Connecticut’s 2018 Medicare Savings Program (MSP) Income-Eligibility Changes

December 6th, 2017

As of December 6, 2017, the Department of Social Services has announced that it will review the changes to the Medicare Savings Programs.


IMPORTANT NOTE: No changes have yet been made. The Medicare Savings Program is going into contact negotiations. We should know before March 1, 2018 the status of the program. If you end up losing benefits, our professionals at Roberson Tierney and Associates are here to help and re-evaluate your insurance needs.


Starting January 1, 2018, a new law in the state budget (section 50 of Public Act 17-2, June Special Session) will lower income limits for the Medicare Saving Programs (“MSP”).


There are three levels of MSP. All levels of MSP cover your Medicare Part B premium If you have the level known as Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (“QMB”), then your MSP benefit also covers the copays and deductibles for Medicare Part A hospital and Part B medical covered services. Currently, over 90% of Connecticut MSP recipients are at the QMB level. The chart below shows the income limits before and after January 1, 2018.


Use the chart below to see what level of MSP you may qualify for after January 1. Note that you may no longer qualify or you may move from your current level to another level of MSP, depending on your income and your spouse’s income if you are married. Income includes, but is not limited to: Social Security retirement or disability benefits, pension, and the money you earn from work. The money you earn from working is calculated differently from other income. The first $65 that you earn is not counted and then only half of the remaining earnings are counted when determining eligibility. For example, if you have $1,065 in work earnings, your countable earnings from work are $500 ($1,065 – $65 = $1,000 and $1,000 divided in half is $500).


Here are some key things you need to know:


  • They anticipate no loss of benefits to beneficiaries until after March 1, 2018. 
  • This delay means individuals applying for the first time or individuals who will be receiving redetermination notices will also be reviewed using the previous MSP income guidelines. DSS plans on sending a notice to beneficiaries that there has been a delay in implementation.
  • If you are working with individuals who enrolled into a Medigap policy because they anticipated a loss of QMB benefits, please let them know they should cancel this policy.   By law, they should not be sold a Medigap policy while they still have duplicative coverage of QMB. 
  • Please note that the new MSP income guidelines you have seen are based on the current federal poverty levels (FPL).  The new FPL guidelines are usually posted in February, which will mean the income guidelines for MSP will likely be different effective March 1, 2018.


We will keep you all informed as we get new information in.  As of right now, all coverage remains the same.  We are hopeful that our state representatives will come to a fair decision.


Please let me know if you have any questions.
Roberson Tierney and Associates are here to help every step of the way.


You can also find additional informative material by visiting the State Department of Aging website.



State Department on Aging;

Northwest Community Bank: Listen, Learn, Leave

October 3rd, 2017

Northwest Community Bank: Listen, Learn, Leave on Wed, Oct 18, 2017 is presenting topics on Social Security Planning, Medicare and Retirement Planning. They are offering two different sessions. Seating is limited. Please RSVP by Fri, Oct 13, 2017 by calling Susan Tycienski at Northwest Community Bank at 860-379-7561.

No Contract Signed by Anthem Blue Cross & Hartford Health Care

October 1st, 2017

ATTENTION: Anthem Blue Cross has not signed to renew contract with Hartford Health Care.

We are emailing to let you know that our office is aware of this update and want to ensure you that we are here to help you in any way we can. If you have an Anthem Blue Cross policy either for Medicare or otherwise (and see Hartford Health Care providers), please be aware of this important update and continue to read the e-mail below:

Last month we sent an email letting you know that Anthem Blue Cross was in contract negotiations with Hartford Hospital/ Hartford Health Care. In the past, Anthem has gone beyond the contract negotiation date on two separate occasions and both times they were resolved. We are hopeful that there will be a resolution, but in the meantime our office is here to assist you anyway we can and welcome you to reach out by calling 860-379-6700 ext 403 or 404.

Before we panic, we urge folks to wait until next week to see if there is a compromise in this negotiation process between Anthem and Hartford Hospital/Health Care. At that time, if we still have not heard of a resolution to the contract negotiations, we stand ready to assist you. Our office number is 860-379-6700 ext 403 or 404 and we will have all hands on deck to help in this matter.

Thanks for patience.


Daphne Roberson
President, Roberson Tierney & Associates, LLC

Medicare Annual Open Enrollment: Oct 15 – Dec 7, 2017

September 14th, 2017

If you are a Medicare client of Roberson Tierney, would like to become one, or would like to refer someone that needs help with their Medicare choices, please read this e-mail.

If you are not a client of Roberson Tierney or are referring a client to Roberson Tierney, please have them call the office or attend one of the meetings!!!

Medicare Annual Open Enrollment

October 15th – December 7

It is that time of year again when Medicare Beneficiaries have the option to change their Medicare Advantage Plan or their Part D Prescription Drug plan & Medicare Supplement!!  We are here for you!

As your Insurance Advisor, I am happy to say that I am comfortable with the plans for 2018.  You will be receiving your ANNUAL NOTICE OF CHANGE from your Advantage plan or Part D Prescription Drug plan.  The first few pages of the booklet describe the changes in your plan.  There is a chart comparing your 2017 plan to the changes for 2018 including premium changes if any.

If you are comfortable with the plan changes:

1.     Complete the STAY SLIP & return it in the envelope provided.  We will notify the company that you are going to stay with your current plan for 2018.

If you are not comfortable with your plan or the changes:

2.      Complete the enclosed MEDICARE REVIEW FORM and return it to our office.  We will contact you to set up an appointment to discuss other options. This is important!!!


Daphne will be conducting meetings for United Health and Connecticare in addition to educational events.  Below is the schedule of meetings for United and Connecticare’s Medicare Advantage Plan Marketing Meetings & Medicare Made Clear educational events.  Feel free to join us!

United Health Care Medicare Advantage
Marketing Meeting

 Bristol Senior Center Room 109

October 3 – 10:00 am & 1:00 pm – 2 Sessions
October 6 – 10:00 am
October 10 – 10:00 am & 1:00 pm- 2 Sessions
October 17 – 10:00 am & 1:00 pm – 2 Sessions
October 19 – 10:00 am & 1:00 pm – 2 Sessions
October 24 – 10:00 am & 1:00 pm – 2 Sessions
October 26 – 10:00 am & 1:00 pm – 2 Sessions
October 31 – 10:00 am & 1:00 pm – 2 Sessions
November 3 – 10:00 am
November 7th & 9th – 10:00 am & 1:00 pm – 2 Sessions
November 14th & 21st – 10:00 am & 1:00 pm – 2 Sessions
November 28th – 10:00 am & 1:00 pm – 2 Sessions
December 5th – 10:00 am & 1:00 pm – 2 Sessions



October 12th – 1:00 pm
November 16th – 10:30 am



October 13, 2017 – 9:30 am
October 27, 2017 – 9:30 am



October 18, 2017 @ 10:00 am
November 1, 2017 @ 1:00 pm



OCTOBER 18TH  – 12:30 pm & 6:00 pm
2 Sessions



 SEPTEMBER 27, 2017 @ 4:00 PM

*** Educational Event Disclaimer: “This event is only for educational purposes and no plan-specific benefits or details will be shared.”


Daphne Roberson is licensed and certified to offer:
Medicare Advantage Plans:  Anthem/ Aetna / Connecticare / United Health Care / Wellcare
Prescription Drug Plans:  Silverscript, Envision, Anthem, AARP, Aetna, Symphonix, Humana, First Health, Coventry
Medicare Supplement Plans:  United American, AARP Medicare Supplement, Anthem Medicare Supplement, Cigna Medicare Supplement, Humana


Downloadable Docs:

Anthem Blue Cross Contract Negotiations

September 12th, 2017
Anthem Blue Cross is in contract negotiations with Hartford Hospital / Hartford Health Care.  These contracts are negotiated every two years.  It is required by Medicare that a letter go out to each beneficiary that has an Anthem Contract be notified during these negotiations.  It is in our experience that the contracts usually come to an agreement typically on or close to the last day of negotiations.  
Please do not panic.  We are here for you should the contract terminate.  You can call our office and speak to one of our customer service representatives if you would like to discuss this further. 
Roberson Tierney and Associates
Insurance and Financial Services
Or click here to schedule an appointment

“Observation” Hospitalization with Advantage Plus

August 28th, 2017

Take the Worry out of Observation Stays

Observation Status is a designation used by hospitals to bill Medicare. Unfortunately, it can hurt hospital patients who rely on Medicare for their health care coverage. People who receive care in hospitals, even overnight and for several days, may learn they have not actually been admitted as inpatients.

Federal law requires hospitals to alert Medicare patients after 24 hours of observation care.* Observation coding may leave patients with more out-of-pocket expenses than if they were admitted as inpatient. The good news is there’s a solution to help with this problem.

With Advantage Plus, “Observation” hospitalization stays of 12 hours or more are treated the same way as “Inpatient” stays!**

There are zero reduction of benefits and no Observation day limitation up to the policyholder’s benefit period!


Roberson Tierney and Associates

Call us at 860-379-6700

New Hartford Office – 2 Central Ave Suite 1A
Bristol Office – 210 Redstone Hill Rd

Observational Vs. Admitted: CT Advocates Win Class Status For Suit Challenging Medicare Benefits

August 1st, 2017

On August 1, 2017 the Hartford Courant posted an article a Connecticut advisory group that won a class status suit challenging Medicare benefits. Here is the intro of the article with a link to read more:

Connecticut advocacy group has won class certification for a lawsuit demanding that Medicare beneficiaries be allowed to challenge their patient classification as “observational” rather than “admitted” when hospitalized — a distinction that can cost thousands of additional dollars in hospital, medication and nursing home care.

Recent estimates suggest that as many as 1 million Medicare beneficiaries are hospitalized around the country each year under observational status. Until May, hospitals were under no obligation to notify the patients that they were not admitted and the patients learned only upon being billed for significant medical and post-release nursing care.

Under Medicare rules, beneficiaries are not permitted to challenge their classification.

[Read Full Article Here]


SENIOR SIGNALS: Is trying to make yourself poor for Medicaid ethical?

July 28th, 2017

Medicare, long-term care, and money for retirement are some of the most common topics we at Roberson Tierney and Associates discuss with their clients and often go hand-in-hand. Below is a recent article from Attorney Daniel O. Tully of Kilboume & Tully, P.C. We work closely with Dan Tully and other Elder Law Attorneys to assist you in creating your protection plan. Call us at 860-379-6700 for advice and guidance you can trust!

Published: Sunday 23 July 2011 21256
Click here for PDF article.

Medicaid is a welfare program originally created to provide health care to our nation’s poor. Due to the lack of any other program, Medicaid has by default become the long-term care insurance of the middle class. Some say in order to qualify and preserve their savings, either for their healthy spouse or their children, those needing long-term care artificially impoverish themselves in order to qualify for Medicaid. Is this practice ethical?

Ron Lieber of ttre New York Times, in his article entitled “The Ethics of Adjusting Your Assets to Qualify for Medicaid” noted, “At any given moment, there is a large group of citizens who want nothing more than to make absolutely certain that they are impoverished enough to qualify, for Medicaid, sooner rather than later. Someday, you might be one of them. Whatever twists and tums the health insurance debates in Washington take, Medicaid will be at the center, and the program will probably affect you and your family more than you know. After all, if you run out of money in retirement, it is Medicaid that pays for most of your nursing home or home-based care.”

On the other hand, Randy Cohen, the former ethics columnist for The New York Times Sunday Magazine, wrote that Medicaid planning is ethical if you play within the rules. Speaking to a woman considering divorcing her second husband who has Alzheimer’s disease, he says: “What you are contemplating is not the exploitation of a legal loophole, but adherence to the regulations governing Medicaid. But you should seek legal and financial advice: besides divorce, there are other options to consider, including, for instance, transferring some assets to your children (if you have any) or protecting your assets through annuities or trusts. Done with respect for the law and compassion for your husband, such actions, divorce included, are prudent and ethical courses of action.”

It will be no surprise that I agree v/ith Mr. Cohen and not Mr. Lieber. Unfortunately, neither Congress nor the state legislatures have resolved the public policy question of how we, as a society, should pay for the long-term care of our seniors.

The result is a confusing, makeshift system of Medicare, private insurance, out-of-pocket payments, family caregivers and Medicaid, as a last resort. Medicaid has become recognized as the long-term care insurance of the middle class. Congress implicitly accepts this result through rules that protect spouses of nursing home residents and permit others to quali$r after spending down and  transferring some of their savings. To plan ahead and accelerate qualification for Medicaid is no more unethical than planning to avoid taxes. It’s just different populations doing the planning.

Some argue that Medicaid planning is unfair because Medicaid is a zero-sum game. More money spent on long-term care for middle-class seniors means less for poor children who need medical care. There’s some truth to that argument at the state level, but not at the federal level. The federal and state governments share Medicaid expenses. At the federal level, anyone who qualifies for Medicaid gets covered. At the state level, the same is true, but the states have discretion on how far they expand Medicaid to serve underinsured  populations. Lack of resources could mean narrower coverage on a state-by-state basis.

I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Cohen’s final point: Both major parties must make changes, embracing measures to protect the assets of middle-class seniors and taxing the assets of the rich (including through the estate tax) to provide all Americans with catastrophic medical care.

Attorney Daniel O. Tully is a partner in the law firm of Kilboume & Tully, P.C., members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Inc., with offices at 120 Laurel St., Bristol (860) 583-1341.

Cancer, Heart Attack & Stroke Insurance

July 25th, 2017

It is true that nobody likes or wants to think about illness or death, the truth is that it does happen. If today you were diagnosed of a critical or terminal illness such as cancer, heart or stroke, it would put serious anxiety or stress on yourself as well as your friends and family. Thankfully, with the development and evolution of technology, research, and screening in our world today an ever increasing number of individuals who are determined to have terminal illness do recuperate and go on to live a normal and healthy life. However, this advanced technology does come and a small price, it costs lots of money, surely much more than what your medical insurance would cover. Research has shown that 36% of cancer patients deplete their savings, and 60% of personal bankruptcies in the US are attributed to medical expenses. However, it is in this recuperation time that you would need true peace of mind and financial support in order for you to recover properly. So how do you plan so this unexpected event doesn’t bring you down? Can you afford to be diagnosed with a critical illness?

A lump sum pay-out which GTL’s cancer, heart attack and stroke insurance offers can help you with medical bills or your day to day living expenses while you recover from your illness. This would come in the form of critical illness insurance. GTL’s cancer, heart attack and stroke insurance will pay out a lump sum of money if you are diagnosed with one of the specific critical illnesses outlined in the policy. The sum of money and the term that the policy is taken out is determined at the time of purchasing the policy and if you should suffer from one of the critical illnesses defined on the policy then that sum of money would be paid out.

You may think you don’t need the cover for critical illness now, but it that might come to haunt you later in life and you will then start to have regrets. The main benefit of this insurance for critical illness is that you would be spared from the financial implications associated with being critically ill, and with GTL’s cancer, heart attack and stroke insurance plan you can choose your benefit amount of up to $75, 000, and then you can use the cash benefit for covering medical co-payments and deductibles, replacing lost income, paying for experimental treatment and surgeries and anything else you need. The benefits are paid directly to you.

You should choose GTL’s cancer heart attack and stroke insurance because GTL insurance has more flexibility than most of the plans. There are two plans in which you can choose from. The first is the Lump sum cancer policy which covers cancer only, or you can choose the second which is called Lump sum heart attack and stroke coverage for coverage of heart attacks and stroke, or you can even combine the both, whichever one you feel is right for you. And not only do you get more choices you also get important extras such as the Ask mayo clinic services. This means that if you have any health related question, you can call the help line or go online 24/7 and receive trusted medical guidance. Also included in your policy is an extra 25% benefit payment if you undergo qualifying experimental treatment and if this is not enough, you can choose to boost your benefit by adding a benefit builder to get: to give him additional 25% benefit on late stage cancer and by-pass surgery, and 10% additional benefit on Ngo plastic replacement benefit (TIA) and much more, and you can choose the recurrence benefit.

So, to sum it up, when you take cancer insurance, think GTL. GTL has 80 years’ experience, they pay claims quickly, and they give you friendly and personalized, and professional service when you need it most. Choose GTL to help give you and your family peace of mind so you can focus on your recovery as it matters most. Watch video to learn more.


Roberson Tierney Uses Top Docs

July 10th, 2017

Not sure who to trust for treatment?  If you’ve recently developed new symptoms that can’t be addressed by your GP or need specialized urgent care or surgery, you may not know where to turn for quality help.  How do you find and evaluate doctors when you’re not feeling well and maybe overwhelmed by pain?

Your trusted insurance agent is your partner in many of life’s important moments.  You can find a list of top doctors at Roberson Tierney because we track and monitor each specialty.  We’re happy to help you find the doctor with the skills and bedside manner to get you back to a happy and productive life.  The list below is a great resource that you can keep handy.  We wish you health but realize that illness and injury can happen to anyone, anytime.

Call us at (860) 379-6700 or email if you have any questions.

Allergy & Immunology:

– Jeffrey M Factor., 836 Farmington Ave West Hartford, CT 860-232-9911

-Jeffrey S. Miller 538 Litchfield St., Torrington CT 860-496-1790



-Craig Bonanni, 282- Washington St., Hartford CT  860-545-2117

– Jonathan A Kost, 65 Memorial Rd., West Hartford, CT



-Bruce T Liang, 263 Farmington Ave., Farmington CT 860-679-3343

-Carrie A. Wolfberg, 1215 New Litchfield St., Torrington CT 860-489-1132



-Mary W. Chang, 65 Memorial Road, West Hartford CT 860-523-1087

-Jane M. Grant-Kels, 263 Farmington Ave., Farmington CT 860-679-4891



-Egils K. Bogdanovics, 780 Litchfield St., Torrington CT 860–496-2198

-Pamela Taxel, 263 Farmington Ave., Farmington CT 860-679-7692


Family Medicine:

-Robert A. Cushman, 99 Woodland St., Hartford CT 860-714-4212

-David R Howlett, 13 Church Rd., East Granby CT 860-653-4526

-Bradley Rosenberg, 333 Kennedy Drive, Torrington CT 860-496-4043



-Thomas Feldman, 21 South Road, Farmington CT 860-409-4567

-Jeffry L. Nestler, 85 Seymour St., Hartford 860-246-2571

-Carol A Petruff., 44 Dale Road, Avon CT 860-674-8830


Geriatric Medicine:

-Patrick P Coll, 263 Farmington Ave., Farmington CT 860-679-4548

-Anne M. Kenny, 263 Farmington Ave., Farmington CT 860-679-8400


Internal Medicine:

-Stephen E. Bryant, 52 Peck Road, Torrington CT 860-489-6899

-John D Papanfreas, 41 N Main St., West Hartford 860-313-0448



-Stephen R. Conway, 85 Seymour St., Hartford CT 860-522-4429

-Francis Dimario, 282 Washington St., Hartford CT 860-545-9460



-Paul Kanev, 282 Washington St., Hartford CT 860-545-8373

-Hilary C. Onyiuke, 263 Farmington Ave, Farmington CT 860-679-6600



-Stephanie Bowers, 263 Farmington Ave., Farmington CT 860-523-6421

-Matthew L. Saidel, 20 W.Avon Road, Avon CT 860-673-4670

-Boris J. Sawula, 538 Litchfield St., Torrington CT 860-489-1038



-C. Mitchell Gilbert, 499 Farmington Ave., Farmington CT 860-678-0202

-Christopher J. Kelly, 366 Colt Hwy., Farmington CT 860-409-0449



-Denis C. Lafreniere, 263 Farmington Ave., Farmington CT 860-679-2804

-Todd A. Zachs, 901 Farmington Ave., Farmington CT 860-586-2111



– Karen S. Dettmer, 20 Felicity Lane, Torrington CT 860-489-4144

-Peter J. Jannuzzi, 101 Main St., Unionville CT 860-673-6124



-Bruce S. Rothschild, 114 Woodland St., Hartford CT 860-714-4303

-Dale J. Wallington, 1216 Famington Ave., West Hartford CT 860-313-5380


Pulmonary Medicine:

-Raymond J. Foley, 263 Farmington Ave., Farmington CT 203-679-3585

-Richard Krinsky, 1215 New Litchfield St., Torrington CT 860-496-9669



-Electra Kaloudis, 24 Fernwood Road, West Hartford CT 860-679-2000

-Alex Merkulov, 18 Crown St., Plainville CT 860-679-2784



-Santhanam Lakshminarayanan, 263 Farmington Ave., Farmington CT 860-679-2160

-John A. Magaldi, 538 Litchfield St., Torrington CT 860-496-1790


Surgery: Colorectal:

-Bruce M. Benner, 263 Farmington Ave., Farmington CT 860-679-2626

-David McFadden, 263 Farmington Ave., Farmington CT 860-679-8080


Surgery: General:

-Timothy Gostowski, 538 Litchfield St., Torrington CT 860-489-7017

-Thomas C. Banever, 100 Retreat Ave., Hartford CT 860-249-9189


Surgery: Orthopedic:

-Steven F. Schutzer, 499 Farmington Ave., Farmington CT 860-549-3210

-Kevin Shea, 263 Farmington Ave., Farmington CT 860-679-2000


Surgery: Plastic/Reconstructive:

-Alan Babigian, 399 Farmington Ave., Farmington CT 860-548-7338

-Steven Smith, 399 Farmington Ave., Farmington CT 860–548-7338


Thoracic Surgery:

-Daniel Fusco, 85 Seymour St., Hartford CT 860-696-5520

-John O. Thayer, 1000 Asylum Ave., Hartford CT 860-714-1094



-Carl Gjertson, 19 Woodland St., Hartford CT 860-522-2251

-Erica Lambert, 263 Farmington Ave., Farmington CT 860-679-4100