Monday, March 23, 2015

VetsNet Discount Program for Lake County Veterans


One more way we say THANK YOU for serving.

The Lake County Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the Mentor VetsNet program to honor our Lake County residents who have served our country. 

Participating Chamber Members are giving Lake County military veterans a 10% - 20% discount or special offers as their way of saying thank you to vets. Discounts are being offered on a wide variety of products and services including financial and mortgage services, home and auto repairs, entertainment, restaurants and hotel packages. Veterans can take advantage of these discounts by presenting an active duty or reserve duty id card, a membership card to a Veterans organization (VFW, AmVets, and American Legion) or a Mentor VetsNet ID card that can be obtained from the Mentor Chamber of Commerce.

Businesses that are a part of this program can be identified by the decal on their door or
visit mentorchamber.org/vetsnet for a list of participating businesses and the discounts they are offering.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Stuck paying tax fees for not having health coverage?

        Call me NOW to get enrolled before April 30

         While you may have to pay fees for not having health insurance coverage in 2014, you have one last chance to avoid even higher penalties for 2015.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is offering a Special Health Insurance Enrollment Period for Tax Season from March 15  through April 30, 2015.

You are eligible to take advantage of this Special Enrollment Period if:
·        You didn't know until after Open Enrollment ended on February 15, 2015 that the health care law required you and your household to have health coverage, or you didn’t understand how the requirement would impact you and your household
·        You owe or have paid the fee for not having coverage in 2014
·        You aren’t already enrolled in 2015 coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace
            Americans who do not qualify for an exemption and go without health coverage in 2015 will have to pay a fee of $325 per adult, $162.50 per child or 2% of income for a maximum penalty of $975 per family. The fee will be paid with the federal income tax return for 2015 normally filed in early 2016.
Don’t get stuck with further tax penalties. Give me a call at 440-255-5700 before April 30 to see about getting enrolled in a health care plan now.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

I've got Medicare. But what about my spouse?

Are you concerned whether your spouse will be eligible for Medicare, even if he or she does not work or have an employment history? The short answer is yes, your spouse is eligible as long as he or she is a U.S. Citizen or legal resident for at least five years and meets one or more of the following requirements:

    1)  Age 65 or older
    2)  Under age 65 but has a qualifying disability
    3)  Has End-Stage Renal Disease

If you are an employed person, you need to work and pay taxes for at least 10 years to qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A (hospital) coverage when you turn age 65. Your spouse may qualify based on your work record once he or she turns 65. You both would also qualify for Medicare Part B (medical) coverage for which you would pay a monthly premium.

It gets more complicated when we look at what happens when one of you turns 65 before the other.

If you are turning 65 first, your first step should be to enroll in Medicare for yourself. If your spouse is younger than you, he or she will need other health insurance coverage until they turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare. This may be coverage through your employer if you are working, COBRA coverage or your spouse may need to purchase individual coverage.

If your non-working spouse is older than you, he or she may qualify for Medicare at age 65 based on your work record, but only if you are at least 62 years old. (The key is that you qualify for Social Security at age 62. You don’t have to file for Social Security for your spouse to get benefits. You only have to be old enough to do so.)

If you have the option of covering your spouse through your employer’s health insurance, he or she may prefer to enroll only in premium-free Medicare Part A until you retire or your employer coverage ends. As long as the employer provided insurance is creditable, meaning as good as what Medicare provides, there will be no penalties incurred.

If your spouse is more than 3 years older than you when they turn 65, then he or she may purchase Medicare Part A until you turn 62 and the premium-free Medicare Part A becomes available.


While these are the general guidelines, it’s always best to discuss your specific situation with an insurance professional.  At Mutsko Insurance Services, we will review all your options and help you decide what’s best for you and your spouse. Call me at 440-255-5700 or email Lmutsko@mutskoinsurance.com for more information. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Traveling outside the U.S.? Know this about Medicare

You may be surprised to learn that Original Medicare does not pay for health care services or supplies you get outside the U.S. except in very limited situations. Medicare considers the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa to be a part of the U.S. 
On your cruise for example, Original Medicare may cover medically necessary health care services you receive on board the ship within the territorial waters adjoining the land areas of the U.S. However, Medicare will NOT pay for health care services you get when a ship is more than 6 hours away from a U.S. port when you receive the services, regardless of whether it’s an emergency.
Original Medicare will provide coverage for out of country travelers only if their situations meet very specific exceptions as outlined in your Medicare & You Handbook. If your circumstances do not match the allowable exceptions, you will be responsible to pay the full cost to the health care provider. If your situation matches one of the allowable exceptions, you still pay the coinsurance or copayments and deductibles you would normally pay if you received these services or supplies in the U.S.
Medicare drug plans (Part D) cannot cover prescription drugs you buy outside the U.S. so be sure to bring a sufficient supply of your prescription medications with you.
If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Supplement, you may be entitled to additional coverage for health care services you receive outside the U.S. Advantage Plan coverage may vary so it’s best to give your insurance agent a call and ask them about your coverage before you begin your trip.
While I make every effort to provide you with up to date, accurate information, these are general guidelines. Your situation or circumstances may be different. For answers to your life, health or Medicare plan questions please contact me at Mutsko Insurance Services, LLC, 440-255-5700 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Do you want Medicare to share info with your family?

By law, Medicare must have your written permission to use or give out your personal medical information. If you want to allow Medicare to give out your personal health information to someone other than you, (including family members) you need to let Medicare know in writing. 

For a copy of the appropriate form, go to www.Medicare.gov, click on “Forms, Help and Resources” and download the “Medicare Authorization to Disclose Personal Health Information Form.”  Instructions and mailing address are included with the form.

You will find detailed information on Medicare's privacy practices by going to medicare.gov/forms-help-and-resources/privacy-practices/privacy.html

Monday, February 23, 2015

Rumors and Alarming Information

Have you had this happen to you?

You’re reading through your email and one sets your nerves on edge.

The email looks and sounds official, but makes a startling claim. You believe it because it was sent by someone you trust. 

The problem is that the message may be FALSE.

I’ve recently received calls from frightened clients who have heard about dramatic changes in Medicare. One stated that “Obamacare” will not pay for surgery for people over the age of 70. Another claimed that patients age 76 and older must be admitted to the hospital by their primary care physicians in order to be covered by Medicare. Both are completely false.

There are no provisions in the health-care law that authorizes changes in care based on age. In fact, the Independent Payment Advisory Board which was established to help control the growth in Medicare costs is prohibited from rationing care, from making decisions about what benefits will or won’t be covered, and from increasing beneficiaries’ premiums or cost sharing.

If you receive emails with alarming claims about Medicare or “Obamacare,” you can do some detective work to check the validity of a story by looking it up on factcheck.org or snopes.com.

In the meantime, you have my commitment that I will keep you informed of any major changes that will affect Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans and the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare.) Important updates will be reported on my website, in our newsletter and in articles I write for local newspapers and blogs.



Saturday, February 21, 2015

Got your shingles shot? Pneumonia vaccine? Medicare can help.


Vaccines play an important role in maintaining good health. But, not all vaccines are intended for everyone. Your first step should always be to check with your health care provider to find out what vaccines he or she recommends for you. Then, if you’re uncertain, call your insurance provider or Medicare office to see if you are following their rules for covering the cost of these vaccines.
 
Here are some general guidelines:

Flu shot
Medicare Part B pays for one seasonal flu shot with no co-pay. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you will not be charged for a flu shot if you visit an in-network provider.

Shingles shot
Medicare Part B does not pay for the shingles vaccine. However, all Medicare  Part D plans are required to cover the vaccine and its administration.
Part D plans have very specific rules about how to get the shingles vaccine. For example, a plan may only cover the injection if you get it in a health provider’s office and not a pharmacy. Some plans might also ask that you pay your doctor upfront for the vaccine and then seek reimbursement.
Ask your Part D plan about its specific coverage rules for the shingles vaccine.

Pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccine
Medicare Part B pays for one pneumococcal vaccine with no co-pay. Under certain circumstances, Medicare will also pay for a second type of vaccine for certain high-risk individuals. Medicare Advantage members cannot be charged for the shot if they receive it from an in-network provider.

Your doctor or other health care provider may recommend services more often than Medicare covers. Or, they may recommend services that Medicare does not cover. If this happens, you may have to pay some or all of the costs. It’s important to ask questions so you understand the costs of your care.

Have more questions on Medicare? Join me for Getting Started with Medicare. We cover all the basics you should know before you enroll in Medicare. For a  complete list of dates and times, go to  www.mutskoinsurance.com/seminars.The class is for educational purposes only and no plan specific benefits or details will be presented.

If you have questions on insurance, please contact me at 440-255-5700.