Put together by government’s bean counters, they know that Obama Medicare Program costs will definitely go down for the government, however; they will rise for Medicare users. Medicare is in three main parts, Part A is hospitalization, Part B” is for doctors’ care, and Part D is for medication.
According to “Medicare Chart book, Fourth edition, 2010” only 21 percent of Medicare patients use Hospitalization services before age 85, and then only 33 percent of us old duffers start checking in to hospitals before we start checking out. It’s apparent then that the main cost to our government is in Part B, doctors’ care.
Under Medicare plan Part B a doctor is permitted several options regarding payment for services. The doctor can accept full assignment for all Medicare patients, choose to select assignment for existing patients and not for new patients, or does not have to accept Medicare assignment for any patient. Accepting assignment means the doctor receives Medicare’s approved payment as “Paid in Full,” minus the patient’s 20 percent deductible.
An example of this would be for a $100 approved charge; Medicare would pay $80 and the patient pays $20. However, if the doctor chooses to service Medicare patients but not accept full assignment they can legally charge an excess fee up to 15 percent more than the Medicare approved charges. The extra cost falls on the patient. In this case the same $100 approved charges now become $115. Medicare still only pays $80; the patient is now responsible to pay the $20 deductible plus the $15 excess for a total of $35 out of pocket, almost a 100 percent cost increase.
To make matters worse doctors have another option that would take Medicare payments out of our seniors’ and the government’s hands totally. Doctors may refuse Medicare assignment altogether and charge their patients the going rate for all existing patients, causing the patient not only major increases in costs but then require them to file their own Medicare claims.
What percent of our doctors do you believe will opt for not accepting full assignment of approved charges once President Obama’s plan goes into effect? Doctors and other healthcare providers will have no choice but to change the way they bill their Medicare patients. They will not lose income and they don’t do “Pro Bono” for normal health care.
Ultimately the seniors on Medicare will see their healthcare cast rise drastically. The Congressional Budget Office has known this for quite a while. In fact an excerpt from a recent Congressional Budget Office’s “Budget Options — Volume I Health Care”: option 96 reports:
“Among its disadvantages, this option could discourage some patients (particularly low-income patients) from seeking preventive medical care or from managing their chronic conditions under close medical supervision, which might negatively affect their health.”
In other words, in addition to increased costs to its senior population our legislators know a change in plans could prove detrimental to their health. Is this the plan we want for our mothers, fathers, or grandparents, and eventually ourselves? I think not.
Joel Kinsman, CFC
Peachtree City, Ga.