I hope you are having a nice summer and had a fun Independence Day. There several things I want to cover so this is a long one but I think it will be worth your time.
Other Medicare news is that Medicare will begin changing everyone’s Medicare number in April 2018 and will finish by December of 2019. Your new number will be, subject to change, an 11-digit alpha numeric number called a national patient identification number or NPI. The reason is that it will keep your social security number more secure and private. If the change goes anything like Obamacare – Lord help us all. I don’t anticipate it being bad but I do expect problems. The insurance companies, hospitals, all doctors’ offices and medical facilities will have to update their software for patients and for billing. Some doctors near retirement may decide to do just that, retire. I am sure there will be some billing problems. My advice is to keep really good records of all your medical services you receive next year until all the bills are paid. I will stay on top of this and let you know of any other changes that may affect you.
For those of you who are hard of hearing, there is a phone that has a large screen you can read in near real time while you are talking and it also has a speaker option that goes up to 50 decibels. The phone has many other features and most importantly you can get it for free if you have almost any degree of hearing loss. The only other two things you need are internet and a home phone land line. Call Pamela Pearson at 216-645-5738 for more information and tell her I sent you.
If you are like many grandparents, you are tired of trying to find a present for your grandkids that they will actually use for more than a month before it ends up lost, broken or outdated. Get them something they will appreciate in the future and give them the opportunity to receive thousands of dollars in college scholarships. To qualify to apply for the scholarships, the kids must have a life insurance policy with the company. Life insurance can be purchased in a one-time lump sum, 20 pay life, or normal whole life. Rates for just a $5,000 policy are pretty cheap. I have four different companies that offer scholarships to policyholders and the scholarships range from $500 to $20,000. My son, Andrew, received scholarships last year from two of the companies for a total of $5,500. Call me for more details and quotes.
More Prescription help – I hope. For those of you in the donut hole or close to it or those that have just one very expensive drug, this is an option some of my clients are using, Canada Rx. I don’t have a lot of details but I have been told some people are saving substantially. The phone number is 888-308-5255 and the fax is 877-334-6737 and the website is http://rxcard.canadahealthlink.com. If you try it, please let me know how it works or if you have any trouble let me know too as I may be able to help. Good Luck.
Also, some good news, the new FDA commissioner is launching a plan to cut back much of the regulations for generic drugs coming to market. He is cutting the backlog of applications, streamlining the process to get complex drugs into generic form faster, and keeping brand name drug makers from denying their drugs to manufactures of generic brands so they can develop generics faster. Hopefully we see the fruits of this in the near future.
Info you should know about Hospice. You have a choice when it comes to who performs the hospice service. Actually, you have many choices. You do not have to use the hospital’s hospice service. Not all hospice services are the same. They all have to meet a basic level for Medicare but the services can and do vary. Hospice can be performed anywhere the patient lives and is paid for 100% by your insurance. I have not compared the different hospice providers but I did receive a lot of helpful information from Grace Hospice. I will be including a list of questions to ask hospice providers on my website, boringinsurance.com, so you have a starting place if you ever need it or know of someone who does.
I am currently setting up educational talks with a few different groups and churches for the fall, so if you know of a group looking for a speaker for 15 – 45 minutes I would be happy to cover Medicare and prescription coverage changes, scholarships, or anything else I have discussed in this letter or previous letters.
Veterans who are getting V.A. benefits. A few companies are now offering a Medicare plan specifically for veterans on Medicare. Those of you I have on a zero-premium plan now should stay where you are because your plan is better but in certain unique situations these other plans can help people. If you know of a veteran who is on only Medicare and goes to the VA, encourage them to call me. Many vets have been misinformed about the need for Medicare. Some have been told they don’t need Medicare and others decline it to just save the $134 Medicare Part B premium. Right on the V.A.’s website they state that they DO NOT recommend that vets decline Medicare. The main reason is that while most vets get decent care at the V.A., sometimes (and I have heard this first hand numerous times) they do not get good care or the care needed is put off until it’s too late. If the vet has a Medicare plan and wants a second opinion or wants care somewhere that specializes in the care they need, they can have that done and its paid for. If all they have is the V.A. then they cannot go anywhere else, not even an ER, and they are at the mercy of the system. V.A. benefits change on occasion so if you are a veteran and do not get benefits you can call 877-222-8387 to enroll and see if and what you qualify for. It usually takes about 35 minutes.
My family and I are doing well. We just got back from vacation in Northern Kentucky where we went to the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter. The Ark is a full size wooden replica of Noah’s Ark. It was impressive and educational. My oldest son, Nathan, got married last month to his high school sweetheart. It was a beautiful ceremony and they seem to be doing well living in the Cuyahoga Falls area. Our other son, Andrew, got back from camp as program director in time to go on vacation with us. He goes back to college in Chicago on August 9th. Then it will just be me and Cathy in a clean but very quiet house.
I hope this was helpful. Take care and have a nice summer.
Chris Boring 330-654-5894