The biggest risk to your retirement plans are Congress’ changes to Medicare that shift more costs to you
BY DOUG DICKERSON: Few eyes are on Medicare, the healthcare plan that workers have paid into straight from their paychecks for almost 53 years. Workers know that if there’s one thing that’s certain, is that healthcare is guaranteed if a person, regardless of their condition, can live to at least age 65. Now, while the country’s attention is distracted with the President’s political troubles, conservative Congressional leaders are moving towards implementing a plan to drastically change Medicare and limit the federal government’s coverage for older adults. (read more)
BY BETH DUFF-BROWN: In an effort to lower healthcare costs, Congress established the ESRD Prospective Payment System in 2008, as part of the Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act. It mandated that Medicare patients treat themselves at home if able, and it introduced two incentives to increase home dialysis use: bundling injectable medications into a single payment for treatment, and paying for training for patients to give themselves injections and treatment at home.
Now, a study from Stanford researchers shows that home dialysis treatment among Medicare patients increased by 5.8 percent from January 2006 through August 2013. The researchers also found that non-Medicare patients covered by other forms of health insurance also turned to home dialysis by a jump of 4.1 percent. (read more)
BY CHRISTINA MITTINA: As Medicare has no limit capping out-of-pocket costs and supplemental coverage can be expensive, many beneficiaries are spending significant portions of their income out-of-pocket on medical care or premiums, according to a recent report published by the Commonwealth Fund.
According to the report, Medicare’s significant cost sharing requirements and lack of cap on out-of-pocket costs has prompted some to purchase Medigap supplemental coverage. These plans, however, can be costly, as premiums exceed $200 per month in some markets. There are some policies aimed at low-income individuals with scarce assets, like Medicare Savings Programs or Medicaid, but these can still expose enrollees to out-of-pocket spending if, for instance, they need services that Medicare does not cover. (read more)
The new Medicare Plus Card saves you up to 75% on things not covered by Medicare
Medicare doesn’t cover everything. Luckily, those on Medicare can now start saving on out of pocket expenses like prescription drugs, dental, vision, hearing, and more. Over 1 million people have already received their free Medicare Plus Card.