Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Laura Mutsko Achieves PPACA Certification on Health Care

I've recently achieved PPACA certification by NAHU. It probably sounds like one more insurance alphabet soup certification to you, but it's much more.

Here's what it means . . .  I'm taking critical steps now to prepare for the introduction of Health Care Reform later this year. I'm learning the the most up-to-date information on the key technical components of PPACA and am well prepared to counsel individuals and businesses on upcoming required healthcare changes and new options for health plans.

 Topics of study include:

  • Implementing healthcare reform—overview and politics
  • Grandfathered plans and the small-business tax credit
  • Medicare Part D and non-discrimination rules
  • Patient protection and changes to consumer-directed health plans
  • Medical loss ratio requirements and tax implications
  • W-2 reporting, summary of benefits, waiting periods, essential benefits and community rating
  • Individual mandate, pre-existing conditions and rating reform
  • Health insurance exchanges for individuals and small employers
  • Employer pay or play
  • Self-insured plans
It means that I'll be ready for your questions when Health Care Reform is introduced this fall.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

New Locations for Getting Started with Medicare in May! Mentor Sr. Center & Morley Library

Are you ready to get started with Medicare?  We've added two new class locations to our May schedule in Mentor and Painesville:

Tuesday, May 21
Morley Library 
6:30 pm- 8:00 pm 
Thursday, May 23
Mentor Senior Center
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Getting Started with Medicare will help prepare you for your transition to Medicare. Please share this information with friends who may be interested, too.
Pre-registration is required for all classes. Please call the specific location to register and for any additional details.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Andover Library
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
142 W. Main St.
Andover, OH 44003
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Concord Community Education
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
7671 Auburn Road
Concord, OH 44077
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Chagrin Falls Community Education
Class Location: Chagrin Falls Middle School Library
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
342 E. Washington
Chagrin Falls, OH 44022
Monday, May 20, 2013
Willoughby Hills Library
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
3540 Chardon Rd.
Willoughby Hills, OH 44094
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Morley Library
6:30 pm- 8:00 pm
184 Phelps St.
Painesville, OH 44077
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Kenston Middle School
6:30 pm- 8:30 pm
17425 Snyder Rd.
Betty Patton Room 229
Chagrin Falls, OH 44023
440-543-2552 – Call to register and for fee information
Thursday, May 23 2013
Mentor Senior Center
6:30 pm- 8:00 pm
8484 Munson Road
Mentor, OH 44060
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Lakeland Community College
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
7700 Clock Tower Drive
Kirtland, OH 44094

For the dates and times of additional classes, please visit my website at http://www.mutskoinsurance.com/seminars

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Join the fight against Medicare fraud

Medicare.gov shares these tips on how to spot, report and stop fraud. Their Senior Medicare Patrol volunteers are teaching people like you how to prevent fraud and protect themselves from identity fraud.

You can team up with Medicare to help. Click here for more information:


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Facilities Fees: A Surprising New Charge

Patients visiting some doctors' offices and urgent-care clinics are running into some unexpected charges. Added to their bills is a new item called a facility fee.

Facility fees are sometimes generated when a patient visits a hospital or a hospital owned building for medical services. The fees, which can amount to hundreds of dollars, are add-ons by hospitals to the fees charged by the physician, urgent-care center and other health care provider.

If a facility fee were charged in a non-medical setting it would go something like this. You have an appointment with your accountant at his downtown office. A week later you get a bill for his fees. Two weeks later you get a bill from XYZ Office Tower for $50 because you met with your accountant in XYZ Office Tower.
The good news for Anthem Advantage Plans is that they do not have to pay facility fees. Those insured by an Anthem Advantage Plan can ignore any facility fees and these charges should be removed. If the fees appear on a second bill, they should contact Anthem and Anthem will contact the provider to have this taken care of. 

Anytime you get hit by an unexpected fee, you should call your insurance agent first.
You can also check with your healthcare provider to make sure you understand the charge and confirm that it is allowed by your health plan. If you feel the out-of-pocket amount you're being billed is unfair, you can appeal the provider's bill or your insurer's decision. But if the health plan's contract with the provider allows for facility charges, you will likely run into stiff resistance.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Exclusive hospital discount for Lake County Veterans

U.S. Military Veterans from Lake County Ohio are entitled to an exclusive money-saving discount of up to 25% on hospital bills that are not covered by insurance. Here's what the policy states:
"In accordance with a motion passed by the Lake County Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees, October 10, 1949, all veterans will be granted discounts for any hospital services as follows:

I.        The veteran must be a resident of Lake County at the time of hospitalization: any doubtful cases of residence of a veteran shall be referred to the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Relief Commission for verification.

II.      Twenty-five per cent (25%) deduction on the veterans’ payments of his hospital account will be allowed in cases amounts not covered by hospital insurance.
III.    To be entitled to the discount, the veteran must have been separated from the service under conditions other than dishonorable, and proof of such service must be presented at or before the time of payment. The veteran shall be given the same consideration in settlement of bills as other patients.

IV.    The discount is to apply to the veterans’ account only: not to his or her dependents
V.      No adjustment is to be made on past due accounts or accounts of five ($5.00) dollars or less.

VI.    Female veterans are to have the same discount as male veterans except in maternity cases: then the discount is to apply to the mother’s day charges only.
VII.  If at any future time, the Board of Trustees contemplates changing with within (sic) regulations, the Board shall give reasonable advance notice to the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Relief Commission of Lake County of such contemplated change or changes in said regulations."
For more information on this benefit, please contact:  105 Main Street, Painesville, OH 44077
Painesville (440) 350-2567/2904 or email

Please share this information with any veterans you know who may be able to benefit from this discount. If you know of other little-known benefits for older adults or veterans,  please let me know and I will be glad to verify the information and pass it on though my website, social media and newsletters.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Dementia price tag can exceed $50,000 a year

Dementia is one of the country's most expensive medical conditions, costing the U.S. between $157 billion and $215 billion a year in medical care and other costs, such as lost wages for caregivers, according to a new study (Wang, 4/3).

The average cost of care for a patient with dementia can exceed $50,000 a year, according to new research. A study published April 3 in the New England Journal of Medicine that tracked elderly adults found dementia can represent a significant financial burden not only on individual families but society at large. Researchers determined the annual costs associated with a patient with dementia were between $41,689 and $56,290. That added up to between $159 billion and $215 billion in American health care dollars, $11 billion of which is paid for by Medicare, the study found (Jaslow, 4/3).
This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations.
The study, published in the April 3 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, found this medical condition costs the nation as much as $215 billion a year.

The Wall Street Journal: Dementia's Cost To Nation Piles Up

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Who needs long-term care insurance?

If you're under the impression that you'll be covered for long-term care when you need it, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. Neither Medicare nor most health insurance plans are likely  to cover long-term care. 

Medicaid will typically pay for long-term care only for those with no resources of their own. In fact, if you have more than $1500 in assets, you may be forced to sell them before Medicaid steps in.

The rules for Medicaid eligibility and how your assets are regarded can be complex. However, long term care insurance is purchased in part to reduce your reliance on Medicaid and protect the assets you've worked so hard for. 

If the support from your family and friends is strong, you may not need long-term care insurance. And if you have sufficient financial assets or income, you may be able to cover any these costs associated with long-term care. But, before you decide, give me a call to discuss your options and help you plan for the future.

The information here is not meant to advise you. It is to provide you with some things to consider.