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Abe Wischnia

Abe Wischnia is a special features columnist at Consumer Rescue, focusing heavily on the Medicare system. His goal is to help seniors navigate the complex rules, coverage issues, plans, and premiums while also helping his readers steer clear of scams and fraud. Abe started his career as a television news reporter and newscaster. He later transitioned to roles as a senior public relations and investor relations executive for companies in technology and biotech. With degrees in journalism and an MBA, Abe has written for newspapers, television news and documentaries, magazines, and corporate publications.
A map of the world to illustrate an article about global Medicare coverage.

Will Medicare cover you on an international trip? (Don’t bet on it)

If you have Medicare as your primary insurance and get hit with a health-related emergency while traveling in another country or on a cruise ship, will your treatment be covered? That’s the question many of our readers are asking.  That’s the question many of our readers are asking. 

Read on to understand what your Medicare coverage will and won’t do if you face a medical problem during an international trip. And, of course, I’ll also tell you how to make sure you are protected.

Old style telephone to illustrate an article about Medicare Advantage calls.

Why does my Medicare Advantage plan keep calling me to schedule a home visit?

My sister-in-law recently asked me why her Medicare Advantage plan was repeatedly leaving voicemails asking her to set up a home visit. The messages offer to pay her $50 to do so. The money was tempting but she had concerns about the legitimacy of the calls.

She’s not the only one getting such requests. A Consumer Rescue reader submitted a similar question, asking if Medicare rules require her to agree to a visit.

If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, chances are you’ve gotten or will get such a call. That has to make one wonder why the plans are willing to pay people to make the calls. Also, why are they so persistent, and why are they willing to pay you for the visits?

Elderly couple sitting in a field, must you join Medicare at age 65?

Reader question: Am I required to join Medicare when I turn 65?

There’s a lot of confusion about whether you are required to join Medicare when you turn 65.  Unfortunately, depending on who you ask, the answer you get may be wrong.

Recently, my wife and I had lunch with some long-time friends. He’s retired and enrolled in Medicare. She will soon turn 65 but does not plan to retire for at least another two years. The health insurance coverage she has through her work is fine.

She told us that she had attended a retirement planning session offered at her workplace, where the presenter said you must enroll in Medicare at age 65. She wanted to know if that was true. I told her that if the presenter actually said that, then she received some bad information.

Then just last week, an acquaintance asked me that same question.

So the purpose of this article is to give you the real answer, which is:  “It depends.”

It's open enrollment season, and now is the time to shop for a better Medicare plan.

Here’s why you should shop around for the best Medicare plan right now

Ben Franklin famously said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” How about saving nearly $1,000? That’s how much my wife’s sister-in-law saved just by comparing Medicare prescription drug plans. 

If this were an advertising scam, the headline might say, “Click here to find out how she earned $1,000 in less than an hour.”

But this isn’t some kind of advertising sales come-on. There is a real way to save money on your annual Medicare costs that most people overlook: shopping around for the best plan. 

Facts about Medicare Advantage plans, compare Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare.

Why would Medicare Advantage cancel a patient’s surgery at the last minute?

Bob Miller of Columbus, OH, needed cataract surgery on both eyes. He had the surgery on the first eye, but the evening before he was to have the second eye done, he got a phone call from his ophthalmologist. Miller’s Medicare Advantage plan had just informed the doctor that it was not authorizing the second surgery and she told him that she had to cancel the procedure.

“I was dumbfounded,” Miller told me. “It wasn’t like this would be a surprise to them. I have two eyes.” 

Medicare fraud and scams are causing the program to be on the verge of collapse. Our special features reporter explains how.

Medicare fraud: How can you protect yourself against the latest scams?

According to the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services, Medicare loses $60 billion annually to fraud, scams, waste, and abuse.

Scammers are counting on your confusion about Medicare’s complex rules so you go along with their fraudulent schemes.

The lost money is bad enough. But some of those Medicare scams can harm you personally. Read on for important tips so that you won’t fall for Medicare scams and contribute to this problem.