Medicare

A Maine home health care worker told members of a U.S. Senate committee Wednesday that recent Medicare reimbursement reductions have limited providers' ability to care for patients in rural communities.

Shalom House

A program in Portland that helped 170 people with serious mental illness live in the community has been shut down.

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A new study on hospital prices from the RAND corporation finds that patients with private insurance in Maine pay nearly three times what Medicare would pay for the same service.

A Falmouth woman appeared before a senate committee Wednesday to talk about the high cost of treating rheumatoid arthritis.

80-year-old Patty Bernard told Maine Senator Susan Collins and other members of The Senate Aging Committee that she has lived with rheumatoid arthritis since she was 55. She says that when she had insurance through her employer, the copays for treatment were between $10 to $30. Then when she retired, Medicare told her the drug would cost her $3800 per month.

Four Maine hospitals are being penalized by Medicare for their rates of infection and patient injury. Central Maine Medical Center, Southern Maine Health Care, York Hospital and Cary Medical Center all face a reduction in Medicare reimbursements for one year. It’s the third year in a row that Central Maine Medical Center is being docked.

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Medicare enrollment is currently underway and ends on December 7th. This is the only time of year when more than 290,000 Medicare recipients in Maine can review and make changes to their Medicare coverage. Two experts join us to offer answers to your Medicare Open Enrollment questions--and information on where to get free help.

Guests:  Jim Baker, volunteer with Southern Maine Area Agency on Aging and a Medicare Open Enrollment expert.Jane Sung from AARP Public Policy Institute

Medicare

Dec 5, 2016
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More than 300,000 Maine people depend on Medicare insurance for health care.  But it can be confusing to choose your primary and supplemental coverage.  The deadline for enrolling or changing your plan is Wednesday.  We’ll have answers to your Medicare enrollment questions.

Guests:  Marcia Griffin, Director of Medicare Operations for Martin’s Point Healthcare.

Anne Smith, Medicare Rights Advocate with Legal Services for the Elderly.

Todd Reagin, Independent Insurance Agent and owner of Maine Medicare Options.

 

Mal Leary / MPBN

The office of Gov. Paul LePage has issued what it calls some “clarifications” of statements LePage made about the state’s Medicaid program while taking part as a guest on Monday’s radio call-in program Maine Calling.

AUGUSTA, Maine_ Legislative leaders have allowed a bill into next month's session that would re-establish the Medicaid managed care ombudsman that had been operating until the state Department of Health and Human Services failed to renew the contract to provide the service.

Eleven Maine hospitals will be penalized by the federal government this year for having too many Medicare patients readmitted within a month.

BANGOR, Maine — This week Medicare reaches a milestone. The program will officially turn 50 on Thursday, and proponents are celebrating at events across the state and the country.

Amidst the fanfare, some are calling for improvements to Medicare, and even an expansion of the government program to cover all U.S. citizens.

Democratic congressional hopeful Emily Cain sponsored a Medicare birthday party at the Sylvia Ross Home in Bangor on Wednesday. Before indulging in some birthday cake, 72-year-old Diane Grandmaison addressed the party-goers.

Patty Wight

No one likes paying medical bills, much less being over-billed.  About five years ago, the federal government created a program to guard against overpayments in Medicare.  It's called the Recovery Audit Contractor - or RAC - program. So far, it's identified about $5 billion in overpayments.  But many hospitals say that's little return for the enormous administrative cost that's required to comply, and that the program does nothing to improve patient care.  Patty Wight reports on what the RAC program means for Maine hospitals.

According to newly released federal data, Maine ranks 17 percent below the national average in Medicare expenditures. While some hold up the report by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as evidence of low hospital costs in Maine, health policy advocates say the numbers may not be as promising as they seem.

Medicare Update

Sep 24, 2013

  A panel of experts were on hand to discuss all things Medicare, including it's future and what the ACA may mean for Medicare enrollees.

Host Jennifer Rooks was joined by 

Gordon Smith, Maine Medical Association 

A. Jan Berlin, MD, Physician Leader - Special Projects, MMC Physician-Hospital Organization and Medical Director for the Low Vision Clinic at The Iris Network

Lori Parham, AARP Maine State Director