Over the last few years, more and more people have been wondering whether Medicare will be there for them.
Any disruption in Medicare would prove disastrous for millions of people all across the United States. Some of those who stand to be affected most are our neighbors right here in DeLand, Florida. Volusia County, Orange County, Highlands County, and other Central Florida counties all have high numbers of Medicare recipients.
So, what are the facts? While many may be comforting, it’s still a good idea to be prepared for the future.
Medicare Is One Of The Most Popular Government Programs In the United States
Medicare consistently ranks among the most beloved government programs in the United States.
In 2015, which marked the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, strong majorities of Americans were in favor of either maintaining Medicare benefits at their then-current levels or expanding them in the future.
Most people view Medicaid and Medicare as “Very Important,” about 77%. The only program that can boast a similar level of acclaim is Social Security, which is lauded as “Very Important” by 83% of respondents. Even federal aid to public schools does not achieve such ringing levels of support, backed by 75% of respondents!
At that time, an astonishing six out of ten respondents said Medicare was working well.
What’s the secret that has made Medicare and Medicaid such significant parts of American life?
One reason is that these programs touch the lives of so many. As Americans grow, study, and embark on a career, most of them will be surrounded by elders who use Medicare, Medicaid, or both, long before they themselves become eligible. This makes an impression that crosses generational lines.
In the Kaiser Family Foundation survey referenced above, 76% of respondents cited Medicare as important to them and their families. This level of personal significance cuts across political divides: Even many people who are not in favor of large government programs say that Medicare makes a difference for them or their loved ones.
Along With Social Security, Medicare Helps Americans Enjoy Quality Of Life In Retirement
Unlike Social Security benefits, Medicare benefits are not free. Yet, the two programs together act as a powerful way for retired people, who may have no other source of income, to meet their expenses and live with dignity.
Medicare Part A is free for many people as long as you do not sign up for it early or late. Medicare Part A covers inpatient care in a hospital, skilled nursing care, some home health care, nursing home care, and hospice care.
Medicare Part B covers medically necessary services to diagnose or treat illness. It also covers some forms of preventive care, such as annual flu shots, that protect against illnesses that might be very severe for elders.
Medicare and Social Security are separate programs, but they are often considered together. Social Security is a monthly benefit that retired workers can collect based on their history of work and the amount they made in compensation in the recent past. Most people become eligible for these programs around the same time:
- Age 62 or older for Social Security
- Age 65 or older for Medicaid
Medicaid reduces the expenses associated with an elder’s medical needs, while Social Security provides them with income that can help them meet those needs. It is no surprise that many people are concerned about the future of these programs and whether they will be available in decades to come.
Parts Of Medicare Have Already Changed Significantly Over The Last Few Years
Medicare changes on a regular basis in an effort to save money while maintaining or expanding the benefits that coverage offers. For example, Medigap Plan F, which formerly covered Medicare’s Part B deductible, was finally discontinued in 2020. Other programs have come and gone over the years, too.
While such changes are usually cost-saving measures, they do not mean Medicare is in danger.
However, there are some warning signs on the horizon for Medicare as it stands.
In 2017, the Kaiser Family Foundation found there were significant improvements in the overall financial picture for Medicare since 2010 when the Affordable Care Act was passed. However, there are still some long-term financial pressures that could put parts of the program in doubt.
Medicare is not “bankrupt” or “going broke.” The true picture is a little more complicated:
1. Medicare Spending Is Growing As Americans Age
Between 2010 and 2050, the population aged 65 or older will double. At the same time, the number of people aged 80 and older is expected to nearly triple. These demographic changes have a big effect on Medicare. In fact, Medicare spending is expected to continue to increase, from 15% to 18% of the federal budget, by 2027.
2. Medicare Spending Might Increase If The ACA Is Repealed
The Affordable Care Act has now been the law of the land for longer than ten years. Up until recently, few things have animated more political energy than the attempts to get rid of it. If ACA’s Medicare provisions were repealed, it would result in an estimated $802 billion in Medicare spending over the subsequent decade.
3. Spending On Prescription Drug Coverage Is Growing Fast
Prescription drug prices have been on a rocket ride for years, and that includes drugs covered under Medicare Part D. Research shows that many Medicare Part D drugs are increasing in price well above the rate of inflation. This leads to both more covered Medicare spending and more financial pain from out-of-pocket costs.
18% of Americans Use Medicare – If You’ll Be One Of Them, Read This Now
We all hope that Medicare will continue to provide robust benefits for many years to come. But if you are a current Medicare recipient or someone who will become eligible for Medicare over the next ten years, it is important to know all of your different health insurance options.
Just like Social Security, Medicare benefits age or available benefits could change over time.
Every year, choosing the wrong health insurance – including things like Medicare supplemental insurance programs – has a significant impact on the finances, health outcomes, and overall well-being of DeLand locals.
Before you make a decision about Medicare, it’s crucial to talk to an expert who has the facts.
Choice Health Insurance Brokers is here to help. A health insurance broker is an independent professional whose goal is not to sell a policy but to find the best health insurance options. At Choice, we are not bound by any sales quota. We give you accurate advice based on what truly works for you.
Medicare can be surprisingly complicated. Even if you were satisfied with your Medicare coverage in the past, annual changes can affect your benefits. Your local health insurance brokers at Choice are here to help you make sense of it all. We have supported thousands of DeLand residents in their quest for better insurance.
To learn more, contact us today.