Medicare’s Future

Several items that everybody seems to be overlooking in the recent budget deal signed by President Trump are potentially-significant changes to how Medicare is administered. First on the list is the elimination of Medicare’s independent payment advisory board, authorized under the Affordable Care Act to serve as a check on higher Medicare expenses, labeled by some as a “death panel.”

Beyond that, there were changes to prescription drug coverage under Medicare’s Part D plans, which cover 42 million seniors. The so-called “donut hole,” the point where overall expenses are high enough that the patient suddenly starts paying for drugs out-of-pocket, but not (yet) above the threshold where more generous catastrophic coverage kicks in, was supposed to end in the year 2020. In that year, consumers would pay no more than 25% of the costs of their drugs, less in many cases. The budget deal will close the donut hole in 2019 instead.

In addition, people who require long-term outpatient therapy have had to deal with expense caps—but the budget deal removes them.

How will the government pay for these benefits? The new budget requires individuals earning more than $500,000 a year, or joint filers earning more than $750,000, to pay 85% of the actual costs of their Part B and D plans in 2019, up from 80% this year. (Most Medicare enrollees pay premiums that equal about 25% of these costs.)

Contributed by Bob Veres

Sources:

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/economy/making-sense/president-trump-signed-these-medicare-changes-into-law-heres-what-to-watch-for
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/who-wins-and-who-loses-in-trumps-proposed-medicare-drug-plan

About Objectively Speaking

Tom Batterman, founder of Vigil Trust & Financial Advocacy and Financial Fiduciaries, LLC is in the business of representing the best financial interests of his clients. Having provided objective, fee-only financial management services for over two decades, he specializes in managing the investment and related financial affairs of individuals and mutual insurance companies who do not have the time, interest or expertise to manage such matters on their own. As an objective, unbiased professional who takes on a fiduciary responsibility to his clients, he guides clients to the financial decisions they would make themselves if they had years of training and experience and the time and expertise to fully research and understand all of their options. Founded in 2010 as an outgrowth of Vigil Trust & Financial Advocacy, Financial Fiduciaries, LLC is a financial management solution for individuals and mutual insurance companies who recognize they do not have the time, interest or expertise to properly attend to their financial matters on their own. While there are many financial “advisors”, most of them have investment products to sell and the “advice” they provide is geared toward getting their clients to engage in a purchase. As one of the rare subset of advisors known as “fiduciary advisors”, Financial Fiduciaries does not sell any investment product so its guidance is not compromised by conflicts of interest which plague ordinary advisors. Prior to his employment in the financial industry in financial advocacy and trust positions, he worked at a private law practice in the Wausau area in the areas of estate planning, tax, retirement planning, corporate organizations and real estate. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the UW-Madison Law School and has during his career held Series 7, 24 and 65 securities licenses. A longtime resident of the Wausau, Wisconsin Area, Tom is active in the community. He enjoys golf, curling, skiing, fishing, traveling and spending time with his family.
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