For America’s senior citizens that depend on Medicare for their medical insurance, the prospect of federal spending cuts can pose a threat to their financial stability. In this article, Medicare-Subsidy.com explores options for providing a hedge against Medicare prescription drug cost increases resulting from budget cuts.
With the passage of H.R.1868, it appears Medicare will be exempt from across-the-board direct spending cuts triggered by President Biden’s pandemic aid package. Without this legislation, passed on April 14, 2021, Medicare spending would have been reduced by billions of dollars.
While there seems to be no appetite among lawmakers for drastic Medicare cuts at this time, the current level of federal Medicare spending is by no means guaranteed. Below are some of the options that Medicare recipients can consider to protect themselves against potential cuts in future Medicare spending, resulting in higher costs for prescriptions.
Part D Plans – Prescription Drug Coverage
Original Medicare does not cover most prescription medications. In 2003 then-President George W. Bush passed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act (MMA). This important legislation created Medicare Part D — an optional addition to Medicare that provides prescription drug coverage.
Seniors that purchase Original Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance) directly from the federal government can opt to purchase a separate Part D (prescription insurance) from a private insurance company.
While private insurance companies administer part D Medicare plans, the federal government sets guidelines on the medications that must be covered and how much they can charge. Because private companies provide part D Medicare plans, these plans benefit from free-market competition, which results in the best possible price for consumers.
Free-market competition provides a level of protection against federal spending cuts. To stay competitive, private companies may absorb some cost increases caused by a reduction in federal spending.
Part C Plans – Medicare Advantage
Part C Plans, called Medicare Advantage plans, normally include Part D coverage. Medicare Advantage plans are purchased from private companies on the free market, so they also provide a hedge against budget shortfalls.
Each person’s circumstances are different, but in many cases, Medicare Advantage plans cost less than purchasing Part A and Part B from the government and then adding Part D from a private company. They also come with the convenience of having each part of your insurance from the same company.
Medicare Savings Programs
In some cases, seniors can get help from their state to pay for a portion of their Medicare premiums. Under certain income limits, qualification for one of these Medicare Savings Programs (MSP) automatically includes qualification to get Extra Help paying for medical drug coverage:
- Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB)
- Specified Low-income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB)
- Qualifying Individual (QI) Medicare Savings Programs (MSP)
Medicare Savings Programs are administered through each state’s Medicaid office. Each state has different qualifications, so check with your state’s Medicaid program. Or contact us for a consultation.
Medicare-Subsidy.com is a company that provides resources related to Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and Prescription Drug plans. The company works to help people 65 and older with low or fixed income save thousands annually from premiums, deductibles, and copayments. Medicare Subsidy makes the process of qualifying for benefits seamless and straightforward for their clients.