Medicare For All (M4A) is referring to a single payor, government run, healthcare system. In its grandest form it would mean that all health plans are offered by the government. They set the reimbursement amounts paid to healthcare providers and drug manufacturers. It is a bold system that has a very high price tag associated with it.
It seems odd to me that the new MACRA law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2020, is removing Medicare Supplement Plans F & C to new Medicare beneficiaries. People who have those plans can keep them, but people who become Medicare eligible after Jan 1, 2020, are not able to get any plan that does not have a deductible.
The government wants people to participate in their healthcare costs. So, they are not allowing new beneficiaries to get a plan that does not include a cost share.
With the Bernie Sanders version of M4A, there would be no deductibles, no co-pays or coinsurance, except for some medications and possibly long-term care. That means there would be no private insurance plans needed. That is going in quite the opposite direction.
The other popular idea being promoted by several politicians is the Medicare at 50 Act. People age 50-64 could get a package deal of Parts A, B, and D, or they could choose a Medicare Advantage plan or some other private insurance plan to fill in the gaps left by their new Medicare. Again, there would be a big cost associated with this.
Right now, Medicare beneficiaries must pay Medicare taxes until age 65 in order to get Part A for no premium, which is hospital insurance. If suddenly you could get Medicare at age 50, where would the money come from to pay for that? The Medicare Trust Fund was affected in a major way following the passage of Affordable Care Act (ACA).
You may have heard that the ACA ‘stole’ over $500 billion from the Medicare Trust Fund. That is not entirely accurate. What happened is that future Medicare funding was redirected to the ACA. That means that moving forward, Medicare beneficiaries will pick up more of the costs for their own health care through higher premiums for Part B, higher Medicare surcharges (IRMAA) for the wealthy, and increased taxes to keep the trust fund viable.
They would also likely have higher deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance, which would drive the need for additional insurance to go along with their Medicare, just like current Medicare beneficiaries do.
I believe that the deciding factor in all of this will depend upon which political party is in control. Stay tuned!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Don Meyer is the President and Co-Founder of Both Hands Financial Group. Don has helped thousands of people understand Medicare and their options. He is also one of the most sough-after agent and agency trainers in the Medicare field. His knowledge and experience in the Medicare world is unmatched. He loves helping people understand their Medicare options that will maximize their retirement and income planning. Choosing the correct Medicare plan is the biggest decision someone can make that will affect their retirement and Don makes sure all his clients make the best choice.