Saturday, October 29, 2005

New Medicare Plan Wasn't Created to Help You!

Newsday's Saul Friedman puts us straight.

the new law was more a gift to the insurance and drug industries than it was a benefit for Medicare enrollees, because most of the estimated $720 billion spent under the new law will go to those industries.

Furthermore, the law undermines Medicare as a government health program by requiring enrollees to buy private insurance in which Medicare plays no role. And for the first time, the Medicare principle of universality was lost when a means test was instituted for low-income beneficiaries.


Next year, beneficiaries will be locked into their choice. But the insurers can change the drugs they offer or require that you use doctors, hospitals and labs in their network. And, like HMOs of the past few years, they can raise premiums, cut benefits or get out of the business if they decide they're not making enough profit, leaving beneficiaries scratching for coverage. Medicare will be powerless to take action against an offending company.

There are 46 different plans offered in New York alone. The Medicare Web site, which is supposed to calculate your savings under each plan, bases its figures on monthly premiums as low as $4.10 in New York.

But most premiums are considerably higher. The yearly deductible is $250, and there is a huge gap in coverage (the "doughnut hole"), during which most people will be stuck with 100 percent of their drug bills. And while original Medicare is valid nationwide, Part D plans may not be. No wonder there is confusion over a profusion of choices and a fragmented system.

...what sort of system requires a very old, very sick person who has depended on Medicaid, to go shopping for new insurance? More than 6.4 million Americans on Medicaid are to be shifted to Part D coverage on Jan. 1, a tidy windfall for the insurance companies.
It wasn't supposed to help YOU


Blogger musafir said...

Good posts. El Jefe failed to sell his
Social Security plan but too bad that
so many Americans got conned into the
drug benefits scam. Trust in this hollow
man is a mystery.

11:20 AM  

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