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Proposed 'Medicare Essential' plan estimated to save $180 billion over 10 years
Date:5/6/2013

would feature an annual cap on out-of-pocket costs, which Medicare does not currently have. In addition, a single $250 deductible would replace deductibles of $1,156 for each hospital episode and $140 annually for Part B services in effect in 2012. Prescription medications would be included among Medicare Essential's comprehensive benefits with no deductible, and preventive care would be fully covered. Medicare Essential's design would eliminate the need to buy expensive supplemental coverage.

According to the report, Medicare Essential would not add to the Federal budget deficit, because its enhanced benefits are financed by premiums, which would be substantially lower than current premiums for Medigap and drug coverage. The savings come partly from lower administrative costs compared to supplemental coverage purchased in the private insurance market, where administrative costs range from 10 percent to 20 percent, compared to 2 percent for traditional Medicare. As a result, total Medicare costs (premiums and cost-sharing) would be lower for beneficiaries as well as for private employers who opt to buy Medicare Essential, rather than private supplemental coverage, for their retirees.

"As baby boomers reach retirement age, we need a high-quality, affordable, and sustainable Medicare program," said Commonwealth Fund president David Blumenthal, M.D. "Improvements we can make to Medicare now to pay for value, simplify and enhance benefits for consumers, and reduce administrative waste will protect Medicare and its beneficiaries far into the future."


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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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