The Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2011
Deficit-reduction proposals to change the structure of Medicare would increase costs for most current beneficiaries, a new study has found. Several deficit-reduction committees have suggested changing the federal healthcare program for seniors to combine the hospital- and doctor-services deductibles that participants currently pay separately. In this system, seniors could have a $550 annual deductible, and be required to pay 20% toward all services up to a $5,550 annual limit. But the change would mean that around three quarters of current beneficiaries would pay more ? on average around $180 a year more ? according to models created by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. About 5% of current beneficiaries who use hospital services most frequently would see a significant decrease in the amount they have to pay ? around $1,570 a year. The rest of the beneficiaries wouldn't experience any change, the study found.