Sunday, May 29, 2011

Consumer Empowerment for Seniors on Medicare

The baby boomers have been paying Medicare taxes for several decades. Now the senior citizens, who are currently enrolled in Medicare Part B, are limited to seeing only those doctors who contract with Medicare. But the doctors get reimbursed with less money from the Medicare insurance versus from the other patients with private insurance (for equivalent service). Thus, more and more doctors are opting out of Medicare.

So the patient on Medicare Part B may want to privately contract with a physician who doesn't accept Medicare. But that senior citizen would have to pay for the full cost of care from out of pocket, with 0% reimbursement from Medicare. Otherwise, with a shrinking pool of doctors still accepting Medicare, the patient would be forced to go to a crowded clinic of old folks, waiting for care from the "Medicare" doctor.

The Medicare Patient Empowerment Act would solve this problem. If passed in Congress and signed by the President, the person on Medicare Part B would be allowed to privately contract with the doctor to pay a surcharge on top of the puny reimbursement from Medicare. (Remember, the doctor makes more money from private insurance reimbursement than from Medicare reimbursement.)

Otherwise, the senior citizen on Medicare would be relegated as pariahs for healthcare. The doctor wants to make money. Treating younger people with private insurance is more lucrative for primary care physicians. Meanwhile, ObamaCare in its present form, exacerbates the payment differential between Medicare versus private insurance on reimbursement rates to healthcare providers. (The Independent Payment Advisory Board -- or IPAB -- is a 15-member panel that will be authorizing caps to Medicare spending. The IPAB will worsen the quality of care for senior citizens.)

Below are the links, for more info:

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