Medicare For All? Doubtful. So far, we have been told by some 2020 Democratic candidates that there will no premiums, no deductibles, no lifetime maximums, no pre-existing condition restrictions, to name a few. All for free! Who can resist that?
Except that you know that nothing is free. Let’s dig a little deeper and ask some questions that need to be answered completely.
Medicare doesn’t cover everything. What about the 20% of expenses that traditional Medicare doesn’t cover? No worries. To hear these candidates tell it, there will be a new and improved Medicare that will cover everything. Yes, everything. Mmmmm.
What about Medicare Advantage and MediGap plans? Currently, more than thirty percent of Medicare participants use Medicare Advantage, a plan underwritten by private insurance companies, It incorporates traditional Medicare coverage, and often provides additional benefits like prescription drugs, among others. MediGap plans (there are several designated with alphabet letters) can also be purchased to pay for copayments, deductibles, and care outside of the United States. These plans are also underwritten by private insurance companies. Both of these plans most frequently include another premium. So, we won’t be needing them, right?
No need to save for health care expenses in retirement? According to Fidelity’s annual survey on health care costs in retirement, in 2019 , a couple retiring at age 65 can expect to require $285,000 to pay for health care in retirement. How is that possible if they have Medicare? Does the all new Medicare For All elimimate the extra funds needed for health care in retirement?
I’ll be able to go to any doctor? Good question. This hasn’t been clarified, but if what is happening in major cities like New York City happens under the new Medicare For All, doctors may decide not to accept insurance of any kind. Today, some doctors require patients to submit bills to their own insurance companies and the patients must accept what insurance will pay. Who knows what will happen with a new Medicare? If there is an influx of Medicare only patients, this practice could become more prevalent, and patients may be forced to pay the entire cost themselves.
These are just a few of the many questions that must be answered when considering the future of the health care system and the concept of Medicare For All. Ask the hard questions and get clear answers.