The Problems Facing Medicare The Senior Population And Medicare PlansIn the wake of the 2012 presidential election, it has become clear that Medicare will be one of the most important items that Congress must tackle in the coming years. Regardless of who emerged victorious, sorting out the problems with Medicare and bringing the entire health care system into line with the Affordable Care Act is going to be a huge task for the President's administrate.
The challenge ultimately affects everyone, making it something on which almost everyone has an opinion. Current Medicare beneficiaries are worried about losing benefits they have grown used to. Baby Boomers, who are turning 65 by the thousands every day, want to ensure that they will receive benefits from a system they have paid into all their working lives. Lastly, the younger generation is facing the responsibility of helping to fund the costs of original Medicare, Medicare plans such as Part C, and also the new healthcare system.
Event today, Medicare doesn't cover all the costs that a person is responsible for when seeking medical treatment. Many people turn to private Medicare supplement plans for additional coverage.
Medicare supplement plans provide benefits to people above the age of sixty-five as well as to younger people with disabilities or certain health conditions. Supplements are a critical factor in maintaining comprehensive coverage. All too often, people entering retirement are surprised at the total cost of insurance, which includes paying for Part B and Part D, as well as their monthly Medicare supplement rates. Sometimes people expect that they will be fully covered by just Medicare when they retire, and this is simply not the case. Medicare pays for only a portion of one's medical expenses.
Provided that you paid Social Security while you were working, you are entitled to receive the benefits of Medicare Part A at age 65 because during your working years, you already contributed to the program by paying taxes. However, even though there may be no premium for Part A, you are still responsible for cost-sharing in the form of deductibles and coinsurance for certain days in the hospital. You also must pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part B unless you qualify for help from Medicaid.
One of the big problems that Medicare faces is that popular Medicare supplement plans offer comprehensive and often first-dollar coverage. Some politicians fear that this makes Medicare beneficiaries use their Medicare benefits more often and without thinking twice about it, because they have no out of pocket costs beyond their Medicare supplement plan premiums. If beneficiaries over-utilize their health benefits, this could lead to a serious shortage in doctors in just a few years, because we may not have enough physicians entering the workforce to serve this growing population of seniors.
Medicare plans like the Part C Medicare Advantage program were initially created to help reduce overall costs and get insurance companies involved in managing risk and loss ratios. However, these Medicare plans are now slated for funding cuts under the Affordable Care Act, which could leave tens of millions of people looking for a new plan if some Medicare plans fold.
The most serious problem facing Medicare is that is fast running out of funding and currently has an enormous projected deficit of almost $29 trillion. Without serious intervention by Congress, Medicare will bankrupt itself in less than a decade.
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