Limits on Medigap plans eyed
Medicare supplemental health plans, popular among politically powerful retirees, could come under the budget knife being wielded by the special deficit-reduction panel of Congress, according to sources keeping close watch on its work. The so-called "Medigap" insurance plans shield the elderly -- many living on fixed incomes -- from costly deductibles and other expenses not covered by the traditional fee-for-service Medicare healthcare program. "This one is clearly on the table," said a lobbyist who has been following "super committee" deliberations on ways to trim federal budget deficits by at least $1.2 trillion over 10 years. But super committee Democrats are unlikely to vote to saddle retirees with new out-of-pocket expenses if Republicans refuse to embrace tax increases for the wealthy. While the elderly buy the private plans, studies suggest they boost government Medicare costs as the extra coverage for deductibles and co-pays encourages greater use of medical services. That, in turn, pushes up costs for Medicare, which has to pay for its portion of the care.
- How Top-Ranked MA Plans Earn Their Stars
- Readmissions: No Quick Fix to Costly Hospital Challenge
- How Hospitals Can Become 'Upstreamists'
- 4 Ways to Lower the Cost to Collect from Self-Pay Patients
- House Calls Key to Pioneer ACO Success
- How Telehealth Pays Off for Providers, Patients
- 4 Tips for Managing Employed Physicians
- Defensive Medicine Still Prevalent Despite Tort Reform
- WellPoint Dominates Nearly Half of Markets, AMA Says
- 'Overtreatment' Debate Circles Back to Lung Cancer Screening