Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) FAQ

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) FAQ text overlaying image of building blocks with faq written on them. If this is your first year participating in the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), you may be confused about what you need to do. Getting the information you need is crucial if you want to make sure your Medicare plan is ready for the upcoming year. You could lose hundreds of dollars if you don’t fully understand the AEP and don’t take advantage of it. We have compiled and addressed some of the most commonly asked questions we receive this time of year in an effort to better prepare you for the AEP. 

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What Is The AEP?

A specified window of time known as the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) allows people to modify their Medicare coverage. It enables Medicare enrollees to change their plan selections to better meet their medical needs. The AEP can be used by eligible people to switch, enroll in, or disenroll from any Medicare plan. Including Original Medicare (Parts A and B), Medicare Advantage (Part C), and Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D). Including the options to enroll in or modify Medicare prescription medication coverage, move between Medicare Advantage plans, and convert from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage. 

When Is The AEP?

Every year, the AEP takes place from October 15 to December 7. Unless you are eligible for a Special Election Period (SEP), the AEP is usually your opportunity to make these adjustments if, during your initial enrollment period, you did not enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Medicare prescription drug plan. Any modifications you make during the AEP take effect on January 1st of the following year.

Why Is The AEP So Important?

There are several reasons you might think about changing your Medicare coverage since your healthcare needs change over time. All Medicare beneficiaries should be aware of the costs associated with premiums, deductibles, and copayments. If your current plan is too costly, moving to a more affordable alternative can help you control your medical spending. When you undergo specific health changes, switching Medicare plans can also be helpful. Some people have pre-existing ailments that get worse with time, or they develop chronic conditions. In these situations, you might want to think about moving to a Medicare plan that provides better coverage along with condition-specific care management services. By doing this, you can make sure that you have access to the care, drugs, and assistance you need to maintain your health.

What’s The Difference Between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage?

Original Medicare consists of two portions that are provided by the federal government: Part A and Part B. Hospital insurance, or Part A, is typically premium-free and includes skilled nursing facility care, inpatient hospital treatment, lab testing, surgery, and home health care. As long as you worked 10 years and paid Medicare taxes. Part B medical insurance has a monthly payment that is determined by your income and covers physician services, outpatient treatment, medical equipment, home health care, and certain preventive services. Under a contract with the federal government, private insurance firms offer Medicare Advantage Plans, often known as Medicare Part C. In addition to other benefits like dental, hearing, vision, and/or prescription medication coverage, they cover the same benefits as Medicare Parts A and B.

Do I Have To Change My Coverage?

No, if you are happy with your current Medicare plan, you don’t need to change it. However, you should be aware of any impending changes for the future year and shop around to make sure you are getting the features you need at a reasonable cost.

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What Are The New Medicare Changes In 2024? 

Every year, the Medicare program in the United States may alter somewhat or significantly. Before AEP, every year the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announces these changes in September and October. Increases in Part B and Part A cost-sharing, higher Part B premiums (but flat or slightly lower Part A premiums), modified income-related premium surcharges for Part B and Part D, the removal of Medicare Part D coinsurance once an enrollee reaches the catastrophic coverage level, and expanded availability of the full Low-Income Subsidy (Extra Help) for Part D prescription drug coverage are some of the changes to 2024 Medicare coverage.

Medicare Part A Changes

Certain home healthcare services, skilled nursing facilities, and inpatient hospitals are covered by Medicare Part A. For those who have worked for 40 quarters or more who are insured by Medicare, there is no premium for Medicare Part A. CMS estimates that 99% of Medicare enrollees do not pay a Medicare Part A premium. CMS said that the monthly Part A payment, which is paid by beneficiaries with less than 30 quarters of Medicare-covered employment and some individuals with disabilities, will drop to $505 in 2024 by $1. Your premiums stay at $278 if you or your spouse have worked 30 to 39 quarters. The Medicare Part A deductible for inpatient hospital services will rise to $1,632 by an additional $32. The daily coinsurance payments for Part A will be as follows:


  • $408 for days 61–90 of hospitalization during a benefit period
  • $816 for lifetime reserve days
  • $204 for days 21–100 of extended care services in a skilled nursing facility during a benefit period

Medicare Part B Changes

Medicare Part B is medical insurance, which pays for doctor visits along with other services and supplies that are required for medical care. It also includes ambulance services and preventive treatment to avoid illness. In addition, several kinds of outpatient prescription medication, mental health coverage, and durable medical equipment are included. Medicare Part B is going to get more expensive in 2024. In 2024, the average monthly premium for Medicare Part B will be $174.70, representing a nearly 6% increase over the 2023 payment. The Medicare Part B premium was $164.90 in 2023. Additionally, the yearly Medicare Part B deductible will rise from $226 in 2023 to $240 in 2024. Increases in spending are the main cause of cost changes.

Medicare Advantage Changes

Under a contract with Medicare, private businesses provide Medicare Advantage plans (Part C). Medicare Advantage plans, which offer Part A, B, and occasionally D (drug) benefits, are enrolled by around 50% of Medicare beneficiaries. Lower rates and appealing extras like gym memberships, dental, vision, and hearing coverage are features found in most policies. 


Selecting “in-network” providers is a requirement of MA plans. You might have to pay extra or not receive coverage at all if you travel outside the network or coverage area of the plan. According to CMS reports, it expects Medicare Advantage premiums to remain relatively unchanged in 2024 compared to 2023. Medicare Advantage monthly premium averages should be $18.50 in 2024 as opposed to $17.86 in 2023. For over 73% of beneficiaries, there will be no rise at all.

Medicare Part D Changes

CMS anticipates a decrease in Part D premiums in 2024 to $55.50 in 2024 from $56.49 in 2023. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 caused multiple policy adjustments, which is why there has been a drop. In 2024, new cost-sharing restrictions take effect. There is a temporary cap on the amount of coverage provided by Medicare prescription drug plans, known as a coverage gap. This coverage gap is called the “donut hole.”


The donut hole begins when your insurer and you spend $5,030 on covered pharmaceuticals, which is more than the $4,660 in 2023. Following $5,030, you will have to pay a part of your prescription medications out of pocket, up to the amount specified by your plan. Upon reaching this threshold, whether you purchase your prescriptions from a pharmacy or online, you won’t be required to pay more than 25% of the total cost of the medication (brand-name and generic). Once you cross that threshold, your coverage resumes. 


You get into the catastrophic coverage phase once you’ve spent the maximum amount of money you can for covered medications ($8,000 in 2024). This stage results in the elimination of cost-sharing for approved medications in 2024. More individuals will also be eligible for expansion of Extra Help in 2024. This will allow Medicare beneficiaries who meet certain requirements can receive fixed lower copayments instead of a premium and deductible. Participants can save roughly $300 a year on average.

Can I Change My Medicare Plan Outside of The AEP?

It depends on the situation. You will have the opportunity to make adjustments during your Special Enrollment Period, for instance, if you move outside of the coverage area of your plan or if you no longer qualify for coverage for any other reason. Of course, you can always leave a Medicare Advantage Plan, prescription drug plan, or Supplemental Plan whenever you choose, but you can’t join or modify them unless you are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (AEP). 

How Do I Enroll During The AEP?

It is possible to enroll in a Medicare plan through assessing your options and selecting one on your own, but working with a qualified Medicare agent is recommended to avoid missing out on a fantastic, cost-effective plan. The Medicare representatives at EZ can help you every step of the way and compare all of your Medicare options. As well as help you find a Medicare Supplement Plan from the best insurance providers in the nation. 

Working With EZ

If you have any additional questions about medicare & medicare supplement plans feel free to reach out to an EZ agent. Our local agents are here to help you compare plans, find plans that fit in your budget, go over your coverage, and keep you up to date with everything you need to know about your plan. To get a medicare supplement quote online you can enter your zip code in the bar below. To speak to a live agent you can give us a call at 877-670-3602.

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What Are Part B Excess Charges?

What Are Part B Excess Charges? text overlaying image of someone writing medicare on a whiteboard While shopping for Medicare Supplement Plans you might see something called a Part B excess charge. You’ll specifically see this term in the discontinued Medicare Supplement Plans C and F. Providers who take Medicare usually also take Medicare assignment, which is the amount Medicare will pay for certain services. So, thankfully, excess charges don’t happen very often for most Medicare recipients. However, a doctor may choose to accept Medicare insurance, but not Medicare assignment which means they can charge more in some cases. The difference between the higher charge and the Medicare-approved amount for medical services, supplies, or equipment is the excess charge.

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Medicare Assignment

There’s no guarantee that a doctor or hospital will only charge Medicare-approved amounts for their patients just because they take Medicare patients. All of the services and procedures that Medicare agrees to pay for have set prices that they will pay. In other words, the medical service provider must “accept Medicare assignment”. Which means they agree to take the Medicare-approved amount as payment for the service or equipment. After that, the provider sends a bill for the amount owed straight to Medicare. Medicare usually pays 80% of the bill, leaving the patient to pay the last 20%. If a provider doesn’t “accept assignment,” they can charge up to 15% more than the Medicare-approved amount for Part B.


If you go to a participating provider, all you have to pay for approved services is your Medicare deductible and coinsurance. This is the case even if the provider charges people with other types of health insurance more. Your participating provider will also send your bills to Medicare.


There are also providers who won’t take Medicare assignment. These are called “nonparticipating providers.” If your provider doesn’t participate, they might or might not agree to accept Medicare assignment for specific services. There are usually limits on how much doctors and other medical workers can charge when they don’t accept Medicare assignment. However, there is usually a limit on how much more they can charge for the service.

Medicare Part B

Part B of Medicare usually pays for care and services given in clinics and other outpatient settings. Medicare Part B pays for a range of medically necessary outpatient services and care. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services say that medically necessary services are “services or supplies that are needed to diagnose or treat your medical condition and that meet accepted standards of medical practice.”


The Part B deductible must be paid before Part B will pay for most medically necessary treatments during the year. For most covered services, you have to pay 20% of the cost out of pocket through Part B. Part B of Medicare also covers services and care that keep you from getting sick. Such as cancer and some other diseases’ screenings, tests, shots, and guidance. For most preventive services, you don’t have to pay anything, but for most medically important services, you have to pay 20% of the cost.

How Much Is The Excess Charge?

“The limiting charge” is the most that non-participating providers can charge you for some medical services and products that Medicare covers. This limit says that Medicare-accepting providers who are not participating can charge you up to 15% more than Medicare’s amount for the same services. This is an example: Medicare has agreed to pay providers $300 for a service you need. Your provider won’t work with Medicare, and they’ll charge you the full legal amount, which is 15%. In this case, the extra charge for you would be $45.


In another instance, Medicare pays $100 for another service you receive. Your provider doesn’t take Medicare assignments, but they’ll only charge you an extra 6%. In this case, the extra charge is $6. It’s important to note that not all services have a limit and there is no cap on how much non-participating suppliers of durable medical equipment can charge you for goods and equipment. Make sure your doctor accepts assignments before you get any durable medical equipment.

How Common Are Excess Charges

A 2020 issue report from the Kaiser Family Foundation says that 99% of doctors who aren’t pediatricians accept Medicare. Also, 98% of doctors who take Medicare are participating providers, which means that most Medicare-approved visits shouldn’t have an excess charge. Although there are many medical providers in the United States, even a small number of providers who don’t accept assignments can add up. This is why you should always check with your provider to see if they take assignments before making appointments or buying medical supplies and equipment.

Does Every State Allow Excess Charges?

It can be a pain to deal with Part B extra charges, but luckily some states are against them. The state has to allow excess charges to happen. If they don’t, Medicare recipients in those places won’t be charged more than the Medicare approved amount. Because Part B excess charges are different in each state, it’s important to know what’s going on if you don’t want to have extra Medicare charges added to your bill. Some states either don’t allow extra charges or put some kind of cap on them, but not all of them do. 


  • Connecticut People who are in the Medicare Savings Program at the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) level are the only ones who can’t be charged extra. Everyone else in Connecticut who has Medicare Part B can face excess charges.
  • Massachusetts  Balance billing is illegal in the state, so doctors who take Medicare can’t charge their patients more than the approved amount.
  • Minnesota Under Minnesota law, Medicare excess charges are not allowed. However, there is an exception that ambulance services and medical equipment are able to have excess charges.
  • New York The Balance Billing Law of New York says that excess charges can’t be more than 5% above what Medicare allows.
  • Ohio Excess charges are prohibited in Ohio.
  • PennsylvaniaPennsylvania does not allow excess charges.
  • Rhode Island This is another state that does not allow excess charges.
  • Vermont This state also prohibits excess charges entirely.

How Excess Charges Can Affect You

Say you go to a doctor who isn’t a participant to get a few moles removed that look odd. Medicare will only pay $400 for this treatment, so the dermatologist could charge you $460. If you’ve already met your Part B deductible, the treatment would cost you $140 out of pocket. This includes your $80 coinsurance payment of 20% plus the $60 Part B extra charge. With a participating provider, the most you would have to pay out of pocket is $80. It’s important to remember that excess charges do not count toward your Part B payment.


However, a doctor who isn’t participating can add extra charges to your bill as many times as they want. If you often see a provider who doesn’t take assignments, you could end up paying hundreds of dollars more each year than you should.

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Medicare Supplement Plans That Cover Excess Charges

There are only two Medicare Supplement plans that protect you from Medicare Part B extra charges– Plans F and G are those plans. In the past, Medicare Plan F gave the most benefits of all the Medicare Supplement plans. Many people thought it was worth the extra cost because it filled in some of the holes in Medicare Parts A and B.


The main thing that makes Plan F better than other Medicare Supplement plans is that it pays for the yearly Medicare Part B deductible. However, in 2015, this changed. People who became eligible for Medicare after January 1, 2020, can no longer get Plan F. People who already had Plan F before the change have the option of keeping it. If you could have gotten Medicare before January 1, 2020, but chose not to, you might also still be able to sign up for Plan F. 


Plan G is now the most popular Medicare Supplement Insurance plan that anyone, regardless of when you enroll in Medicare, can get. Plan G pays for the “gaps” in Medicare benefits, which are the costs you have to pay for yourself after Medicare pays its share of the bill. More of these costs are covered by Plan G than by any other Medicare Supplement Insurance plan for new Medicare users.

Why Is Plan F Discontinued?

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) was signed into law in 2015. This law made it illegal to sell any Medicare Supplement plans that covered Part B deductibles for people who became eligible after January 1, 2020. There are only 2 of 10 Medicare Supplement Plans that have this benefit, Plan F and Plan C. The new law did not change anything about the plans themselves. If you had or were eligible for one of these plans before January 2020 then the coverage is still the same. The only thing that changed was that new enrollees can no longer purchase the plans and eventually the plans will be entirely phased out once nobody on Medicare is eligible or has one of these plans.

Working With EZ

It is very important to compare the pros and cons of each Medicare Supplement Plan before choosing one. That takes a lot of work because you have to call a lot of insurance companies to get rate quotes, which can take a long time. You can check prices in half the time if you work with an EZ agent. When you work with a qualified agent, you can compare Medicare Supplement Plans from a number of different companies and plans all in one place. 


Your agent can tell you about the changes between each plan and compare prices for you. Your adviser can also help you compare out-of-pocket costs and premium costs to find the plan that will save you the most money in the long run. Call us at 877-670-3602 right now to start looking for a Medicare Supplement Plan. To see online quotes you can also type your zip code into the box below.

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Why You Might Have No Appetite Lately

As you get older, you might find that you don’t have as big of an appetite as you once did, and that you eat less than you used to. This is actually a normal part of the aging process, but if you are losing a significant amount of weight because of your loss of appetite, it could mean that you have an underlying issue, such as a stomach virus, or worse, In fact, studies show that a 10% loss of overall body weight is linked to a higher mortality rate just six months after the initial weight loss. This is why it is important to know why you might have no appetite lately, and what you can do about it, so you can live a long, healthy life. 

Causes Of Loss Of Appetite

If you have no urge to eat, no sensation of hunger, or are experiencing any bloating, pain, or are nauseated at the thought of food, there is probably a reason behind it: 

Medical Causes

There could be a medical reason behind your loss of appetite, including:female doctor checking an older woman's throat

  • Thyroid disorders– Medications that treat hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism can cause a loss of appetite.
  • Dementia or Alzheimer’s Weight loss and appetite loss are common in Alzheimer’s patients; if you are forgetting to eat, speak to your doctor.
  • Kidney failure– One of the symptoms of kidney disease is reduced appetite.
  • Hepatitis– One of the symptoms associated with hepatitis inflammation of the liver is loss of appetite
  • COPD– Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease causes changes in hormones that can lead to loss of appetite.
  • Cancer- Some cancers, particularly ovarian, pancreatic, lung, and stomach cancers will suppress your appetite, along with other symptoms such as fatigue.
  • Addison’s disease and Cushing’s syndrome– Both of these endocrine disorders will cause loss of appetite.
  • HIV

Psychological Causes

Your mental and emotional health can take a toll on your appetite as well. Many older adults will experience a loss of appetite when they are stressed or when dealing with other issues such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders


three pills of different sizes
Different medications can be the cause of appetite loss.

A lot of medications can cause appetite loss, or change your appetite. They can reduce feelings of hunger, make you more nauseous, and even change your sense of smell or taste. Medications that can cause a loss of appetite include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Antibiotics
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Thyroid medications
  • Pain relievers such as codeine 

Natural Remedies To Increase Appetite

There are some natural remedies and lifestyle changes that can help increase your appetite. For example, did you know that when you eat with other people, you tend to eat more than when eating by yourself? Try eating with friends or family when you can; you can also try the following:

  • Eat less fiber– Sure, fiber has a lot of health benefits, but eating too much of it can lead to appetite loss, as well as weight loss since it helps you stay fuller longer.multiple Z's going upward
  • Get more sleep– When your body’s circadian rhythm is regulated, your appetite will be as well. Try to have a regular sleep schedule and see if it helps.
  • Regulate your temperature – If you live in a hot environment, try to stay cool as much as possible. Heat can decrease your appetite so stay cool by drinking cold liquids and wearing lightweight clothing.

When To Seek Help

If you are experiencing a loss of appetite and it is resulting in weight loss, it is important to seek medical attention, especially if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Blood in your stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

It is important to see a doctor so they can determine if there are any underlying causes behind your appetite loss. And if you are taking medication that is resulting in consistent loss of appetite, call your doctor and schedule an appointment to see if there are any other medications you can take.

Not eating as much as you get older is quite normal, but if it starts to seem like an issue, and if you are losing too much weight, or are experiencing any of the aforementioned issues, you should speak to your doctor. There can be many reasons why you’re not feeling hungry; it’s important to find out what’s going on, so you can deal with it properly instead of allowing whatever the issue is to get worse and threaten your health. 

Remember, when you see the doctor, you will have out-of-pocket expenses, such as your Part B deductible and your 20% Part B coinsurance, which can add up to a lot, so it’s definitely worth looking into a Medicare Supplement Plan to save as much money as you can. Come to EZ and talk to one of our agents: we work with the top-rated insurance companies in the nation and can compare plans in minutes for you at no cost. To get free instant quotes for plans that cover your current doctors, simply enter your zip code in the bar on the side, or to speak to a licensed agent, call 888-753-7207.

Does Medicare Cover Atrial Fibrillation Treatments?

September is National Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month. Atrial Fibrillation, also known as AFib, is a major health concern in the United States, affecting 2.3 million Americans. It is also the most common form of arrhythmia in patients over 65; in fact, around 70% of people with atrial fibrillation are between the ages of 65 and 85 years old. If you are an older adult with this condition, you are at significantly higher risk of having a stroke, so it is important to receive the proper treatment – but are these treatments covered under Medicare? 

illustration of a heart with a red circle around it
With AFib, the heart will beat irregularly due to a change in the blood flow.

What Is Atrial Fibrillation?

Your heart has four chambers: two upper chambers called atria, and two lower chambers called ventricles. In a healthy heart, the atria beat regularly, helping blood flow to the ventricles, but if you suffer from atrial fibrillation, your atria beat irregularly, changing the blood flow, making it either too fast or too slow. If AFib is not controlled, it can lead to severe complications such as stroke, blood clots, and even death; in fact, patients with the disease are twice as likely to die as patients without AFib. 

Risk Factors

There are a number of factors that increase your risk of atrial fibrillation, including:

  • Older age 
  • Gender – Men are 1.5 times more likely to develop AFib
  • Obesity – Obese patients have a 1.5 to 2.3 times greater risk of developing AFib, and of having the condition progress to permanent AFib
  • Sleep apnea
  • Diabetes 
  • High blood pressure

Common Symptoms

illustration of a woman who is dizzy
Dizziness is a common symptom of AFib.

A person with atrial fibrillation might have no symptoms, or they might experience mild symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they can include:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness 
  • Low blood pressure
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Weakness

Medicare Coverage & Costs

Medicare covers various treatments for AFib, as long as the treatment is deemed medically necessary by your doctor. Part A will generally cover:

  • Hospital or skilled nursing facility stays brought on by your AFib
  • Pacemaker placement
  • Catheter and surgical ablation
  • Electrical cardioversion- This is a low-voltage shock that helps to regulate your heartbeat
  • Chemical cardioversion- This type of treatment involves getting medications through an IV in a hospital setting

Medicare Part B will cover any outpatient services, including doctor visits, screenings, and diagnostic exams; Part B will also cover cardiovascular disease screening every 5 years, as well as  cardiac rehabilitation programs. As with any medically necessary services, Medicare Part B will only cover up to 80% of the expenses, leaving you to pay the remaining 20%, as well as your Part B deductible, out-of-pocket.

Saving Money 

Atrial fibrillation can be a costly condition to manage because it often requires ongoing treatment and medication; in fact, according to the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), the management of the condition and its complications costs the U.S. healthcare system roughly $26 billion dollars each year! For individuals managing the condition, costs can add up fairly quickly, especially since Medicare Part B does not cover piggy bank with coins stacked in front of it If you have a lot of medical expenses because of a condition like AFib, a Medicare Supplement Plan can help save you a lot of money. Most of these plans will cover many of the out-of-pocket expenses that Medicare does not, like copays and coinsurance, or even for medical care while you’re traveling. In most states, you have the choice of 10 different Medicare Supplement Plans with different levels of coverage and price points, so you’re sure to find a plan that is right for you.

If you need help finding the right Medicare Supplement Plan for you, EZ can help, because our agents work with the top-rated insurance companies in the country. You will be paired with your own agent who will compare all available plans in your area to help find a plan that meets your financial and medical needs. All of our services come at no cost to you, and there is no obligation and no hassle. To get free instant quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to one of our license agents, call 888-753-7207.

Cardiac Rehabilitation & Medicare

According to the CDC, 21.7% of adults aged 65 years and older have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease (CHD); not only that, but a full 12% of those 60-69 have experienced heart failure, and that number rises to almost 20% when looking at people over 80. To help this large number of seniors with serious heart issues, Medicare covers cardiac rehabilitation programs to aid in recovery after heart surgery, heart failure, or a heart attack. These programs are meant to improve quality of life for those with heart disease, and reduce risk factors to prevent heart problems from worsening, but it seems that far too few Medicare beneficiaries are taking part in them. If you are dealing with heart issues, you should know about these programs and what criteria you need to meet in order for Medicare to cover your treatment, so you can make the most of your recovery.

Cardiac Rehabilitation Explained

pink kettle bells with sneakers in the background
The cardiac rehabilitation program will help seniors exercise and work towards a healthier lifestyle.

There are 2 types of cardiac rehab programs typically prescribed to patients who have suffered a heart attack, been diagnosed with a heart condition, or had surgery on their heart: general cardiac rehab and intensive cardiac rehab. Each program is offered at the hospital by healthcare providers or a special rehab team, who will customize a plan to help you make better lifestyle choices, manage your heart condition, and prevent any new issues. 

These programs usually include:

  • Exercise – Because exercise helps maintain a healthy heart, a large portion of these programs is dedicated to moving your body. Over time, the exercises given to you by your team will grow in intensity to challenge you and improve your health. 
  • Education on healthier lifestyle choices – Your team will talk to you about following a heart healthy diet, how to reduce stress, and more. 
  • Counseling – Your rehabilitation program can include counseling  to help you deal with issues that have come up during your illness, as well as help you change your behaviors for the better. 

These programs are extremely beneficial, and can help you improve the quality of your life, as well as lengthen your life. Unfortunately, though, many Medicare beneficiaries do not seek help or utilize any of these cardiac rehabilitation programs: one study found that only around 10% of patients 85 and older participated, compared to around 32% of those 65 to 74. They also found that participation among women was lower than among men, which is disappointing considering that women are more likely than men to have heart disease, and that it is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S. 

“Cardiac rehabilitation has strong evidence demonstrating its lifesaving and life-enhancing benefits, and Medicare Part B provides coverage for the program,” lead study author Matthew D. Ritchey, a researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, said in a news release. “The low participation and completion rates observed translate to upwards of 7 million missed opportunities in this study.”

Medicare Coverage For Cardiac Rehabilitation

black and white picture of a man holding his chest
If you had a heart attack in the past 12 months, or experience chest pain, then Medicare will cover rehabilitation. 

As a Medicare beneficiary, you have access to cardiac rehab coverage through Medicare, as long as you meet certain requirements. Medicare Part B covers these programs if you have had at least one of the following conditions:

  • A heart attack in the last 12 months
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery
  • Chest pain
  • A heart valve repair or replacement
  • A coronary angioplasty (a procedure to open a blocked artery)
  • A coronary stent (a procedure to keep an artery open)
  • A heart or heart-lung transplant
  • Stable chronic heart failure

For general cardiac rehab, Medicare will cover up to two one-hour sessions per day and a total of 36 sessions; if deemed medically necessary, Medicare might cover an additional 36 sessions. For intensive cardiac rehab, patients are eligible to receive coverage for up to six one-hour sessions per day and a total of 72 sessions; however, these sessions must be completed over an 18-week period.

Medicare will pay for 80% of the Medicare-approved amount of this program, which leaves you responsible for the remaining 20%, as well as for meeting your annual deductible. 

Saving Money

Medicare requires that you pay a 20% coinsurance for each qualified medical expense you incur, but there is a way that you can avoid these expenses and save money: Medicare Supplement Plans will pay for the coinsurance and then some, depending on the plan. There are 10 different plans to choose from, so there is sure to be one that meets your medical needs, as well as fits your budget.  We know that being on a fixed income means that saving money is a must, and a Medicare Supplement Plan is a great way to help you save money throughout the year.

Not sure where to begin? can help you save the most money possible by comparing all available Medicare Supplement Plans in your area – and to help you save even more money, we offer our services for free! Our highly trained agents will assess your needs, compare plans, and find the one that is best for you. To get free quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to a local agent, call 888-753-7207.

Does Medicare Cover Hair Loss Treatment?

It’s inevitable: as you age, your body will go through some major changes. Your metabolism will slow down significantly, which could lead to weight gain, your skin will get thinner, meaning you’ll get colder than you used to due to decreased circulation, and so on. Another very common physical change that most older adults deal with is hair loss; in fact, by age 60, about 60% of women suffer from some degree of hair loss, and many men are nearly bald. While this is a normal part of aging, it can be embarrassing, and you might want to seek treatment to help with your hair loss. Many of the most effective treatments can be very expensive, but is it possible to get Medicare to cover them?

What Causes Hair Loss?

four different kinds of medications next to each other on a table
Different medications can contribute to hair loss.

Did you know that every strand of hair on your head has a lifespan anywhere from 2-5 years?  In addition, each hair follicle has a cycle of active growth, transition, and rest; if you are beginning to lose your hair, that means the follicles are remaining in the rest cycle, which can be caused by disease, medications, or your genes. The most common cause of hair loss is hereditary hair loss, known as male or female pattern hair loss, but the following medications and medical conditions can contribute to hair loss. Medications include: 

  • Blood thinners
  • Vitamin A supplements
  • Some arthritis medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Gout medications
  • Heart medications
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Birth control pills

Medical conditions that can cause hair loss include:

  • Thyroid disease
  • Lupus
  • Cancer
  • Alopecia areata
  • Scalp infections like ringworm
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Untreated STIs, specifically syphilis

Hair Loss Treatmentshands with blue gloves on inserting a shot into the top of a woman's head

If you experience hair loss or baldness because of the medications you are taking, speak to  your doctor about possible alternative medications that will not have this side effect. For other types of hair loss, treatments include:

  • Laser therapy
  • Hair transplant surgery
  • Medications
  • Wigs or hairpieces

Your doctor might propose one or more of these treatment options. 

What Medicare Covers

Unfortunately, Medicare does not generally cover treatment for hair loss; for example, if you choose to get hair transplant surgery, Medicare will not cover any of the costs. Medicare Part B will only cover medically necessary treatment for any underlying disease or condition that might be causing your hair loss, but will not cover any specific treatments for the hair loss itself. As in all cases, Medicare will cover 80% of the cost of treatments and medications for these conditions, and you will be responsible for the 20% coinsurance that Medicare does not cover. 

Preventing Hair Loss

non smoking sign
To help prevent hair loss, you should avoid smoking.

There is no foolproof way to prevent hair loss, but there are some precautions you can take to help slow it down. You can:

  • Use a topical treatment like minoxidil
  • Massage your scalp 
  • Avoid hairstyles that tug on your hair follicles
  • Avoid smoking
  • Make changes to  your diet. A diet high in antioxidants can help reduce stress on your hair follicles, and help keep your hair from falling out. 

If you are concerned that your hair is getting thinner or that you are balding, it is important to seek help from your doctor. Your hair loss might be hereditary, but it could also be due to medications you are taking, or caused by an underlying disease you are unaware of. Your doctor can run some tests and if they do find that you have a health condition, they can treat it – and this treatment will be covered by Medicare Part B. 

While Medicare Part B covers most necessary treatments, it only covers 80% of expenses; If you are looking for more coverage, especially for the 20% coinsurance you are responsible for, a Medicare Supplement Plan might be your best option. One of these plans will not only cover the coinsurance you are responsible for, but  will also cover other things that Medicare does not. There are 10 different Medicare Supplement Plans to choose from, and EZ can compare all available plans in your area for free. We will find a plan that meets your specific needs and saves you hundreds of dollars. To get free quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to a licensed agent, call 888-753-7207.