July Medicare Must-Knows | Monthly Updates From Your Local Advisor in Medicare

July Medicare Must-Knows

RetireMEDiQ wants you to know the latest news in the Medicare industry. Every month, we report on recent developments and explain how you may be impacted. As your local advisor in Medicare, we’re here to offer no-cost guidance on your health coverage.

Read further for your must-know updates in July.

Medicare Beneficiaries Take Advantage of Telehealth

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded Medicare coverage for telehealth services. Beneficiaries jumped at the opportunity to visit their doctors virtually, and many providers added telehealth to their list of services as a result.

A recent analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that more than one in four Medicare beneficiaries had a telehealth visit between summer and fall 2020. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of those surveyed said that their doctors offered telehealth as an option, compared to 18 percent pre-pandemic.

While CMS has not decided on whether Original Medicare will continue to cover telehealth, 98 percent of Medicare Advantage plans include telehealth coverage as an added benefit.

American Dental Association Calls on CMS About Oral Health Concerns

The American Dental Association (ADA) issued a statement in June urging CMS to prioritize several issues regarding oral health. While many of the action items related to Medicaid, one ask was that CMS fill its Chief Dental Officer position—which has been vacant since 2017. CMS has yet to issue a response, but RetireMEDiQ will keep you posted on any new developments.

Newly-Approved Alzheimer’s Drug Promises Hope, High Prices

In June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a drug called Aduhelm, which is used to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Aduhelm is the first new therapy approved to treat Alzheimer’s since 2003. However, the drug’s cost is proving to be a hurdle, specifically for Medicare.

CMS has not decided yet whether Aduhelm will be covered by Medicare. If Medicare covers Aduhelm, the drug will cost the federal government an estimated $57 billion a year. Compare that to $20 billion spent by Medicare on all prescription drugs in 2019. However, CMS must also consider how this drug could reduce the cost of long-term care for Alzheimer’s patients.

As your local advisor in Medicare, RetireMEDiQ will keep you posted on any additional updates with this breakthrough Alzheimer’s treatment.

Brain Cancer Drug Leaves Medicare Discount Program

Gleostine, a drug that treats glioblastoma (an aggressive form of brain cancer) is no longer part of a federal discount program for Medicare beneficiaries. NextSource Biotechnology, which produces Gleostine, has opted to remove the drug from the program.

For many Medicare beneficiaries, this means the drug will no longer be accessible. No generic option is available, and Gleostine could now cost as much as $1,000 per capsule.

If you have questions about the cost of prescription drugs on your Medicare plan, reach out to our advisors for guidance.

Attend a Free Medicare Webinar in July

Every month, RetireMEDiQ hosts a series of webinars on the latest Medicare topics. You and your loved ones can attend these virtual events to learn about Medicare, retirement, and your health plan options.

These free sessions are open to anyone, so you can invite friends, coworkers, or loved ones to join. View our full list of July webinars on our blog.

Your Local Advisor in Medicare

We’re your local resource for all things Medicare. Whether you’re curious about your coverage options or have a question about your current Medicare plan, our advisors can give you the answers you need and the simplicity you want.

If you’re new to RetireMEDiQ, you can schedule a call with us to connect with a local advisor in Medicare. You can also email your questions to advice@retiremediq.com.

Already a client of ours? You can reach out to your client advisor team by emailing client@retiremediq.com or calling 1-877-222-1942.

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