Medicare Advantage beneficiaries are witnessing renewal letters with higher monthly premium payments, co-pays, and other fees across the country.
The enrollment period is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 which you can utilize to change your existing policy.
“It’s on the consumer to double-check and make sure that it’s the same year to year, because frequently it does change,” said Margaret Murphy, associate director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy.
Majority of seniors continues with the same Medicare plans every year without looking around for any other better deals.
People have to pay for Medicare during the course of their working lives to attain a Medicare when they are 65.
The government is indirectly decreasing the reimbursements it pays to Medicare Advantage insurers.
“Rising health care costs, changes in Medicare regulations, the need to improve health care quality and ongoing Medicare Advantage funding cuts by the federal government all play a role in the benefits and costs of Medicare Advantage plans,” commented UnitedHeathcare.
Chances are there that you will ignore the chance to review your plan and will continue with the same plan. So here is why you should definetely check your annual notices of change, which you might have received by Sept. 30. The document contains information about the adjustments to premiums, co-pays and out-of-pocket costs, and any further updations to provider networks for 2015.
“The drug that they take may no longer be covered… They may have a doctor who they’ve known for years, but that doctor may no longer be in the plan’s network,” Tricia Neuman, director of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Medicare policy program said.
“The plan may raise its out-of-pocket limit so that people could be exposed to higher costs than they had anticipated.”
A recent report by Kaiser Family Foundation reveals that, Medicare beneficiaries had an investment of $4,700 on an average in 2010 including premiums, cost sharing for Medicare-covered benefits and services not covered by Medicare.
The report also shows that about 88 percent beneficiaries who purchased Medicare drug plans called Part D plans, which cover prescriptions, did not amend their prescription drug plans from 2006 to 2010. Premiums in 2015 lies in the range of $16 to $156 a month and average around $57.
Unless separately asked, one is automatically enrolled in The Original Medicare Program, which includes Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). One separate report by the same foundation reveals that average out-of-pocket costs for people in traditional Medicare plans reached $4,734 in 2010, up 44% from $3,293 in 2000.
Medicare Part C, or the Medicare Advantage Plan involves a private insurance company managing the insured’s benefits.
The Part D plans are more in demand as the original Medicare doesn’t cover most medications.
Around 129,000 choose Medigap plans that helps to pay for the additional expenses but it is not concerned with long-term care, eyeglasses, dental care and other health expenses. Medigap’s open-enrollment period occurs for six months only when the month begun when a senior turns 65.
For 2015 there are 31 prescription drug plans in the list.
Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, one of the state’s largest providers, will be seen decreasing the premiums in urban areas but it will hike them in rural areas (in five counties).
“Segmenting the market geographically helps us strike a balance between preserving benefits people value and sharing the cost of those benefits among our members,” said Regence spokesman Jared Ishkanian.
Stressing on the importance of Affordable Care Act Ashley Swanson, a professor of health-care management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania said that, “The one that insurers probably pay the most attention to is the decrease in the Medicare Advantage reimbursement.”
“We end up paying Medicare Advantage quite a bit more than we pay traditional Medicare” for similar patients, Swanson says. “There are some changes that are supposed to bring this more in line.”
The Affordable Care Act puts consumers back in charge of their health care.
“Many people, when the Affordable Care Act was being debated, were speculating that plans in a lot of areas may drastically reduce offerings or benefits,” Gretchen Jacobson, associate director for Medicare program policy at The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, said. “Thus far we have not seen that. Instead we’ve seen enrollment continue to tick up.
“You want to be aware so you don’t find yourself in a situation where you switch plans and suddenly find you aren’t able to fill a prescription at the start of the year,” said Neuman.