Okay, I admit…my life is pretty dull…. this weekend I was reading the 2011 Medicare & You Handbook which is provided by Medicare. I thought I would pass on a few of the tidbits that caught my attention.
If you are on Original Medicare (and not Medicare Advantage)…
*If you have a procedure as an outpatient, you will pay 20% of the doctor’s fee and 20% of the facility fee.
*Medicare pays for blood tests to detect conditions that might lead to a heart attack or stroke – but they only pay for them every five years! These are tests for cholesterol levels, lipids, and triglycerides.
*In order for Medicare to pay for a stay in a skilled nursing facility you must spend at least three days in the hospital for a related illness or injury. The three days do not include the day you are discharged, so you need to spend three nights in the hospital.
*Starting this year, you pay nothing for most preventive services BUT you probably have to pay co-insurance for the office visit.
*Smoking cessation counseling is now considered a preventive service that is covered by Medicare even if you haven’t been diagnosed with an illness caused or complicated by tobacco use. Starting this year, you pay nothing for the counseling sessions.
A note about Medicare Advantage: All of the services mentioned above are treated differently if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. Preventive services and getting an annual checkup have always been a major selling point for Medicare Advantage plans. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan there is no minimum hospital stay if you need to spend time in a skilled nursing facility.