New Medicare Advantage Rules Proposed to Protect Seniors
Waxahachie, TX (Law Firm Newswire) April 4, 2014 – In the autumn of 2013, UnitedHealthcare dropped thousands of doctors across the country from its Medicare Advantage plans. At least ten states were affected.
Nearly 16 million people are enrolled in Medicare Advantage, and many struggled to make the adjustments needed before the December enrollment deadline. These struggles sparked a national concern: how does Medicare Advantage protect seniors when private insurance companies make changes?
Under Medicare Advantage, the federal government reimburses insurance carriers for their care of beneficiaries. UnitedHealthcare is one of the leading providers. When an insurance company makes a major change, the results can affect huge numbers of those involved in the program.
Now, federal officials have proposed safeguards to ensure that elder citizens receive the time they need to make their own changes in response to a carrier’s. “The importance of these proposed measures cannot be overstated,” commented elder care law attorney John D. Hale.
The Texan lawyer explained the protection that the proposed measures offer. “When the most recent cuts were made, seniors had very little time to change their plans before being locked into them. The UnitedHealthcare drop took place just a few weeks before the December 7 Medicare enrollment deadline. If the government proposals go through, Medicare Advantage beneficiaries will receive more than 30 days to make any coverage changes they need because of cuts. Providers will receive at least 60. It’s a step toward proper, supportive consideration for beneficiaries.”
Additionally, if network providers left a network outside of the normal enrollment period, specified language concerning patients’ rights would now be required within the announcement.
The changes to Medicare Advantage may necessitate many health care changes for affected seniors. If a beneficiary’s provider was dropped, he or she will need time to find a new one. Some may wish to choose a different healthcare plan or enroll in traditional Medicare, which does not restrict beneficiaries to a limited network of providers in the same way.
In the past year, Medicare funding and policies have undergone enormous change. Considerations for seniors are just one part of the government’s proposals to respond to those changes. The full announcement spanned 148 pages. A final decision on the senior protection measures is expected as early as April 7, and the announcement’s full components will be debated in the months to come.
The Hale Law Firm
100 Executive Court, Suite 3
Waxahachie, TX 75165
The Hale Law Firm
4925 Greenville Avenue #200
Dallas, TX 75206
View Larger Map
- Elderly Phone Scam Resurfaces Across Nation, Adapts to Established Suspicions
Some publications call it the “Grandparent Scam.” The phone rings, and the frantic, young voice on the line asks its grandparents for help. Typically, the caller claims to be trapped in jail and desperately in need of bail money. The voice is ashamed and scared; it begs its grandparents to keep the bail and the arrest a secret from parents. Other voices are put on the line. They claim to be judges, police officers and public defenders, all of whom insist that these scam victims need to wire money or send prepaid cash cards to their “grandchild” immediately. Seniors can [...]
- What You Can Do During Medicare Open Enrollment
Medicare open enrollment runs through December 7, and it is a good time for beneficiaries to make sure they are satisfied with their Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. During open enrollment, people on Medicare can shop around for Part D plans and the optional Medicare Advantage plans. If a beneficiary’s health or prescriptions for medication have changed in the past year, then it might be a good idea to compare plans. It also may be that the plan itself is what has changed: many plans have increased premiums or copayments or changed the pricing tiers for prescription medication. If [...]
- Texas Leads Nation in Construction of Senior Housing
There are more senior housing units under construction in Texas than anywhere else in the country, according to a research report from Marcus & Millichap, a real estate investment services firm. There are currently more than 2,000 units of senior housing being built in Texas. Thirteen states, including Minnesota, Florida and Tennessee, have more than 1,000 but fewer than 2,000 units under construction. The firm’s report said that the construction was driven by demand, particularly for dementia care. About 40 percent of people over the age of 85 have Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, and the over-85 population is expected [...]
- Texas Scores Poorly in Nursing Home Care
Families for Better Care, a nonprofit group that advocates for better nursing home care, has released its first state-by-state nursing home report card, which ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia according to quality of care. Unfortunately for Texas residents seeking nursing home care, the state ranked last in the report, with an F grade. To compile the information used in the report cards, the group used performance data from the Nursing Home Compare program of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Kaiser Health Foundation performance information, and complaint data provided by each state’s Office of the [...]
- Thieves and Scammers Target Elders
An alarming number of scams and thefts target elders. One type of scam takes advantage of the public’s confusion over changes in health insurance. Someone perpetrating this type of fraud may call a senior and say that new Medicare cards are being issued and they just need to verify some personal information. A similar trick is for callers to say they are IRS agents. The goal is to obtain personal details such as Social Security numbers, which can be used to set up credit cards or loans in victims’ names, or claim their income tax refunds. Seniors may be targeted [...]