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Medicare Blog | Medicare News | Medicare Information

Aging, High Health Care Costs Important to Address Now

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Oct 08, 2010 @ 09:34 AM

Medicare SupplementsWith the number of people aging and the continual rise in health care costs, our Nation's health-care obligations are becoming increasingly harder to meet. Federal Reserve Chairmen Ben Bernanke projects that Medicare and Medicaid needs will double our national income within the next twenty-five years. Social Security, too, will be strained as less people enter the work force than those ready to receive their benefits. Bernanke calls US public finances an "unsustainable path" but understands cutting spending on Medicare and Social Security would be very unpopular with the American public. He offers no new ideas on reducing spending, leaving those decisions to elected officials. However, he warns that underestimating these challenges would be detrimental to our economic future.

Woodmen of the World Plan N Released in Select States

On Wednesday, Woodmen of the World/Assured Life Plan N was released in Iowa, Arkansas, Alabama, Washington, Utah, Montana, Idaho, West Virginia, Texas, and Oklahoma. Also released was the news of expansions to California, Colorado, Mississippi, and Tennessee. With benefits like excellent commissions, 12 month advancement, competitive premiums, and liberal underwriting - don't miss the opportunity to add this excellent product to your senior portfolio. Click Here for more information.

Cost-Effective Medicare Reimbursement Rates

With the constant need to control the growth of Medicare spending, two policy experts have proposed that new treatments should be studied and then given a monetary value based on whether they are superior, comparable, or inferior to treatments already available. Currently, the national health reform law has created the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to advise and set guidelines for federal agencies on effective research and on funding research. The PCORI panel consists of a majority of physicians who study new treatments and give ratings, but cannot make decisions based on cost. The policy experts suggest rewarding treatments with the highest outcomes with the most funding and then reevaluating the treatment after three years for continued funding. They believe that limiting spending to three years will not only force manufacturers and clinicians to continue research on the treatments but to prioritize products that will have the most effect and positive outcome.

Seniors face Medicare Advantage Plans Eliminated and Automatically Enrolled

Representative Republicans Dave Camp (MI) and Wally Herger (CA) are calling into question the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid's (CMS) decision to eliminate some Medicare Advantage drug plans, which will affect approximately 3 million seniors and automatically enroll 1.5 million of those seniors into a new plan, costing 15% more in premiums alone. In a letter to the Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the Republicans questioned the decision to terminate another plan which has nearly one-half million beneficiaries enrolled, raise 600,000 premiums by 45%, increase monthly premiums in the top 10 Part D plans by 10% next year, and eliminate prescription drug plans. They also requested that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid provide all of the analysis used to determine the impact on their decisions, so Congress can protect seniors from these decisions in the future.

More News for Medicare Advantage Plan Cuts

President Barack Obama's famous quote, "If you like your health plan, you can keep it" is coming under scrutiny after news of drastic Medicare Advantage plan cuts, from 14.8 million to 7.4 million by 2017; with approximately 70% of the cuts in this plan hitting low-income seniors and the disabled. Those who remain in Medicare Advantage afterwards will receive less generous benefits. Medicare Advantage benchmarks under the new formula will be determined by a fixed percentage based on the average fee-for-service (FFS) spending in each county; and, lower percentages will be applied to the counties with a higher FFS spending. A study shows that nearly every single county will have lower benchmarks, forcing beneficiaries to face cuts and some plans will pull out of the market completely.

Sources: Human Events, Right Side News, KHN, MedPage, The Wall Street Journal Health Blog, The Fiscal Times, American Medical News, Dow Jones Newswire, The Associated Press

Tags: Medicare Advantage, Medicare, Medicare News, Senior News, health care reform, Social Security, Medicare Solutions

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