Medicare Plan Finder Being Updated

The CMS is planning to launch updates to its Medicare Plan Finder this month after a report from a government watchdog flagged significant usability concerns with the tool. The GAO analyzed the experience of comparing plans on MPF and found 58% of beneficiaries described the process as “difficult” while just 13% of beneficiaries said it was easy. “These selections can be difficult due to the Medicare program’s complexity, and can have important implications for beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs and access to providers,” the GAO said. This can limit a beneficiary’s ability to compare their options in traditional Medicare fully with Medicare Advantage plans, according to the report. The tool also lacks information on provider networks offered in M/A plans, which can also confuse the selection process, since it requires a beneficiary to visit individual plan websites to find that information.

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Part D Premiums Continue to Decrease

The average basic Medicare Part D premium for prescription drug plans is projected to decline, CMS announced. The announcement outlined a trend that’s extended over the past three years. Part D premiums decreased by 13.5% since 2016, saving beneficiaries around $1.9 billion. The actual average Part D premium in 2017 was $34.70. CMS projects that for 2020 the average Part D premium will decline to $30, a decline of around 13.5%.

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Medicare Spends 30% of All Drug $$ in U.S.

By the Kaiser Family Foundation – August 2, 2019

Prescription drug spending under Medicare now accounts for 30 percent of national retail spending on drugs, and nearly $1 out of every $5 in total Medicare spending. The majority of Medicare prescription drug spending is for drugs covered under Part D; Part B also covers drugs administered in physician offices.  ARTICLE

 

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Just Let It Go … Get Over It

By Anthony Iannarino – July 8, 2019

 There are 7.7 billion people on Earth. All of these people – every single one of them – have beliefs that conflict with yours. All of them. Recognize you have different beliefs and opinions and preferences from everyone else, even people with whom you have many shared beliefs. Recognize that they have the same right to hold beliefs that conflict with yours, as well as the right to express them. There’s no harm to you when other people express their opinions. It’s only when one wishes to impose their beliefs on others should someone take offense, or, in the worst of cases, outrage. Try not to be offended by ideas expressed by others that don’t conform with your own.

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Retirement in America: Hour By Hour

Cropped portrait of a group of quirky senior friends messing around outdoorsBy Glenn Ruffenach – The Wall Street Journal

 According to the Pew Research Center, which analyzed retirement habits, Americans age 60+ sleep just over 8½ hours a day. About seven hours are spent on leisure: three hours on chores and errands; a little more than one hour on eating; about one hour on personal activities, such as grooming and health care; and just under an hour on unpaid caregiving and volunteering. Men age 60+ spend two hours a day on paid work; women age 60+ spend one hour and 12 minutes.

Retirees, according to a Texas Tech study, spend 34 minutes a day on “food and drink preparation,” compared with just 17 minutes for full-time workers. Translation: retirees are more likely to eat in than dine out or buy prepared foods, and are saving money in the process.

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Retirement Health Care Costs Can Surprise

By Katie Brockman – MotleyFool  

Health insurance in retirement is widely misunderstood, which can be an expensive problem: 72% of adults over 50 admit they don’t fully understand how Medicare works, the Nationwide Retirement Institute found, and more than half believe that coverage is free. The average retiree spends around $4,300 per year on out-of-pocket health care costs, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, and that doesn’t include long-term care. Medicare will help cover costs, but coverage is far from free, and there’re still out-of-pocket expenses. Also, routine care – such as dental and vision care – isn’t typically covered under Original Medicare, so beneficiaries must foot the bill for those costs.

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