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The Voice of Julie Billman
It’s the Annual Election Period (AEP) for Medicare Advantage (MA), and like many health plans, those of us in the industry are often busy. Family members on Medicare are often asking about changes or concerns about their health plan. When I checked in with my father, he indicated he needed to change his MA plan because he owed a $36,000 hospital bill he felt should be covered by his health plan. I thought he was confused until I saw his Explanation of Benefits (EOB), and it did have a $36,000 denial for a hospitalization. The denial message indicated, “You may owe this amount. You will be billed by your provider.”
Friends of mine built a house. They indicated it was the most stressful event, full of decisions they didn’t know they needed to make, and struggled to agree. The timeline they hoped for was not reality and had to be reworked. While they said they were stronger having gone through the process and they love their house now, it wasn’t the fun event they thought it would be, and they never want to build a house again.
I fly often, and it gives me comfort knowing my pilot completes a pre-flight checklist. I often see the pilot out on the tarmac walking around the plane giving it a quick inspection. It is a demonstration he/she takes our safety seriously.
In 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) moved from a Readiness Attestation to a Readiness Checklist with a Strategic Discussion with your Regional Office. A movement away from attestations may move some plans to take the process less seriously. CMS raises issues in the Readiness Checklist because they are either critical components or because they are areas of risk. It isn’t often in life we are handed a list we can use to double-check critical components are in place.
On Monday, the United States experienced the first full solar eclipse since 1979. In order to get the full impact of the eclipse, without causing vision damage, a certain type of glasses or an indirect viewing method was needed. It was an exciting event for those who took the time and had the opportunity to see it. In a small number of locations, it became totally dark for a few minutes and thus easily identified. In other locations, it was not visible without stepping outside to look for it with the right tools.
Do you know the signs of a riptide? Often the general public isn’t aware of riptides when they go to the beach. The change in the way the water moves and breaks on the shore is something lifeguards keep an eye on to keep swimmers safe.
A few years ago I lived in Utah, which is an amazingly beautiful state. I visited Bryce Canyon and went horseback riding into the canyon. My horse’s name was Anaconda, and his size lived up to his name. I grew up around horses, but it had been decades since I was on one. The tour started, and it wasn’t very long before I thought I made a big mistake. I had a hard time staying centered on Anaconda, and the other horses were walking right on the edge of the cliff. To top it off, I’m afraid of heights.