How MB Senior Solutions Helped a Union’s Retirees Find the Right Plan for Them

In 2009, as they exited bankruptcy, a large employer chose to terminate Medicare benefits for its union retirees. To assist these retirees in finding other sources of coverage, the employer contracted with a national Medicare Coordinator that specialized in guiding seniors via an out-of-town telephone call center. The retirees had the option to use this service or to find an individual Medicare solution on their own. The retirees desired a more personalized service from the Union that would provide them with one-on-one guidance and high touch enrollment support.

That’s where MB Senior Solutions came in! The confusion about Medicare amongst the Union retirees and their desire for more personalized services prompted the Union to partner with us. Through our RetireMed™ program, the retirees would have access to experts in Medicare who could assist them in choosing the right health plan for their needs.

At no cost to the retiree or the Union, we provided each retiree and spouse with the following services:

-        Group education meetings reviewing the basics of Medicare

-        A detailed analysis of their health care needs

-        A tailored plan recommendation provided by a Benefit Advisor in a one-on-one meeting

-        Enrollment application support including submission to the insurance companies

-        Verification of successful enrollment

-        Year-round Client Advocacy support from a team of highly trained customer service specialists

-        Annual review of health coverage to ensure the retiree’s Medicare plan continues to meet their needs in the coming year.

And The Results Are…

MB Senior Solutions conducted educational meetings at local union halls throughout Ohio and Benefit Advisors met with approximately 12,000 retirees and helped over 9,800 of them enroll in a Medicare plan. As of the end of 2012, MBSS had retained over 97 percent of those retirees who enrolled with them.

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What is Medicare?

Medicare was introduced in 1965 to provide Americans with more affordable health care after retirement. In order to be eligible for Medicare, you must either be 65 years of age, or if you are under 65, you must qualify on the basis of disability. You must also be a US citizen or legal resident for at least 5 consecutive years.

There are four basic Medicare plan designs:

  • Original Medicare, which includes only Medicare Part A and Part B
  • Medicare Supplement plans, also known as Medigap plans
  • Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Part C
  • Prescription Drug plans, also known as Part D

Medicare Marketplace

What is Original Medicare?

Original Medicare includes both Medicare Part A and Part B. Part A is hospital insurance and in general covers hospital care, skilled nursing facility, hospice care and some home health services.

Part A includes deductibles, copays and in some cases a monthly premium. Although most people who paid Medicare taxes while working will receive “Premium Free Part A,” some who did not could pay up to $441 a month in 2013.

Part B helps cover physician services and outpatient hospital care and has an annual deductible and monthly premium that is based on income.

Although Original Medicare covers both inpatient and outpatient care, it is important to find additional coverage that is right for you, to offset some of the costs that are not paid for by Medicare.

Check back to find out more about Medicare Supplements and Medicare Advantage plans that help fill the gaps of Original Medicare!

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How We Helped a Leading Regional Hospital Become a Valuable Medicare Resource for its Community

Regional hospitals offer many services and educational programs for patients and the surrounding community. But, how many of those programs focus on Medicare? A leading regional hospital decided that it was time to take its commitment to educating patients and the local community, especially seniors, to a new level by offering educational programs focused on Medicare. Since this is our area of expertise they called us.

As part of their effort to enhance their educational offerings, the hospital’s leadership contacted us in late 2011 about providing their patients and community members with access to MB Senior Solutions’ RetireMed™ program. The partnership would allow the hospital to strengthen its relationship with the community, especially seniors, by providing them with education about an important topic – Medicare.

Through the RetireMed program, the hospital’s Medicare-eligible retirees and members of the local community gained invaluable knowledge about navigating their Medicare options. We provided each individual with the following services at no cost to them or the hospital:

-        A detailed analysis of their health care needs

-        A tailored plan recommendation provided by a Benefit Advisor in a one-on-one meeting

-        Enrollment application support including submission to the insurance company

-        Verification of successful enrollment

-        Year-round customer support from a team of Client Advocates

-        Annual review of health care coverage to ensure the individual’s Medicare plan continues to meet their needs in the coming year

What happened?

By offering the RetireMed program, administered by MB Senior Solutions, to their retirees and the community, this regional hospital was able to provide seniors with access to experts in Medicare, no doubt elevating the value of their brand within the community they serve.

For more information about MB Senior Solutions, please contact us at www.mbseniorsolutions.com or call 877-222-1942.

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Medicare Advantage: What Seniors Need to Know

Watch MB Senior Solutions’ Don Mackos discuss Medicare Advantage and what seniors need to know following the April 1 announcement.

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Is MB Senior Solutions Right for My Company?

How MB Senior Solutions Assisted a Local Company’s Retirees and Relieved their HR Department

Whether you’re an individual or employer, Medicare is confusing. Many human resource departments are overextended just trying to keep up with health care reform and do not have the time to develop their Medicare expertise. In mid-2010, the HR department at one of Cincinnati’s largest employers found themselves in that situation. This is where experts, like us, can help!

There was confusion amongst retiring employees about their Medicare options and many retirees ended up being enrolled in plans that did not best fit their needs. As a result, management received numerous complaints from retirees, who were confused and dissatisfied with their options.

The company wanted to be able to offer their retirees more choices, but they understood that this required a high level of attention and additional expertise from their already overextended human resources staff. The company sought out a service that would provide individual, face-to-face guidance and a wide variety of options, which would meet the needs of their retirees and their HR staff.

This is where we come in! We assisted their participating retirees and their spouses. At no cost to the retiree or employer, we provided each individual with:

  • An individual, detailed analysis of their health care needs
  • Plan options provided by a Benefit Advisor in a one-on-one meeting
  • Enrollment application support including submission to the insurance company
  • Year-round Client Advocacy support from a team of highly trained customer service specialists
  • An annual review of health coverage to ensure the retiree’s Medicare plan continues to meet their needs in the coming year

What Happened?

During the fall of 2010, MBSS Benefit Advisors helped approximately 1100 retirees  review and select  Medicare plan options that met their individual needs. A 2011 client satisfaction survey showed 90 percent of clients who responded planned to continue to use the services of MBSS. If you have questions or if your organization needs help, please contact us at MBSeniorSolutions.com or 877-222-1942.

Posted in medicare

What’s Happening with Medicare Advantage Plans in 2014?

You might have heard some buzz about Medicare Advantage plans changing in 2014. On February 15, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed changes and they will announce their decision on April 1. Below is an overview of what’s happening with Medicare Advantage and what you need to know:

What is Medicare Advantage?

Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Part C plans, are offered by private insurance companies. These insurance companies contract with the government to provide Medicare coverage at rates set by the federal government. Most Medicare Advantage plans include a Part D prescription drug benefit.

The program has become enormously popular over the past several years because Medicare Advantage plans typically offer better benefits than Medicare, and do so at a savings to the government. In fact, about 28 percent of Medicare-eligible seniors nationally and 35 percent in Ohio have opted to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans.

Sounds great! Why is it changing?

Provisions in the Affordable Care Act called for reduced payments by the federal government to private insurers administering Medicare Advantage plans. CMS proposed a reduction in payments for Medicare Advantage plans for the first time since their creation in 2006. According to the private insurers who administer the plans, the proposed reductions will greatly impact the 2014 Medicare Advantage plans by necessitating an increase in premiums, a reduction in benefits, or both.

What’s Happening on April 1?

CMS will announce the changes on April 1. Upon the release of this news, the private insurance companies will begin designing their 2014 Medicare Advantage plans. The amount of the reductions is unknown at this point, but there will be changes in plans regardless, so seniors will definitely want to review their coverage this fall.

 

After CMS shares their decision, we’ll share an update with more news about what the changes mean and what you should do next. 

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Welcome to Our New and Improved Blog

We’re excited to announce that we’ve relaunched our blog, and that we have a new website which will be launching very soon! Whether you’re an employer looking for guidance and resources for your retiring employees or you’re an individual with questions about your current or new Medicare plan, we hope this blog will provide you with much-needed answers and clarity.

Medicare is confusing—we make it simple. If you’re new to our blog, here’s a little bit of Imageinformation on us:

We were formed in 2007 to provide guidance on Medicare to employers and Medicare-eligible individuals, and we’re now one of the largest advisors in the Midwest specializing in Medicare plan selection. We work extensively with employers, unions, community groups and individuals to help retirees find the right Medicare plan for them. We currently provide guidance and support to over 20,000 individuals! To learn more or if you have questions, feel free to visit us at MBSeniorSolutions.com or call us at 877-222-1942.

We’ll be sharing regular updates, news and tips for Medicare-eligible individuals and for employers who need assistance understanding the system for their employees, so stay tuned! You can also find us on Facebook or LinkedIn

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Changing Medicare Coverage During the Medicare Advantage Annual Disenrollment Period

PRESS RELEASE: Feb. 6, 2012, 9:01 a.m. EST

Article taken from marketwatch.com.  Click here to go to the original article.

PlanPrescriber Offers 5 Recommendations for 2012:

1. Be aware of the gaps in Medicare Parts A and B: Both parts of Original Medicare (Parts A and B) have cost-sharing elements (deductibles and coinsurance) without any caps on how much you can spend out of your own pocket each year. There is a Part A deductible tied to a 90-day benefit period (with some exceptions), instead of to a calendar year. Medicare Part B’s cost-sharing component includes a deductible followed by coinsurance of 20% for most services, whereby you pay 20% of the cost for all Medicare-approved services, and Medicare pays the rest (here is coinsurance for some Part A services as well). And, original Medicare also has no limits on the amount you could pay out of your own pocket for covered medical services each year, nor does it cover the cost of prescription drugs.

2. Be aware of what you’re giving up with Medicare Advantage: Medicare Advantage plans were designed to fill many of the gaps in original Medicare. Most Medicare Advantage plans provide prescription drug coverage and, per the health care reform law passed in 2010, all plans must place a $6,700 limit on what you can be asked to spend out of your own pocket for covered medical services (some have lower caps). If you drop your Medicare Advantage plan you should research other forms of insurance to supplement your Medicare coverage for the 2012 plan year.

3. Check it before you wreck it: Before you drop a Medicare Advantage plan make a checklist of benefits that you want to keep. If you have a doctor, be sure that doctor will still see you if you’re not on Medicare Advantage. If you have prescription drug coverage with a Medicare Advantage plan, be sure there is an affordable Medicare Part D plan you can switch to in order to continue having coverage of the specific drugs you take.

4. Investigate Medicare Supplement Plans: Some people on Medicare augment their basic Medicare (A & B) coverage with a Medicare Supplement plan. In most states there are 10 Medicare Supplement plan types: A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M and N (some plan types are not available in all areas). Each plan type must provide the exact same level of supplemental coverage. For example, an F plan from one insurance company must provide the exact same level of coverage as an F plan from another insurer. You can compare plans side-by-side at PlanPrescriber.com. If you plan to cancel a Medicare Advantage plan, review and compare Medicare Supplement plans in your area. After your first three months on Medicare Part B, Medicare Supplement plans are medically underwritten, so talk to a licensed agent to be sure you qualify.

5. Have a back-up plan for additional insurance benefits: Some Medicare Advantage plans provide routine dental and vision coverage, which original Medicare does not. And, Medicare Supplement plans do not typically provide these services either. If you plan to use the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period to drop your Medicare Advantage coverage, be sure to investigate stand-alone routine vision and dental coverage options at websites like eHealthInsurance.com, so that you do not lose those critical benefits.

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Medicare: What Every Baby Boomer Should Know

Check out this great article on how to avoid making mistakes with your Medicare coverage!

Article taken from fiscaltimes.comClick here to go to the original article.

Written By: Caroline E. Mayer, from Kaiser Health News

To avoid mistakes, here are five tips to help you navigate Medicare.

1. You must sign up for Medicare when you turn 65.

2. Medicare is not free.

3. Medicare does not cover everything, but it may cover a lot more than you think. 

4. If Medicare rejects a claim, appeal.

5. Medicare is not just for seniors.

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Private Medicare Plans Use Stars To Navigate For Profits

Article taken from npr.orgClick here to go to the original article.

Written by: Christopher Weaver

The latest edition of the federal government’s annual reviews of private Medicare health plans came out Wednesday, just in time to help seniors choose plans during this year’s open enrollment period that starts Saturday and runs through Dec. 7.

What’s new this year is that consumers aren’t the only ones paying close attention: Health plans stand to make big bucks by scoring higher in Medicare’s rating system.

The reviews — a 5-star ratings system based on 36 measures, such as rates of breast cancer screening — were created to help seniors become better shoppers. But the 2010 federal health law tied the ratings to cash bonuses, too.

Now, even middling plans — those with three stars — can get in on the money.

The latest ratings show an overall increase of about one-quarter of a star to an average of 3.44 stars in 2012. Medicare officials expect plans to do even better next year.

Even a small increase can be a big deal for insurers’ bottom lines — the bonuses should total billions of dollars next year. “It’s like Christmas in October” for health plans, said John Gorman of Gorman Health Group, a consultant to Medicare Advantage plans, which contract with the federal government to administer Medicare benefits.

Plans largely ignored their scores in the past on the theory that seniors — not the most wired demographic — didn’t actually use the ratings available on Medicare’s Plan Finder website.

Now, the insurers are paying enough attention to foster a crop of consultants who specialize in reaching for the highest star ratings. More than a dozen companies were peddling such wares in the corridors of a Washington hotel during a conference hosted last month by America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry group.

Companies, such as OptumInsight, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, Health Dialog, a Boston-based analytics firm, and MedAssurant, a health plan data company, are angling for star business.

Stars “used to be a cost center,” a salesman for MedAssurant said in an interview at the conference. But, he said, now that the ratings are tied to cash, “the quality people” — health plan officials in charge of measuring things like rates of urinary incontinence and diabetes screening – “are trying to get out of the basement and into the boardroom.”

Is any of that actually good for consumers? Ilene Stein, of the Medicare Rights Center, an advocacy group, said she was hopeful that all the focus on bonuses would ultimately improve the quality of care seniors receive.

And, some health plans — especially those with top scores — are watching more plugged-in baby boomers joining the Medicare rolls. They hope the latest generation of seniors will pay more attention to the stars, said Steve Youso, the chief administrative officer of Security Health Plan, a 5-star Medicare Advantage plan affiliated with the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin.

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