Hawai‘i’s Sage PLUS (SHIP) counselors are often asked, “What is Medicare, and how does it affect me?” Medicare is the United State’s federal health insurance that is available to those 65 years and older, and to people at any age with certain disabilities. You can choose to use the government’s Original/Traditional Medicare, or a commercial Medicare Health Plan or a Medicare Supplement (also known as “Medigap” insurance).
This February share your heart with those special people by using your Medicare Preventive Benefits. As of January 1, 2011, under Original/ Traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans there are no co-pays for preventive benefits. That means if your doctor feels that you could benefit from a cardiovascular screening you will pay nothing out of pocket for the screen.
On May 29, 2010 my husband and I were enjoying a vacation in the Pacific Northwest when we received a “frantic” call from my sister-in-law who was staying with my 92-year-old mother-in-law. We had ordered a refill of Mom’s medication through her Medicare Part D plan. The plan called to see if it was okay to put a $1,200 charge on my credit card. “But I thought Mom has Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage” my sister-in-law exclaimed. Mom does have a Part D plan but she had reached the “donut hole” or coverage gap in the plan. How did this happen?