Seniors may soon pay more for medical expenses

Medigap PoliciesSenior citizens may be facing a number of new out-of-pocket expenses for healthcare as Congress struggles with debt limit talks and is debating alterations to the supplemental plans for Medicare.

The federal health program, Medicare, is meant to support the elderly and disables, though they are responsible for the payment of certain test costs, hospital deductibles, and visits to the doctor. In order to assist themselves with these additional out-of-pocket expenses, many Medicare beneficiaries purchase Medigap plans. Among the beneficiaries, 34 percent receive their Medigap coverage from their former employers.

However, some experts on healthcare policies are stating that coverage for “first-dollar protection” are responsible for increasing the Medicare service demand. When it comes to additional unnecessary care, this can be very costly to the government.

Therefore, it has been proposed that supplemental insurance not be permitted to entirely eliminate the costs that are paid out-of-pocket by seniors. A second proposal has suggested that beneficiaries of the supplemental plans be charged an additional $530 every year in order to maintain their coverage.

According to supporting materials used by Vice President Joe Biden during the bipartisan talks in Congress, those changes could save up to $53 billion over a period of ten years.

Though none of these proposed ideas are actually new, they have taken on a much more urgent position as a result of the debt challenges that are currently being faced by the government. In the last few years alone, many different groups and senators have been suggesting alterations to the way that Medicare functions.

The majority of the ideas so far have focused on trying to create one yearly deductible of approximately $550, which would then make Medicare beneficiaries responsible for up to 20 percent of their healthcare costs, up to a maximum yearly amount.

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