world" lingo. As a result, one of the most repeated acronym questions we hear is: What is MAPD? Medicare MAPD plans are private insurance plans offered by Insurance Carriers to replace Original Medicare. Also called Medicare Part C, they offer a single payer option to beneficiaries. In addition, they offer extra benefits to members above and beyond what is covered in Medicare Part A and Part B. Finally, ... Read More
Attained Age vs Issue Age Medicare Supplement Insurance Companies all price their plans differently. One of the biggest differences between plan prices is whether or not an insurance company uses attained age vs issue age to price their Medigap plans. Background Information: What is a Medicare Supplement? Medicare Supplement plans, also called Medigap Plans since they cover the gaps in Original Medicare coverage, are issued by private insurance companies. Click here to read a simple, but comprehensive introduction to Medicare Supplement (aka Medigap) Plans. Standard Coverages from Each Medicare Supplement Plan CLICK HERE to see more about the various Medigap ... Read More
What is Medicare Plan G? When people talk about Medicare Plan G, they are referring to the Medicare Supplement Plan G. It can also be called a Medigap Plan G. Plan G is on its way to becoming the most popular Supplement Plan. 2020, is the first year that people newly aging into Medicare cannot choose a supplement that covers the Medicare Part B Deductible. This included Plans F and Plan C. However, people who have already turned 65 before January 1, 2020 can still choose a plan F or C at any point going forward. They are considered "grandfathered ... Read More
What are Part B Excess Charges? Medicare Part B Excess Charges are important to understand when you are deciding what Medigap Plan (Medicare Supplement) to get. Every once-in-a-while, we hear from a client that is confused about a doctor's bill. They are confused that there is a fee they need to pay that Medicare didn't cover that they thought was covered by Medicare. Moreover, they have a supplement, that they believe should have also picked up the rest of the cost. Often times, this fee turns out to be an "excess charge." Let's see what this means. Excess Charges in ... Read More
How to Apply for Medicare (An Ultimate Guide) With so many rules, regulations, exceptions and unique situations, Medicare enrollment can get confusing. We are here to make it simple and easy. Here is how to apply for Medicare. How to enroll in all part of Medicare - including: Original Medicare (Parts A & B)Prescription Drug Plans (Part D) Then... Either Medicare Advantage (Part C)Or Medicare Supplements (also called Medigap Plans)Read this article if you need help deciding which one is best for you. Applying For Medicare Overview Infographic Applying for Medicare - Parts A & B Let's get right to ... Read More
What is Medicare Plan F? You may have heard, but there have been changes with who can get what Medicare Supplement Plans (aka Medigap Plans) now. Plan F and Plan C are not available to people turning 65 on or after 2020. So, you might be wondering, what is Medicare Plan F? In this quick article, let's look at what are Medicare Supplements and then specifically, what is Medicare Supplement Plan F. Medicare Supplement Plans Explained Medicare Supplement plans are supplemental policies that people can purchase to cover the costs that Original Medicare does not pick up. There are many ... Read More
Is Medicare Plan F Going Away? As a Medicare Health Insurance Agent I hear this question over and over: "Is Medicare Plan F Going Away?" The simple answer is, no, Plan F is not going away. However, not everyone can sign-up for it as of January 2020. Who Can Still Get a Medigap Plan F? Medicare Beneficiaries who turned 65 prior to January 2020, are eligible to purchase a Plan F Medicare Supplement. They will either have to have a special enrollment period for guaranteed acceptance, or go through Medical Underwriting to get into a plan. Need Some Background Information? ... Read More
What is Silver Sneakers? Maybe you just overhead your neighbor talking about his free gym membership, or maybe your doctor asked you if you are a SilverSneakers user. You might then be wondering, just what it Silver Sneakers? SilverSneakers(r) is a fitness and wellness program for seniors age 65 and up. It includes free gym memberships across the country, and it is included with many Medicare Advantage Plans. NOTE: If you are a part of AARP's Unitedhealthcare's Medicare Advantage Plans, then you will be a part of Renew Active. This is a similar program, but has several differences you can ... Read More
What is the Medicare Donut Hole? The Medicare Donut Hole (or Doughnut Hole) is a coverage gap in the Part D Prescription Drug Plan where beneficiaries could pay more for their drugs. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) calls the coverage gap a "temporary limit" on what their drug plan will cover. Why Did My Drugs Get More Expensive this Month? During Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) this year I was stationed at a pharmacy a few hours a week to answer people's questions. One gentleman came up to me and said, "The Pharmacist sent me over to ... Read More
2020 Part B Deductible / 2021 Part B Deductible for Medicare The 2021 changes for Medicare were released this month. The 2021 Part B Deductible is just one of the increases you will see. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released their updates for the coming year in a press release. Let's look at what is changing. Part B Deductible for 2020 In 2021, the Medicare Part B Deductible will be $203. In contrast, the deductible was 198 for 2020. This is an increase of $5. Part B Premiums for 2021 In 2021, the Medicare Part B Monthly ... Read More
Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids? One questions we hear a lot at Medicare Life Health is "Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids? The simple answer is NO. However, some Medicare Advantage Plans will. Let's look at both. Original Medicare Will Not Cover Hearing Aids. Original Medicare - Parts A & B run and administered by the Federal Government - does not pay for hearing aids. In addition, it does not cover exams or fittings needed for hearing aids. As an exception, Medicare will cover any hearing exams ordered by your doctor for medical treatment. Here is the direct quote from the ... Read More
How Much Does Medicare Cost? Medicare costs can be different person to person, depending on which type of plan you choose. After you have a basic understanding of Medicare and it's basic components, you will want to know how much does Medicare cost? The answer is, it depends on how you structure it. Let's break down what you could be paying. Medicare Costs Broken Down & Made Simple When you set up your Medicare, you will decide if: You just want Original Medicare (Parts A & B) and a Prescription Drug Plan (Part D).You want Original Medicare plus a Medigap ... Read More
What are the Medicare Penalties for Late Enrollment? There are two main Medicare penalties for late enrollment to be aware of when you are planning your health care in retirement. The first is the Part B late enrollment penalty, and the second is the Part D late enrollment penalty. Let's look at both penalties and how you can avoid them. If you need some definitions and background, please read the following articles: What are the Parts of Medicare?What is covered with Medicare Part A?What are the Changes to Medicare Part B? Part B (and Part A) Late Enrollment Penalties As ... Read More
What is AEP? Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period AEP stands for Annual Enrollment Period. It is the time of year when Medicare Beneficiaries can switch or enroll in Medicare Part D, drug plans and / or Medicare Advantage Plans. Do you love a good acronym? How about a very large amount of them? The health and insurance industries are nothing if not full of confusing acronyms. Moreover, "industry people" will just assume you know them all. AEP is no exception, so let's discuss what actually is the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. The Definition of AEP AEP stands for Medicare's Annual Enrollment ... Read More
The Most Frequently Asked Medicare Questions (FAQ's) & Answers Once you are familiar with the basics of Medicare, these are the Medicare questions we hear the most often that you might have too. If you are starting from the beginning and do not have a basic understanding of Medicare, we recommend checking out our pages that detail out the basics on: What is Medicare?Medigap Plans (Medicare Supplement Plans)Medicare Advantage Plans (MA/MAPD)Prescription Drug PlansMedigap vs Medicare AdvantageWhat Does Medicare Cover Can I have both Medicare Advantage and a Medicare Supplement? No, you have one or the other. Not both, they do ... Read More
Medicare Advantage vs Medicare Supplement (Medigap): What Medicare Plan is Best for Me? I am a firm believer that there is a good Medicare health plan out there for everyone. Moreover, there might even be more than one good choice out there for your situation. If there is more than one good choice available to you, you might be weighing your options right now - Medicare Advantage vs Medicare Supplement. First, Let's review your Medicare options: Original Medicare (no supplement) Certainly, stand-alone Medicare coverage is an option. You would still want to get Part D Prescription coverage. (There are penalties ... Read More
What is Medicare Advantage? In this article, we look at what is Medicare Advantage (aka Medicare Part C). As we discussed in our Medicare 101 Post, there are two different Medicare paths. You will choose one when you are setting up your health care in retirement. Path One = Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, with a stand alone Prescription Drug Plan (Part D) and an optional Medigap (Medicare Supplement) Plan. Path Two = Medicare Advantage (Part C) that replaces Medicare Part A and Part B and typcially includes a Part D Drug Plan. These plans are offered by ... Read More
What are Medicare Supplements? What are Medicare Supplements? First, Medicare Supplements have many names: Medigap Policies, Med Sup, Medicare Supplement Insurance. However, they all refer to the optional insurance coverage taken on by Original Medicare participants. Medigap or Medicare Supplement coverage helps them in covering costs that the Medicare does not pay. For example, Medicare Part A leaves 20% of costs to participants as coinsurance. Co-pays or coinsurance is an out-of-pocket expense. There is no penalty to not having a supplement. (Unlike not having a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plans, which does have penalties down the road if not ... Read More
What is Medicare? Medicare is the U.S. national health care program that provides seniors age 65 and older, and some disabled people, with health insurance. The U.S. government started the program in 1966. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services runs these programs. Medicare also covers people with end stage renal disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. (Visit the government's website, if you want more info on these situations). A Simple Guide to the Basics To start, we will assume you know very little. This article breaks down the basics of our national health care system and its various parts. We ... Read More
If you are starting from the beginning and do not have a basic understanding of Medicare, we recommend checking out our pages that detail out the basics on:
In addition, the government publishes a Guidebook to every year called Medicare and You. You can find our review and User’s Manual to this 120-page book here: Medicare and You 2020.
Who should I talk to if I have more Medicare Questions or if I want Medigap or Medicare Advantage?
You can compare Supplement and MA plans online, but I suggest you talk to a professional, independent insurance broker. They can help you compare plans. Moreover, it won’t cost you any more money to use a professional. Both Medigap and Medicare Advantage Plans can be overwhelming when you are trying to pick one, especially if there are many offered in your area.
Remember, independent agents work for you (not the carriers). In addition, having an actual person to help you in communicating to insurance carriers and keeping you updated each year is very valuable. This is something you don’t get if you sign-up directly with a company online.