Health Care

Medicare Enrollment Penalties

Medicare takes over when workplace health coverage ends. As people age out of the workplace it is important to understand the rules governing Medicare. There are serious financial penalties for failing to enroll in Medicare at the proper time.


Why Do We Need New Cards?

In 2015, Congress passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.  The Act required the Federal Government to stop using social security numbers as identifiers on Medicare cards.  Growing awareness of the dramatic increase in identity theft and fraud scams prompted Congress to legislate this change.  When your social security number is on your Medicare card, every employee of every health care provider, lab, and pharmacy you use has the key to your identity and financial life. That also goes for health information processing centers. The hope is the new Medicare cards will eliminate thieves using Medicare cards for identity theft.

The Federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has been sponsoring National Prescription Take Back Day since 2010.  The idea is to give the public a safe way to dispose of unused and unwanted prescription drugs and to publicize the need for proper disposal.  Every year, people die from misusing prescription drugs.  Sometimes, it’s a child who got into the family medicine cabinet or discovered old drugs in the trash.  Sometimes, it’s teenagers or even adults who are looking for something that will make them high.  In 2017, over 6 million Americans misused prescription drugs.  While some used drugs purchased through illegal means, many others got their drugs from the home of a friend or family member.  A 2018 report found that the number of small children hospitalized for opioid poisoning tripled between 1997 and 2012.  The majority of the hospitalized children were toddlers or preschool kids. 

It was the November election in 2010.  Proposition 203, legalizing medical marijuana, was on the ballot.  Arizona voters approved the measure by a narrow margin with 50.1% in favor and 49.9% against.  With the success of the proposition, the Arizona Department of Health services began working to set rules and regulations for medical marijuana sales and use.

In 2017, Arizona requested to add a lifetime cap and work requirements to Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), our federal Medicaid program. In 2018, the request was approved and AHCCCS set to implement the program on January 1, 2020. Arizona is one of seven states who were approved by the federal government to add this particular requirement. The other six states are: Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire and Wisconsin. Ten other states have also asked to add a similar work requirement using a different legal avenue.

Every year those of us on Medicare and Social Security wait to find out what changes the federal government will make for the following year.  Here is a run down of what you can expect for 2017.  This discussion applies only to those individuals who have Original Medicare. It does not apply to those with Medicare Advantage plans.

What is a High Pollution Advisory?

A High Pollution Advisory is a public warning from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) that the outside air in a particular part of the state is expected to contain a pollutant or multiple pollutants in an amount exceeding federal health standards.

Medicare went into effect 48 years ago on July 1, 1966. Earlier that same year, Medicare workers went door to door trying to get seniors to sign up. Medicare was not the cornerstone then that it is today and people did not know whether it was going to work for the long haul.

This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.