The 2015 Medicare changes are beginning to be realized. Most Medicare recipients will likely have their Medicare plan changed in some fashion, whether due to increased deductibles and premiums of original Medicare or reduction in benefits and increased copays and premiums for 2015 Medicare Advantage enrollees. Even 2015 Medicare Supplement enrollees are likely to be affected by the changes.
Original Medicare could conceivably keep the Medicare Part B premium the same as 2014 for most beneficiaries while raising the premium for higher income tier beneficiaries. Even if the lower tier premium increases it will likely be a minimal rise. Accordingly, the Medicare Part B deductible might stay at $147 for the third year in a row, but history suggests a small increase as well for the Part B deductible is more likely.
The biggest change for the upcoming year is likely to me with Medicare Advantage 2015 plans. Due to doctor reimbursement rates shrinking, the pool of doctors who accept Medicare is also shrinking in many areas. Early indications are that in many areas plans are increasing their premium and copays, while many of the zero premium plans may have to begin charging a monthly premium. As in past years areas with fewer Medicare eligible individuals will see the most drastic changes including the removal of some plans altogether.
Medigap policyholders may not go unscathed from the ongoing changes either. The decrease in the pool of doctors accepting Medicare in 2015 will limit their options as well. The reimbursement rates for doctors could also affect the Medicare Supplements going forward with doctors charging Part B excess charges to remedy this situation to some extent. This along with an increase in the Medicare Part B deductible could cause some Medigap providers to raise the premium of Plan F and Plan G, which cover some or all of these costs, more than they would normally be raised.
More information on the changes in Medicare for 2015 will be released in the coming weeks and we will keep you updated.
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