The PPACA also made some changes to Medicare enrollee's' benefits. By 2020, it will close the so-called "donut hole" between Part D plans' coverage limits and the catastrophic cap on out-of-pocket spending, reducing a Part D enrollee's' exposure to the cost of prescription drugs by an average of $2,000 a year. This lowered costs for about 5% of the people on Medicare. Limits were also placed on out-of-pocket costs for in-network care for public Part C health plan enrollees. Most of these plans had such a limit but ACA formalized the annual out of pocket spend limit. Beneficiaries on traditional Medicare do not get such a limit but can effectively arrange for one through private insurance.
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Medicare Part A is usually provided at no cost if you are eligible for Medicare; however, in the event that you are required to pay for Part A, the highest monthly payment will be $426. The nationwide standard Part B premium has been set between $104.90 and $335.70, with an annual deductible of $147. Plan D has an annual deductible of $325. You can review the different plan premiums, costs and deductibles at: https://www.bluecrossmn.com/Page/md/en_US/medicare-basics#tab-1.
Because of how Part D works, you could pay as much as 72% of the cost of some of your prescription drugs if you need enough medication to push you into the notorious doughnut hole: when Part D's full prescription-drug coverage runs out after you've spent $2,850, until your medication costs exceed $4,550 per year. In 2015, coverage will end at $2,960 and begin again at $4,700. During the coverage gap, you'll be responsible for 47.5% of covered, brand-named prescription drugs. In 2015, that will change to 45%.
The name "Medicare" was originally given to a program providing medical care for families of individuals serving in the military as part of the Dependents' Medical Care Act, which was passed in 1956. President Dwight D. Eisenhower held the first White House Conference on Aging in January 1961, in which creating a health care program for social security beneficiaries was proposed. In July 1965, under the leadership of President Lyndon Johnson, Congress enacted Medicare under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide health insurance to people age 65 and older, regardless of income or medical history. Johnson signed the bill into law on July 30, 1965 at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri. Former President Harry S. Truman and his wife, former First Lady Bess Truman became the first recipients of the program. Before Medicare was created, approximately 60% of people over the age of 65 had health insurance, with coverage often unavailable or unaffordable to many others, as older adults paid more than three times as much for health insurance as younger people. Many of this latter group (about 20% of the total in 2015) became "dual eligible" for both Medicare and Medicaid with passing the law. In 1966, Medicare spurred the racial integration of thousands of waiting rooms, hospital floors, and physician practices by making payments to health care providers conditional on desegregation.
Additionally, the PPACA created the Independent Payment Advisory Board ("IPAB"), which is empowered to submit legislative proposals to reduce the cost of Medicare if the program's per-capita spending grows faster than per-capita GDP plus one percent. While the IPAB would be barred from rationing care, raising revenue, changing benefits or eligibility, increasing cost sharing, or cutting payments to hospitals, its creation has been one of the more controversial aspects of health reform. In 2016, the Medicare Trustees projected that the IPAB will have to convene in 2017 and make cuts effective in 2019.
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Part A's inpatient admitted hospital and skilled nursing coverage is largely funded by revenue from a 2.9% payroll tax levied on employers and workers (each pay 1.45%). Until December 31, 1993, the law provided a maximum amount of compensation on which the Medicare tax could be imposed annually, in the same way that the Social Security tax works in the US. Beginning on January 1, 1994, the compensation limit was removed. Self-employed individuals must pay the entire 2.9% tax on self-employed net earnings (because they are both employee and employer), but they may deduct half of the tax from the income in calculating income tax. Beginning in 2013, the rate of Part A tax on earned income exceeding US$200,000 for individuals (US$250,000 for married couples filing jointly) rose to 3.8%, in order to pay part of the cost of the subsidies mandated by the Affordable Care Act.
In the same year, an estimated 42% of California children and youth ages 0-21 had Medicaid (Medi-Cal), CHIP, or other means-tested public health insurance coverage, with enrollment estimates highest for infants (47%) and lowest for young adults ages 18-21 (31%). Statewide, coverage for African American/black and Hispanic/Latino groups was higher than 50% in 2016, whereas estimates for Asian/Pacific Islander and white children/youth were lower than 28%. In the 2016 federal fiscal year, total yearly enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP among California children ages 0-17 was 720 per 1,000, more than 20% higher than the national rate of 590 per 1,000.
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The CBO projected that raising the age of Medicare eligibility would save $113 billion over 10 years after accounting for the necessary expansion of Medicaid and state health insurance exchange subsidies under health care reform, which are needed to help those who could not afford insurance purchase it. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that raising the age of eligibility would save the federal government $5.7 billion a year, while raising costs for other payers. According to Kaiser, raising the age would cost $3.7 billion to 65- and 66-year-olds, $2.8 billion to other consumers whose premiums would rise as insurance pools absorbed more risk, $4.5 billion to employers offering insurance, and $0.7 billion to states expanding their Medicaid rolls. Ultimately Kaiser found that the plan would raise total social costs by more than twice the savings to the federal government.
As a result of these changes and other administrative choices by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS, per-person expenditures for beneficiaries on Parts A/B/C and those not on A/B/C reached effective parity). One such choice ended the out-of-balance PFFS plan program except for grandfathered beneficiaries. The out-of-balance Employer Group plan program was cut back beginning in 2017.
There are two ways for providers to be reimbursed in Medicare. "Participating" providers accept "assignment," which means that they accept Medicare's approved rate for their services as payment (typically 80% from Medicare and 20% from the beneficiary). Some non participating doctors do not take assignment, but they also treat Medicare enrollees and are authorized to balance bill no more than a small fixed amount above Medicare's approved rate. A minority of doctors are "private contractors," which means they opt out of Medicare and refuse to accept Medicare payments altogether. These doctors are required to inform patients that they will be liable for the full cost of their services out-of-pocket in advance of treatment.
This information is not a complete description of benefits. Call 1-866-405-8762 (TTY: 711) for more information. Out-of-network/non-contracted providers are under no obligation to treat UPMC for Life members, except in emergency situations. Please call our customer service number or see your Evidence of Coverage for more information, including the cost-sharing that applies to out-of-network services. Other physicians/providers are available in the UPMC for Life network.
A Medicare Advantage Health Plan (Medicare Part C) may provide more help at a lower cost than traditional Medicare plus Medigap. Instead of paying for Parts A, B and D, you enroll through a private insurance company that, in many cases, covers everything provided by Parts A, B and D and may offer additional services. You pay the Medicare Advantage premium along with your Part B premium in most cases.
In the 1970s, less than a decade after the beginning of fee for service Medicare, Medicare beneficiaries gained the option to receive their Medicare benefits through managed, capitated health plans, mainly HMOs, as an alternative to FFS Original Medicare, but only under random Medicare demonstration programs. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 formalized the demonstration programs into Medicare Part C, introduced the term Medicare+Choice as a pseudo-brand for this option. Initially, fewer insurers participated than expected, leading to little competition. In a 2003 law, the capitated-fee benchmark/bidding process was changed effective in 2005 to increase insurer participation, but also increasing the costs per person of the program.
In 2015, Medicare provided health insurance for over 55 million—46 million people age 65 and older and 9 million younger people. In January 2018, they have issued the new medicare (Red, White and Blue) cards to all the beneficiaries.  On average, Medicare covers about half of the healthcare charges for those enrolled. The enrollees must then cover their remaining costs either with supplemental insurance, separate insurance, or out of pocket. Out-of-pocket costs can vary depending on the amount of healthcare a Medicare enrollee needs. These out-of-pocket costs might include deductibles and co-pays; the costs of uncovered services—such as for long-term, dental, hearing, and vision care—and supplemental insurance premiums.