Medicare Weekly Roundup – August 2nd.
As the end of summer approaches we are getting more information regarding what Medicare will cost in 2014. There is good news on the prescription drug plan front as the Part D deductible will decrease from $325 in 2013 to $310 in 2014. While most people do not purchase drug plans with a deductible, it is worth noting people who purchase the two options with the lowest monthly premium, the Humana Walmart plan and the AARP Saver plan, will benefit by having a lower deductible.
While information regarding premiums for specific plans has not been released the Center for Medicare Services did say the average monthly premium will increase slightly from $30 per month in 2013 to $31 in 2014. We believe this will have a minimal effect on seniors as there will still be low cost options available. You can read more about Medicare Part D in 2014 HERE.
Fewer doctors accepting Medicare:
The amount of doctors opting out of the Medicare program has tripled since 2009. This sounds alarming at first, but in reality most Medicare beneficiaries shouldn’t be worried. 9,539 doctors opted out of the Medicare program in 2012, up from about 3,700 in 2009. However there are still 685,000 doctors participating in the program, which means nobody should have any trouble getting quality care.
There is an alarming trend, however, of doctors not accepting new Medicare patients, or only accepting a limited number of new Medicare patients. Over one third of primary care physicians stated they will no longer be accepting new Medicare patients. Short term, there should still be plenty of doctors one can visit. Long term, this could be problematic. We all must remember doctors are trying to make money, and as long as Medicare is paying them fairly they will continue to accept patients. Our view is this: if Medicare identified an issue where doctors were opting out of the program in droves, they would increase reimbursement rates and the problem would be solved. Read more HERE.