MEDICARE CHANGES IN 2017
Medicare is a national health insurance program for United State residents 65 years of age and older. Other Medicare enrollees include disabled individuals and those with certain terminal diagnoses. With a new president entering office in 2017, there will be changes to many government programs including Medicare. Continue reading to find out about how proposed changes will affect Medicare enrollees.
Changes to Medicare Part A
Medicare Part A coverage is available to purchase or free of charge for eligible candidates. U.S. residents who meet the eligibility requirements to receive premium-free Part A insurance include those who are 65 years of age and older and receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits. Seniors who were once Medicare-covered government employees are also eligible for premium-free Medicare. Residents younger than 65 years of age are only eligible they ever received Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for 24 months, or have a diagnosis of End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Premium-free Medicare enrollees will not see any changes in 2017.
Residents who wish to purchase Medicare Part A may apply for coverage and pay the monthly premiums and annual deductible. Medicare enrollees who are ineligible for premium-free will see a slight increase in health insurance costs including a $28 raise in the deductible from $1,288 to $1,316. Part A hospital insurance completely covers the first 60 days of a hospital stay after the deductible before requiring a coinsurance. Coinsurance for hospital stays between 60 and 90 days will increase from $322 to $329 per day, while the daily coinsurance after 90 days will increase from $644 to $658.
Changes to Medicare Part B
Medicare Part B partially covers the costs for medically necessary health care services and supplies, often not covered by Part A. The costs for this medical insurance consist of an annual deductible, monthly premiums and 20 percent coinsurance, typically. Each Part B insurance expense is dependent on the enrollee’s tax return or income. Premiums will increase approximately 10 percent in 2017, with the minimum amount rising from about $121 to $134 and the maximum amount rising from approximately $390 to $429 per month. The deductible will also increase from $166 to between $183 and $204 annually.
However, it is important to understand that these premium and deductible increases may only affect 30 percent of Medicare enrollees. For the 70 percent of enrollees who also collect Social Security benefits, Part B cost will not increase as part of the “held harmless” rule, which states that benefit checks cannot be less from one year to the next. Since Medicare deducts payments for premiums directly from enrollees’ Social Security benefits, the government secures the amount unless there is an increase in the Social Security benefit.
Changes to Part D
Medicare Part A and B enrollees are eligible for prescription drug coverage. Although Part D is a culmination of several plan options that vary in price and coverage, the federal government has a financial cap. Most Part D premiums will increase from $34 to $40 for individuals who earn less than 85,000 annual and couples with collective earnings less than 170,000. Enrollees with high incomes who pay the maximum monthly premium will see an increase from $360 to $400.
Changes to Health Care Services
In addition to changes to prescription premiums, Part D enrollees will discover there will be fewer place choices in 2017. An estimated 16 percent of plans will be cut from the program, reducing the number of available plans to as few as when the program with established in 2006. Along with premiums and deductibles, Medicare will be increasing the therapy cap for outpatient therapies. Medicare will pay up to $1,980 for occupational, physical and speech-language pathology therapeutic services.