Q. I heard that the Medicare Part B premium was going to go up to $120 in 2013 and $247 in 2014 as part of Obamacare, and that this was kept under wraps so as not to influence the outcome of the 2012 election. True or false?
Q. I am 68 and have only Medicare Part A. My sole source of income is $1,062 a month from Social Security. I'm in good health but concerned about future medical needs. Are there any plans for lower-income people?
Medicare beneficiaries whose lives have been upended by Hurricane Sandy will be allowed to sign up for Medicare health and drug plans after the open enrollment deadline of Dec. 7, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced.
Q. I retired from a federal government agency and did not enroll in Medicare Part B when I became eligible. Instead I continued my coverage through the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program. I understand that if I ever want to enroll in Part B in the future there will be a 10 percent penalty for every year that I delayed. Did I make a mistake?
Q. I am 82, retired, and on Social Security with a private Medicare Advantage plan. My wife is 52, unemployed, and uninsured, and we have a 20-year-old son in college. Is our son eligible for coverage under my Medicare Advantage Plan as per the Affordable Care Act?
Q. I keep hearing rumors that the federal government will stop reimbursing Medicare Advantage plans in a year or two and people insured under these plans will have to look for new insurance. What do you know about this matter?
I recently got a question from a woman who wondered why she should sign up for Medicare Part B, which covers doctor bills and other kinds of outpatient treatments, since she is in great shape and gets most of her care from a doctor who practices natural medicine. And I got another question from a man who said he didn't want to sign up for Medicare Part D, which covers drugs, because he doesn't spend much on medication. My opinion: Both people are courting disaster. Here's why.
Q. No matter where I look, I find an overwhelming amount of data about Medicare Advantage but very little about Medigap. Where can I find ratings on Medigap policies?
Medicare open enrollment for 2013 begins today, October 15, and runs through December 7. Pay attention to it, Medicare people. Your pocketbook could depend on it. Daily for the next week, and at regular intervals through the end of open enrollment season, I'll be answering some of your most frequently asked questions about Medicare, starting with this one:
Did you or someone you care for get a little extra attention when you checked out of the hospital recently? If so, it's likely because starting today hospitals will be fined if they have too many Medicare patients readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged.
Q. I'm thinking about retiring in 2014 but I won't be old enough for Medicare yet. Will I be able to buy health insurance through an exchange here in Louisiana? Our governor has done nothing to get our state ready. Also, will I have to buy COBRA for 18 months before enrolling through the exchange?
Q. Who gets a rebate from insurance companies and what companies give it? I haven't been able to find out.
Q. My wife and I are both 60 and looking to retire. We will be giving up our employee group plans and will need to buy insurance on our own. One of us has high blood pressure and the other had a stent put in three years ago. Which companies should we look at?
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