Medicare & Medicaid

Forced to Choose: Exploring Other Options

Ruby Washington/The New York Times I wrote last week about the poor choices facing patients, most very old and within six months of death, who need nursing home care after a hospitalization. Medicare will pay for hospice, the acknowledged gold standard for those at the end of life and their families, and it will also(…)

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Forced to Choose: Nursing Home vs. Hospice

An older person, someone who will die within six months, leaves a hospital. Where does she go? Almost a third of the time, according to a recent study from the University of California, San Francisco, records show she takes advantage of Medicare’s skilled-nursing facility benefit and enters a nursing home. But is that the best(…)

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Doctor’s Orders? Another Test

Universal Images Group, via Getty Images Diagnostic tests, like cardiac stress tests, are being ordered too frequently, a new study has found. It is no longer news that Americans, and older Americans in particular, get more routine screening tests than they need, more than are useful. Prostate tests for men over 75, annual Pap smears(…)

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New Efforts to Close Hospitals’ Revolving Doors

Joshua Lott for The New York Times Sue Koner, a transition care manager for Sun Health, checks Ted Cohn’s blood pressure to try to prevent his readmission to a hospital for a heart condition. In the past, the only thing a patient was sure to get after a hospital stay was a bill. But as(…)

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More Time to Enroll in Medicare If You Live in Storm Areas

Medicare beneficiaries battered by Hurricane Sandy have one fewer problem to worry about: Federal officials have extended the Dec. 7 deadline to enroll in a private medical or drug plan for next year for those still coping with storm damage. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services “understands that many Medicare beneficiaries have been affected(…)

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Part D, Part 2

If time is money, then Medicare Part D, which I have yet to use even once, has already cost me more than I will ever cost the government. First, you may recall, was my quest of many days for the perfect drug plan. In retrospect, it does not seem coincidental that I chose to do(…)

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‘Old’ Myself, and None Too Pleased

The first thing I learned about my new Medicare card is that it’s hard to fit in my wallet. Made of paper, not laminated, it’s a tad bigger than the slots perfectly sized for a credit card, a drivers license or my Blue Cross-Blue Shield card, which until Sept. 1, the start of the month(…)

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The High Cost of Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Joyce Dopkeen/The New York Times The elderly and their families are often shocked by what Medicare does not cover. It comes as a shock to many people, how much they have to spend on medical care for a frail older relative in the last several years of life. A common assumption is that Medicare will(…)

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A Little-Known Benefit for Aging Veterans

Ricardo Arduengo/Associated Press As veterans age, many are unfamiliar with a benefit that can help pay for care at home or in assisted living or a nursing home. Here’s a riddle: When is a government benefit that pays for caregivers, assisted living and a nursing home not a benefit? When hardly any people know they’re(…)

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A Choice of Community Care, in Your Own Home

For 51 years, Catherine Mack has lived in a four-bedroom house in Haddon Township, N.J. Even at age 96, she has no intention of leaving. Joining other older adults at a nearby retirement community doesn’t appeal to her, although the facility is attractive and has a great reputation. “I think in a place like that,(…)

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