Informed on 
Senior Health Insurance

Paul Cholak - Principal
Licensed Insurance Agent
February 2018 - In This Issue:
We Offer:
  • Medicare Supplement Plans
  • Medicare Advantage (Part C) Plans
  • Part D Prescription Drug Plans
  • Supplemental Health Insurance
  • Health Insurance for Individuals and Families (Affordable Care Act)
  • Dental and Vision Plans
  • International Travel Medical Plans
  • Life Insurance
  • Pre-planned Funeral Arrangements
  • Final Expense Insurance
  • Life Insurance for Diabetics and Other Hard-to-Insure Individuals
  • Annuities
  • Prepaid Legal & Identity Theft Plans
About Our Principal,  
Paul Cholak

Paul holds resident (Florida) and non-resident life, health and annuity licenses in 31 other states.  He also has a Florida Pre-need sales agent license.

He's certified to sell Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug plans and offers Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans, as well. 
He also offers Prepaid Legal Expense and Identity Theft Plans.
He has many years of benefits experience and has been Director of Employee Benefits for large companies, as well as a benefits consultant with major consulting firms. He negotiated the first "reasonable and customary" health plan reimbursement programs in labor contracts and also implemented the first group dental insurance plan.  

He knows all aspects of individual and family health insurance and has extensive experience with group plans, as well.
He's available 24/7 and continues to stay in touch with his customers after they've made their insurance purchase.  He's always available to help customers who have claims or other problems with their coverage or have any questions about their policies.

He's a recipient of the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and been listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who Registry of Business Leaders and Who's Who in Finance and Industry. 
He's a member of Phi Beta Kappa and other national honorary societies and organizations such as Omicron Delta Kappa. He's a graduate of certificate programs from a number of prestigious institutions, been invited to speak at corporate  and university training programs, been featured in articles in national books and magazines, and is also a published author.   

Limits On Outpatient Speech, Language, and Occupational Therapy At Least Temporarily Re-imposed
This article by Dena Burns that appeared in the January 26 AARP webletter has been slightly updated to make it current as of the date this newsletter is being published.
Millions of Medicare beneficiaries who need physical, speech or occupational therapy to help them recover from strokes or deal with chronic illnesses will have to pay thousands of dollars more for that care unless Congress acts soon.
For two decades, Medicare has capped how much it will pay for physical, speech and occupational therapy. But ever since the limits were imposed, Congress has passed an automatic exception that allows Medicare to pay for care beyond the caps when the treatments are deemed medically necessary.
The latest exception expired December 31, which means the caps of $2,010 for physical and speech language therapy and $2,010 for occupational therapy are now being enforced. These services fall under  Medicare Part B , which covers doctor visits and other outpatient services. When the exceptions were in place, Medicare beneficiaries paid only the 20 percent coinsurance that Part B requires.
Without the exceptions, Medicare beneficiaries must pay the entire therapy bill once they exceed the threshold. According to AARP, some beneficiaries with high-cost conditions could reach the annual caps in the coming weeks.
The caps apply to the therapy that Medicare covers whether delivered in a provider's office, a patient's home or an  outpatient therapy  center. It's very common for someone who has had a stroke or a hip or other fracture to need intensive therapy to learn how to speak and walk again or feed themselves. Patients who suffer from conditions such as arthritis, Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis also often need therapy to manage the tasks of everyday living.
According to a recent analysis commissioned by the American Occupational Therapy Association, nearly 6 million Medicare beneficiaries accessed outpatient therapy services in 2015. Of those, nearly 1 million required care that exceeded the combined cap on physical and speech therapy, while nearly 250,000 surpassed the occupational therapy threshold.  
Without rehabilitation care, more older Americans won't be able to maintain their independence, making them more likely to move into a nursing home or face frequent and costly hospitalizations.
"The level of anxiety among patients, their families, caregivers and providers is definitely rising," says Justin Elliott, vice president of government affairs for the American Physical Therapy Association. "Every day the caps are in place they're going to potentially reach it and not get the care they need."  
AARP is part of a coalition of provider, consumer and advocacy organizations urging Congress to repeal the therapy caps. These caps have not yet been removed as of the date this newsletter is being published. "The caps prevent beneficiaries from receiving the rehabilitation care they need from therapists in a timely fashion," Joyce Rogers, AARP senior vice president for government affairs, wrote in a December letter to Senate Finance Committee leaders. "Delaying or reducing care can diminish an individual's independence in his or her home and community."
Medicare Spared From Budget Cuts In 2018
This is an edited and updated version of an article by Gary Straus that also appeared in the January 26 AARP newsletter.
Congress has acted to prevent mandatory funding cuts to Medicare and other programs vital to millions of older Americans that were set to occur as a result of the new tax overhaul legislation.
The  Tax Cut and Jobs Act , which the president signed December 22 is projected to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next decade. Under the 2010 "pay-as-you-go" law known as PAYGO, that increase to the deficit would have triggered automatic spending cuts to programs, including a $25 billion cut to Medicare in 2018 alone. But the House and Senate agreed to waive the cuts in a temporary spending bill passed on December 18 as signed into law by the President, Thousands of seniors contacted their legislators, urging them to act before the end of the year and prevent the  Medicare cuts .
Preventing the cuts will help preserve seniors' access to their doctors and hospital services. Medicare covered 56.8 million people in 2016, including  47.8 million age 65 and older .
Still, even with Congress' action, Medicare and other programs will continue to face budgetary pressure.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in late December that the Senate is unlikely to tackle Medicare and Social Security in 2018. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has also ruled out 2018 Medicare cuts. However, Ryan has made reducing the nation's debt and reining in government spending a priority, and has openly discussed Medicare changes such as premium support.
Cuts will be made in 2019 unless Congress acts in to eliminate the cuts as part of their authority under the "PAYGO" law.
Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid are among the government's biggest programs. The governmentl spent about $700 billion on Medicare in 2017, a number the 
Congressional Budget Office  projects will increase to nearly $1.4 trillion in 2027.
Off Your Resolution Track Already? Small, Life-Changing Goals You Can Accomplish.
This article appeared in the January 26 MD Now Urgent Care webletter.

If you're like many Americans, the new year means making a fresh start and setting positive health goals. You might be feeling motivated to eat better, exercise more, quit smoking, or engage in other healthy behaviors. Of course, changing your lifestyle is not easy--many people start with the best of intentions only to fall off track by February. In fact, New Year's resolution statistics show that only 8 percent of people are successful over the long term.

Read More
Paul Cholak