Having a hard time understanding the budget debate about Medicare? Scare tactics aside, there are more Medicare options today than ever before and it’s important to make the right decision about your or your loved one’s medical care benefits.
So how do you know where to start? “I tell my patients to bring in their current Medicare benefit plan so we can discuss what options they may have for the coming benefit year,” said Dr. Jae Choi of CareMore Health System, a highly regarded
Medicare Advantage program that serves seniors and other Medicare eligible consumers in the Las Vegas area. “There is an overabundance of information available to the public about Medicare options so you should sift through what’s important for you to know related to changes to your plan for the coming year. Whether with your current provider or another trusted resource.”
For 2015, there are some changes to the Medicare benefit program, including improvements resulting from healthcare reform.
IS THIS STILL ACCURATE? Healthcare reform changes effective last year may reduce the price of drugs for seniors with big drug bills who fall into the “donut hole” gap. Once drug expenses hit $2,970 insurance coverage ceases until a person’s out-of-pocket expenses reach $4,750.
The healthcare reform law has been reducing the cost of drugs inside the doughnut hole. This year, consumers must pay 52.5 percent of the cost of branded drugs and 79 percent of the cost of generic drugs.
These percentages will decline in future years under the law. Because medication costs continue to rise, it’s important to compare your current Medicare benefits with those of other plans, especially Medicare Advantage Plans that offer additional benefits above those of traditional Medicare plans. You could potentially save a lot of money in out of pocket costs.
“The best advice I can give my patients is to do a comprehensive needs assessment about their current health status and needs,” added Dr. Choi. “I take the time to talk to my older patients and their family members to discuss the type of medications, tests and other medical services that may be necessary for the patient next year. Once we get a handle on that, the patient can make an informed decision about what health plan options best suits their needs. The good news is that with many health plan options available, seniors can find one that perfectly suits their needs.”