Obamacare Handicaps Medicare
A limited income combined with the inability to work doesn’t leave Regina, who suffers from a medical condition, much room in her budget for additional costs. Understandably, she panicked when her premium doubled.
“I am on disability, and I receive social security monthly. I was notified by Blue Cross, which is my Medicare supplement, that my premium has gone from $34.00 a month to a whopping $68.00 monthly. I can’t afford this. The doctor’s visits have gone up and the prescriptions have also,” explained the Kentucky resident.
Wondering how she was going to pay her bills and keep up her healthcare, Regina was on a mission to find a more feasible option for her very slim budget. She turned to the Association for Mature American Citizens, a conservative senior advocacy group that provides consumer benefits, for help.
“They told me Humana might be the people to call,” stated Regina.
Thankfully, she was able to find a policy through Humana that offered similar benefits at a much better deal. “It’s the beginning of the year, but so far, it seems affordable unless there are changes to it that I don’t know about yet.”
Able to overcome that challenge, Regina still faces another financial hurdle as there is uncertainty about her C-PAP machine for her sleep apnea.
“The Humana representative said I would have to check with the sleep place to find out if my C-PAP machine was still going to be covered, if I need to buy it or what. I haven’t verified that yet,” she explained. “Along with the medical equipment comes the medical equipment products that go along with it like filters, hose and mask. Those things wear out. They [old insurer] did replace them for me, but I don’t know if that is going to happen anymore.”
For some, they may be able to absorb the cost, but for Regina, any increase is worrisome.
Over the last year, Medicare Advantage plans have taken a hit due the steep financial cuts. As Forbes pointed out, 2015 may be no different.
“The Medicare program recently told the private plans that, since per capita costs are trending lower than prior estimates, the feds are now assuming that Medicare Advantage will take another cut in 2015, on top of existing reductions.
This means that in 2015, the rates that the feds pay these plans is slated to go from an earlier 1.7 percent increase to a new, -2.0 percent decrease. This is on top of other cuts that have already been announced or implemented. Combined with these other cuts mandated by Obamacare, the Medicare Advantage plans are looking at significant reductions when they had been expecting small increases.”
For seniors like Regina, the fate of their plans hangs in the balance once again as it seems another round of cuts is forecasted. Forbes further noted.
“The Obama team has made a warm embrace of managed care options when it comes to Obamacare and Medicaid. But for Medicare, they want to deny low-income seniors these options. All of the administration’s old arguments on why they resisted these private Medicare plans have been largely mooted, or never materialized. Only one possible reason remains prominent. It’s a Bush era program that sought to privatize aspects of this public program. And it will continue to be opposed largely on those grounds.”
Disgusted by all that has transpired due to Obamacare, Regina said, “We didn’t want it. We still don’t want it. Now, we have to repeal it or suffer the consequences.”