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Shedding Light On Arizona’s Medigap Policies

In Arizona, medical beneficiaries who are in need of help for paying Medicare expenses must consider enrolling in a Medicare Supplement Plan known as Medigap Plan. It must be noted that Medigap plans are available through private insurance companies, not only in Arizona but in every state across U.S.

Medigap plans generally help with the expenses which are incurred under original Medicare plans which are Plan A and Plan B. Medigap plans are now almost same across all of the United States in terms of both policies and cost. For those of you who are not sure about the number of Medigap plans, just know that there are 10 standardized Medigap plans available in all of the states. The plans are labelled from A to N where Plan A and Plan B are the most basic plans which every state offers under the rule of federal administration.

If you are already enrolled original Medicare Plan A and B, then you are eligible to sign up for Medigap Plans. Not many people know but the best time to buy a Medicare Supplement plan is during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This period starts as soon as you reach the age of 65 and is also enrolled in Medicare Plan B. Individuals can sign up for any Medigap plans during this time according to the plans available in their state. The important thing to keep in mind is that there are no additional enrollment periods besides each of theirs Medigap Open Enrollment Period.

In Arizona and across all of the United States, Medigap plans doesn’t include prescription drug coverage, so you have to enroll in a Part D plan for prescription for separate Medicare to cover the cost of medicines or drugs. Prescription drug plans for Medicare Part D in Arizona are available through private insurance companies.
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It has been observed through the survey that Arizona is the most famous destination to retire. Surprisingly, above a million residents of Arizona are dependent on the Medicare for their main source of health insurance.While no revolutionary changes in Medicare supplement insurance is scheduled for 2016, there are some things to keep in mind which may affect the safety and availability of certain plans.

Here is the possible increase in premiums and Part B deductible. For example, Plan C, Plan F, and high deductible Plan F covers Part B deductible, so if the increased rates for these popular supplements may also increase. In Arizona, all the Medicare Supplement Plans must conform to the standards set by the Medicare Organization. Supplement standards include names from A to N. Each supplement offers basic benefits like coinsurance and blood donations. The only thing to remember is that every supplement is identical from one or another insurance company. In order to determine rates, you must compare different insurers providing Medigap plans however there should not be a big difference because of the Arizona Medigap Policy.  It is important that you familiarize yourself before  with the Medigap plan as well as each and every plan before you make any purchase. 

Supplement Plan F is the most comprehensive among the 10 other plans, covering almost 100 % of Medicare related costs. But even for Medicare Supplement Plan F recipients in Arizona can still incur some out – of -pocket expenses such as Medicare Part B premium.

As soon as you reach the age of 65, you need only a phone call to buy Medigap policy and get excellent coverage without question. And if you buy a policy in the first six months of enrolling in Medicare, you do not have to answer questions about your health. Do not worry if your doctors are not in the network, because you will be covered if you see any doctor who accepts Medicare.

Many people don’t realize the fact that how much they will be spending if they will be selecting the plan which covers the entire Medigap plans. There are total of 10 Medigap plans and each one has its own benefit. The four most comprehensive plans are C, D, F and G which account for more than 60% of all the Medigap sales according to Kaiser Family Foundation research. Plan F, the most expensive among all of them and covers every Medicare gap represents 40% of all policies sold. If your health is good than you must consider a plan which is not much comprehensive for e.g. Plan N and L are good choices because they will save you around $200 to $400 a year.

Medicare and Medigap benefits are identical in all 50 states, however policies and pricing rules may differ (Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin have their own standardized plans). If you know the rules in your state,  this may save you money.  You can choose when to upgrade an existing plan to switch to another insurer or drop your current Medicare plan during the annual open enrollment to change Medigap policies.

Most of the people become eligible for Medicare when they turn 65, although some beneficiaries can get Medicare even before if they have some kind of disability. You will automatically get Medicare as soon as you turn 65 if you are already receiving Social Security benefits. Otherwise, you will have to enroll in Medicare during the enrollment period.

There are also many private Medicare options available if you are a Medicare beneficiary in Arizona. Medicare coverage like drug prescription and supplemental coverage are only available through private insurance companies. Your private Medicare options will depend on where you live and the plans available in your area. We hope you found this article helpful as we shed light on Arizona’s Medigap policies. If you are an Arizona resident, feel free to contact www.azmedicare.info for further details. 

Medicare Fraud Scams Net 75 In AZ, FBI Investigations

Two people have been arrested and charged with fraudulently billing insurance companies for more than $600,000 in services that were never provided. Gevorg Melkonyan and Elina Aruryunova are accused of stealing nearly 130 identities from Medicare recipients and 12 doctors to generate phony Medicare reimbursement claims.

The Department of Insurance became involved when one of the physicians whose identity was stolen contacted them to report that patients he had never treated were calling about charges from his office that showed up on their insurance statements. Further investigation led the Department to the fraudulent claimants.

The Obama administration recently awarded $9 million in grants to help more than 50 organizations combat Medicare fraud. Much of the money will be spent on information and education programs designed to teach Medicare recipients how to spot and report potential Medicare fraud. The grants, which fund the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) are targeted to assist in areas where Medicare fraud is among the highest. To date, the program has reached more than 3 million Medicare recipients and has produced more than 3,000 reports of Medicare fraud, waste and abuse.

Medicare fraud is a growing problem. The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association estimates that about 3% of total expenditures on health care are based on fraudulent claims. If the statistic is accurate, that means about $15 billion is wasted each year on fraudulent Medicare claims.

In October, the FBI launched raids that resulted in the arrests of 73 Armenians with ties to organized crime after finding billing for $163 million from nearly 120 non-existent clinics in 25 states. In this particular fraud ring, the organizers used identity information stolen from nearly 3,000 New York Medicare recipients to generate bills for services. About $36 million was paid since the operation began in 2006. Phony invoices for unreasonable tests performed by specialists tipped investigators to the fraudulent scheme.

SCAN Health Plan Hispanic Outreach Program Targets Arizona

SCAN Health Plan Arizona has unveiled an outreach program designed to help Arizona’s aging Hispanic population become more aware of its services for seniors. The program’s organizers say the goal of the effort is to help keep Hispanic Arizonans healthier and more independent for a longer period of time.

The outreach program works with other community organizations to deliver prevention and education programs and Spanish-language advertising materials to the state’s Hispanic media organizations. In addition, SCAN Health Plan Arizona will increase its participation in community health fairs, and will host open houses designed to attract Hispanic senior citizens.

Some Medicare patient advocates believe that new federal health reform legislation will result in reduced care for aging Hispanics. Under current regulations, they charge that a study by the Heritage Foundation shows as many as 41% of Arizona’s Hispanic seniors currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan will lose their coverage by 2017. This is in part due to changes in a beneficiary’s ability to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans when all of the health reform provisions are in effect.

Critics charge that beneficiaries who would have chosen Medicare Advantage plans under the old system will be barred from selecting that option under the new reform rules. The majority of persons affected by the change will be low-income and minority beneficiaries, many of whom are Hispanic. The Heritage Foundation report says that nearly 5 million Americans will either lose Medicare coverage altogether or will have their coverage significantly reduced, while their out-of-pocket expenses significantly increase.

SCAN hopes to reverse this and ensure that Medicare covers all Hispanic seniors in Arizona adequately by providing outreach programs in settings that are culturally sensitive, and in ways that eliminate the language barrier. The organization has already participated in one focus group study with Hispanic seniors and health care providers to better understand the concerns of Hispanic seniors and to make sure these concerns are addressed.

SCAN (Senior Care Action Network) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing affordable, comprehensive health care and health care advocacy for all seniors. The group is also active in the State of California.

Medicare Proves To Be Driving Issue In Midterm Elections

Planned cuts to Medicare spending are driving senior citizens to rethink their support of some candidates in the November election. Republicans wasted no time in trumpeting the fact that Democrats have “cut $500 billion from Medicare.” In reality, the plan calls for a reduction in the increase on federal Medicare spending. The increase has been trimmed from 6.8% to 5.5% annually.

Does this really translate into cuts for Medicare? Overall Medicare spending is expected to reach nearly $1 trillion by 2020. Currently, the federal government spends about $520 billion on Medicare annually. Over the next decade, the cuts will reduce anticipated Medicare spending from $7.6 trillion to $7.1 trillion, but annual spending on Medicare is still expected to increase.

The annual increases are due in part to the number of newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries. As the number of eligible seniors increases, more money must be made available to cover new participants in the program. Some participants will also be covered by private health plans, so seniors may actually receive better coverage.

Where are the reductions coming from? Right now, seniors are most likely to see reductions in coverage or coverage options if they’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage program. New rules prevent health care insurance organizations from offering multiple plans that substantially duplicate each other. Instead, the number of Medicare Advantage plans will be reduced, as will some benefits.

This reduction in Medicare Advantage benefits is designed to equalize government spending on persons enrolled in traditional Medicare and those enrolled in Medicare Advantage programs. Seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans may be able to keep some of their benefits (like vision, dental care and some preventative health benefits) by paying higher premiums than they have in the past.

The new regulations on Medicare Advantage plans will take effect January 1, 2011. Seniors who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan that is being withdrawn must choose new Medicare coverage during the Open Enrollment period to maintain Medicare coverage.

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