Health insurance can be a concern throughout a person’s entire life, but Medicare helps to ease that anxiety once retirement age comes around.
However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any concerns about Medicare itself. Primarily, this consists of which programs to choose. As a senior citizen, healthcare coverage can be quite complicated, as the system is based upon a number of different forms of insurance, some of which are public, and others that are private. One person may require up to four different insurance programs; each of which needs to be managed.
These days, it is becoming increasingly challenging as budgets shrink and belts are tightened. Workers are finding it more challenging to find employment that offers retirement benefits, and some employers are offering entirely new forms of coverage.
Medicare Advantage, a privately run program, is now facing greater limitations following the recent healthcare overhaul. Moreover, Medigap plans, the supplemental coverages, could also be facing changes in the near future. That said, the prescription drug benefit for Medicare has been improved, though it remains as confusing as ever with “donut holes” in coverage, various types of deductibles, and co-insurance.
The current open enrollment is a good time to have a good look at the various options available through Medicare. Have a look at each type of coverage and the changes that it will be undergoing.
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Traditional Medicare includes the Part A and Part B programs. The first is for hospital expenses, while the latter is for doctor and service coverage. Part B includes a premium that is $96 for the majority of current beneficiaries and $115 for new beneficiaries. That said, there are holes such as the lack of prescription coverage and the 20 percent deductible for doctors’ fees. Many traditional Medicare beneficiaries therefore opt for supplemental coverage. Changes to expect include increases in premiums in the near future.
Medicare Advantage is also known as Part C, which is a private pan system that can be selected instead of Parts A and B. It includes a number of additional types of coverage, such as dental and vision, and the majority also cover prescriptions. Doctor and hospital fees are also covered. There is an annual cap for out-of pocket expenses, which is $6,700. Typically, the premiums are the same as Part B, though there are some with higher premiums and lower co-payments and deductibles.
It should be noted that one of the changes to this program will likely be a reduction in the amount of coverage as a result of a decision made by Congress last year. Though this has yet to happen, it is expected in the near future, especially as further subsidy cuts are expected very soon.
This article will continue in Part 2.