CMS has announced a change in Medicare ID cards that will begin to take effect in April 2018. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 requires CMS to remove Social Security Numbers from all Medicare cards by April 2019. A new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will replace the SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) on the new Medicare cards for Medicare transactions, such as, billing eligibility status and claim status. The MBI will be confidential and should be protected as Personally Identifiable Information. The biggest reason CMS is implementing this change is to fight medical identity theft for people with Medicare. It will better protect private health care and financial information as well as federal health care benefit and service payments.
We often get questions relating to the enrollment of Medicare eligible veterans outside of the Annual Election Period. In short, veterans are treated just as any other Medicare eligible person. There are a few things to note, however, when working with a veteran who is Medicare eligible. Here’s a short list of things to consider when helping veterans make an informed decision about Medicare Advantage enrollment:
Over the last several months I had heard it all. Medicare Advantage is going away. The days of the Balanced Budget Act are back. Time to call in the dogs and put out the fires. But wait, a 3.3% increase to reimbursement rates? What happened to the 8% reduction? Looks like all the anxiety over Medicare Health Plans was for not.
Time and time again we have seen this play out in similar fashion. Government programs are introduced or adjusted, and instead of detracting from the potential of the market, it creates more opportunity than ever before. This phenomenon goes all the way back to the inception of the Medicare trust fund, to the standardization of Medicare supplements, to the MMA, and now Health Reform known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Contrary to initial reactions, history shows us that these laws have created enormous opportunities for agents and agencies who are prepared.
Earlier this week I read that our country’s spending on health care has been at historic lows for a third straight year. The conclusion was formed by comparing health spending growth rates to the overall growth of the economy, reasoning that it’s easier to keep up with the costs if the two are aligned, than if health spending surges ahead.
You have been kind enough to receive emails from me for the last seven years about Humana’s Medicare Advantage plans. Today I would like to share my personal experience from yesterday with enrolling into a Humana plan.