Monday, July 28, 2014

Who will shoulder your retirement health care costs?

If you’re planning on your employer picking up the cost of your healthcare once you retire, you may want to rethink your plans. The number of employers who provide health benefits has declined from 40% to 28% between 1988 and 2013. Today, less than one in five people work for a company that offers health benefits for their retirees.

The problem boils down to cost. Healthcare costs continue to grow and retirees are living longer. We are seeing more and more companies taking steps to contain costs by capping their contributions, tightening eligibility standards and eliminating new employees from this benefit.
The picture has improved for early retirees. They are enjoying the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and the availability of insurance on the healthcare marketplace. In the past, retirees who were too young to qualify for Medicare struggled to fill the gap in coverage until they turned 65. They were often denied coverage for pre-existing conditions or had to bear the burden of expensive premiums.

For retirees over age 65, the gap in covered medical costs is widening. Medicare alone does not cover 100% of medical costs and excludes long-term healthcare and dental care. In place of employee provided retiree health benefits, Medicare beneficiaries are increasingly relying on supplemental Medicare coverage such Medigap or Medicare Advantage Plans.

As employers move away from retiree health coverage, it's important for workers today to prepare themselves for future healthcare expenses and consider supplemental insurance plans. It is estimated that a 65-year-old couple who retired in 2013 will spend $220,000 on healthcare over the course of retirement.

And more than 70% of seniors will eventually need some sort of long-term healthcare, which is not covered by Medicare. Pre-retirees might want to consider long-term care insurance before they leave the workforce. The average policy costs about $3,000 a year — not cheap but certainly less expensive than the average of more than $83,000 a year that you’d shell out for a private nursing home stay without insurance.

If you are concerned about who will shoulder your health care costs, call me and we'll work together to put together a plan for you.



Friday, July 25, 2014

Fun Facts to brighten your day

Did you know . . .

On average, women say 7,000 words per day. Men speak just over 2,000

Americans eat 18% more vegetables today than they did in 1970.

The width of your arm span stretched out is equal to the length of your whole body.

Research shows that people will walk 30% longer if they listen to music when they walk.

Laughing lowers levels of stress hormones and strengthens the immune system.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Do Marketplace Insurance Plans cover mental health and substance abuse services?

Yes.

All Marketplace insurance plans cover mental health and substance abuse services as an essential health benefit.

Health insurance plans available in the Marketplace must cover ten categories of essential health benefits. One of these categories is mental health and substance abuse services, also known as substance use disorder.

These services include behavioral health treatment, such as psychotherapy and counseling. They also include mental and behavioral health inpatient services and substance use disorder treatment.

Mental and behavioral health and pre-existing conditions

Marketplace plans can’t deny you coverage or charge you more just because you have a pre-existing condition. This includes mental health and substance use disorder conditions.
Coverage for treatment of pre-existing conditions begins as soon as your Marketplace coverage is in effect. There’s no waiting period for coverage of these services.

There are also no lifetime or yearly dollar limits for mental health services. Marketplace plans can’t apply yearly or lifetime dollar limits on coverage of essential health benefits which includes benefits for mental health and substance use disorder services.

Parity protections for mental health services

Marketplace plans must provide certain “parity” protections between mental health and substance abuse benefits on the one hand, and medical and surgical benefits on the other.This means that in general, limits applied to mental health and substance abuse services can’t be more restrictive than limits applied to medical and surgical services. The kinds of limits covered by the parity protections include:
· Financial, like deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket limits
· Treatment, like limits to the number of days or visits covered
· Care management, like being required to get authorization of treatment before getting it

(taken from HealthCare.gov)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ohio Celtic Fest is this weekend

If you're looking for something fun to do this weekend, visit 
The Ohio Celtic Fest at the Lake County Fairgrounds, on Mentor Avenue in Painesville Township.  There'll be six stages of non-stop musical entertainment - from Celtic rock to ballads and everything in between. Bagpipe band. Irish dancers from four local schools of dance. Lots of food. Shopping. And a kid's area with magicians, storytellers, petting zoo and bouncy things.

Stop by the Coffee House, sponsored by Mutsko Insurance Services, if you get a chance.

For more information, go to ohiocelticfest.com

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Four ways to save big on prescription costs

1. Shop Around.
Prices at different pharmacies can vary dramatically, as much as from $4 to $250 or more within your neighborhood for the same prescription. Visit www.goodrx.com to compare prices and find coupons.  It pays to check.

Be sure to ask for the pharmacy’s lowest price because additional discounts may be available when you’re a member of a store’s loyalty plan. And don’t overlook your insurer’s “preferred” retail or mail order pharmacy when comparing costs. Some insurers and Medicare Part D Plans have negotiated deep-discounts to help you save.

2. Be wary of coupons.
Makers of brand-name drugs often flood the market with discount coupons in order to keep you as a customer. Even if a coupon cuts the cost you pay at the counter, your employer and insurance company are often paying the full price which will cost you in higher premiums down the road.

3. Cut the quantity 
Ask for a 14-day supply to get you started and see whether it help you without side effects. Once you're sure it works for you, you can refill a larger quantity.

4. Ask about OTC drugs, samples or a two week supply
Your physician may write prescriptions for drugs even after they are available over-the-counter. But, over the counter drugs are often cheaper so be sure to ask your doctor if your drug is available over the counter. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

What your doctor calls your visit can cost you.

Annual Wellness or Preventive Care Visit?

How your visit is coded by your physician’s office may mean the difference between your claim being covered or denied.
 
If you have Medicare Part B for longer than 12 months, you can get an annual wellness visit or update a personalized prevention plan on your current health and risk factors. 

This visit is covered once every 12 months.
 
Be sure your doctor codes it as an Annual Wellness Visit not a preventive visit to avoid any mix-ups or your claim being denied.
 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Getting Started with Medicare


Get the facts on Medicare. Attend one of our upcoming Getting Started with Medicare seminars. 

This class covers all the basics and is especially helpful for people turning 65, those going on Medicare for the first time or anyone who want to brush up on the most current Medicare information.

Preregistration is required. Please register by calling the phone number listed for the class you wish to attend. These events are only for educational purposes and no plan specific benefits or details will be shared. Some venues charge a nominal fee.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Lakeland Community College
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
7700 Clock Tower Drive, Kirtland, OH 44094
440-525-7116

Thursday, August 7, 2014
Mentor Library
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
8215 Mentor Ave., Mentor, OH 44060
440-255-8811

Monday, August 18, 2014
Morley Library
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
184 Phelps St., Painesville, OH 44077,  Meeting Room B
440-255-5700