New Bill in Congress Aims to Save Seniors' Lives

Legislation was introduced in Congress today that will correct an oversight to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires Medicare beneficiaries to pay coinsurance when their screening colonoscopy also involves the removal of a polyp or cancer. When a screening colonoscopy turns therapeutic, the cost to the Medicare patient is significant – $100 to $300 –…  Read More

Medicare Now Covers Obesity Counseling

Obese people on Medicare  now have the opportunity to have regular weight loss counseling paid for when offered by a primary care provider.  Since this is considered prevention, there is no co-pay. On November 29, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that there was enough evidence that intensive behavioral counseling was reasonable and necessary…  Read More

Some People Getting Colonoscopy Screening Too Often

After a normal colonoscopy when no polyps are found, guidelines call for a repeat test in 10 years. However, almost half of Medicare patients with a negative colonoscopy got another exam within 7 years, and for one in four there was no clear evidence that they needed one. Because colonoscopies have real risks and are expensive,…  Read More

The $250 Check's in the Mail — Beware of Scams

This week the federal government began mailing $250 checks to Medicare Part D enrollees who have reached the doughnut hole where Part D no longer covers prescription drugs. These checks are sent automatically to seniors when 2010 prescription costs reach the coverage gap. It is not necessary to apply for the check! But scam artists are…  Read More

Barriers and Facilitators for Colorectal Cancer Screening in Older People

Although Medicare pays for colorectal cancer screening, not all older people enrolled in Medicare are screened. Reviewing published medical literature, a task group from the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable found research identifying both barriers to screening and factors that made it easier. The most frequently mentioned barrier related to healthcare providers was lack of a doctor’s…  Read More