How Proposed Medicare Changes Could Affect You
Written by By Brian Hickey
You’ve probably heard about President Barack Obama’s proposed changes to the Medicare program in his fiscal year 2016 budget. But how could they impact you? First, it’s important to note that they are proposed changes and that, if enacted, they would not take effect until 2019 or later. Secondly, many would have little to no effect in the way you receive your health care. There are, however, a few important points — both positive and negative.
- The Part D coverage gap, also called “the doughnut hole,” would close for brand name drugs by 2017 instead of 2020. Because the current doughnut hole means you pay most of the cost of your drugs, eliminating it three years sooner could mean three years of savings to you.
- Four-star, quality-rated plans would have more of their costs subsidized by Medicare. This should act as an incentive for insurance companies to provide quality care, resulting in improved customer service for beneficiaries like you.
- The 190-day lifetime limit on inpatient psychiatric facility services would be eliminated, further reducing barriers to beneficiaries needing mental health care.
- Coverage for short-term scheduled dialysis would expand for people with acute kidney injury.
- The thresholds determining how much you pay in Part B premiums could change. Most of you are paying the standard Part B premium based on your income. However, if your income is more than $85,000 or $170,000 when combined with your spouse’s income, you are currently paying a higher Part B premium. These thresholds are scheduled to decrease in 2020, with a probability that a higher percentage of you could be paying more because of your income.
- New Medicare beneficiaries buying generous private insurance to supplement Medicare — Plan F, for example — would pay a surcharge of about 15% of the average Medicare Supplement premium.
- The Part B deductible would increase starting in 2019. Right now, it’s $147 per year. The proposed change would increase this cost $25 per year in 2019, 2021 and 2023, making the Part B deductible $222 in 2023. Depending on the plan you have now, this deductible is either covered by the plan or is required to be paid by you.
Remember, these are just proposals at this point. If you have any questions about your current Medicare plan, don’t hesitate to give Medicare MarketPlace a call at 1-800-639-0781.