Medicare is too generous. Seniors take advantage. – Medicare and More

Medicare does not require seniors to pay enough of their health care costs. Seniors go to the doctor too much.  Medicare supplement insurance makes these problems worse and contributes to out-of-control Medicare spending. These are the conclusions in a recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal titled, “Why Medicare Patients See the Doctor Too Much”.The authors also say the “Obamacare” changes to Medicare, which provide more free preventive care services to seniors, are bad because  they “further insulate seniors from costs and will drive up spending even more”.According to the authors:Medicare utilization is roughly 50% higher than private health-insurance utilization, even after adjusting for age and medical conditions. In other words, given two patients with similar health-care needs — one a Medicare beneficiary over age 65, the other an individual under 65 who has private health insurance — the senior will use nearly 50% more care.In the opinion of the authors, the answer to Medicare’s problems is:Since private health insurers are much better at controlling utilization and reducing fraud, why not turn to the private sector to resolve Medicare‘s excessive utilization? That’s what House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan was trying to do with his premium-support model that would eventually shift Medicare beneficiaries into private health plans.The authors favor more choices for seniors, such as high-deductible health insurance options and plans that are more like those in the under-65 health insurance market. But the authors don’t mention that these high-deductible plans are designed for young, healthy people who are betting they won’t get sick and have to pay that $3,000 or $5,000 deductible before their insurance kicks in. That’s probably a good bet for a 30-year old. But what about a 70-year old?What are the chances a 70-year old will need to spend several thousand dollars on medical services each year? And what are the chances a senior will put off care because he has to pay 100% of the cost until he meets his deductible? Is it a good idea for seniors to put off care because they can’t afford it – or are too cheap to pay co-pays and deductibles? Is this a choice we want seniors to make? And is this good public health policy, or will it lead to sicker seniors and bigger medical bills for seniors and Medicare?

via Medicare is too generous. Seniors take advantage. – Medicare and More.

About Saleem Mohammed
PROFESSIONAL PROFILE: I have substantial experience in Healthcare Marketing and PR, Human Resources Management, Medical Staffing, Outsourcing & Backroom Office Establishment and Management, Healthcare Account Management, and Multimedia Marketing. My recruitment experience covers nurses, therapists and other allied healthcare workers that are sourced all over US and overseas. As BDO, I brought a start-up company to its highest revenue mark, expanded its menu of services, designed & streamlined HR procedures and built effective cost-cutting measures. SPECIALTIES include, but is not limited to: Healthcare Marketing, Human Resources Management, Medical Staffing, Staffing Coordinator, Healthcare Recruitment, Account Management, Business Development, Healthcare Sales and Pricing Strategy, HR Training & Development, Career Coaching

One Response to Medicare is too generous. Seniors take advantage. – Medicare and More

  1. One of the main reasons for the continual rise in health care costs, not the only reason but a significant one, is the continual expansion of average life span and the corresponding desire for increases in the quality of life. On the one hand, some of the aging baby boomers are in better shape that their older cohorts but as they live longer their end of life costs are going higher. Recent studies have indicated that up to 85% of a person’s lifetime medical expenses are now occurring in the last 5 years of life.

    I am NOT advocating for capping coverage or rationing care for elderly or anything that will affect their desire or ability to achieve longevity and have great quality of life. I am just pointing out the dilemma. Compounding the issue is, as you very correctly point out, the role technologies are playing in the extension and increases in the quality of aged life.

    One last point, is that prior to Medicare, people delayed or eschewed purchases and luxuries as they either saved or were faced with catastrophic financial problems if/when they got sick as they aged. Today, we rely on Medicare and then we feel comfortable in buying the new car, or the flat screen TV, or the vacation, or vacation home. Again, I am not faulting the purchases or luxuries, just pointing out that there are consequences in the increased burden on the whole when individual responsibilities are excused by general programs.

    These are the unspoken issues we simply don’t want to face.

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