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  • Tom Boyd

Medicare Reminder

IRS awards $4.5M to whistleblower (excerpt)

The Associated Press, April 8, 2011

 An accountant who tipped off the IRS that his employer was skimping on taxes has received $4.5 million in the first IRS whistleblower award.  The accountant’s tip netted the IRS $20 million in taxes and interest from the errant financial-services firm. …

 The program, designed to encourage tips in large-scale cases, mandates awards of 15 to 30 percent of the amount recouped.  “It ought to encourage a lot of other people to squeal,” Sen. Charles Grassley told The Associated Press.  The Iowa Republican helped get the IRS Whistleblower Office authorized in 2006. …

 … The accountant’s case is the first in the program to reach fruition. …

 …  The office has about 17 employees, who refer complaints to IRS agents and investigators around the country to pursue. …

Raising Medicare’s eligibility age shifts costs to elderly, employers

Healthcare Finance NewsDay, March 30, 2011

 A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation on the affects of raising Medicare’s eligibility age to 67 in 2014 shows that while the federal government would achieve $7.5 billion in savings, the move would also result in $10.1 billion in extra costs for 65-and 66-year-olds and employer-sponsored retiree healthcare costs.

Supporters Urge Obama To Push For Berwick’s Senate Hearings, Nomination

Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, March 21, 2011

 Modern Healthcare:  Healthcare Heavyweights Urge Obama To Back Berwick

A virtual Who’s Who of the patient-safety and health care quality movements has signed a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to request that Senate hearings be held on his nomination of Dr. Donald Berwick as administrator of the CMS, who currently is serving a temporary recess appointment that expires in December. … But, regardless of how a vote would turn out, Dr. Lucian Leape, adjunct professor of health policy at the Harvard School of Public Health, thinks hearings should be held anyway and is seeking to push Obama and Baucus in that direction (Robeznieks, 3/20).

Study: Next generation of seniors isn’t ready to shoulder healthcare costs

Healthcare Finance NewsDay, April 11, 2011

 Studies have shown that many Baby Boomers don’t have enough in savings to sustain them at the level of living they expect or to withstand long-term illness or health catastrophes.  The picture hasn’t changed much for the next generation – those who are 45 now – according to a study by the Urban Institute and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Medicare Reminder

Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs), also known as Medicare Buy-In programs or Medicare Premium Payment Programs, help pay your Medicare costs if you have limited finances.  There are three main programs, and each has different income eligibility limits.

  1. Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB):  Pays for Medicare Part A and B premiums, deductibles and coinsurance or co-pays.  If you have QMB, you should have no Medicare coinsurance or co-payment for Medicare-covered services you get from doctors who participate in Medicare, or who are in your Medicare private health plan’s network.

  2. Specified Low-income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB):  Pays for Medicare Part B premium.

  3. Qualifying Individual (QI) Program:  Pays for the Medicare Part B premium.

To qualify for an MSP, you must have Medicare Part A and meet income and assets guidelines.  If you do not have Part A but meet QMB eligibility guidelines, your state will have a process to allow you to enroll in Part A and QMB.  Many states allow this throughout the year, but others limit when you can enroll in Part A.

 States use different rules to count your income (money you take in, such as wages or Social Security payments) and assets (resources such as checking accounts, stocks and some property) to determine if you are eligible for an MSP.  Certain income or assets may not count.  Some states do not have an asset limit.

 Learn more about MSPs at

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