Hey, Medicare, I’m relying on you — Tom Purcell

Hey, Medicare, I’m relying on you — Tom Purcell

I’ll qualify for Medicare protection in 5 years and, a lot to my shock, I can’t wait to get authorities well being protection — as a result of my present protection is costly.

I just lately completed a consulting task, which offered me full well being advantages. To take care of my medical insurance coverage via COBRA, I need to pay $750 a month. I additionally need to cowl the primary $3,300 of prices earlier than full protection kicks in.

That signifies that if I’m going to the hospital with a nasty flu — which I did for the primary time in my life just lately — I’ll obtain a large invoice to pay for my deductible.

My whole well being care prices for the 12 months, give or take, can be $13,000 — virtually $1,100 per thirty days.

Contemplating my present prices, Medicare protection is a discount.

Medicare turned legislation in 1965 and is now supplied in 4 elements to People over the age of 65. Medicare Half A covers inpatient hospital care, expert nursing facility care, hospice care and a few house well being care. Most individuals don’t pay a premium for Half A, as they paid into this system for years as taxpayers. Medicare Half B covers physician visits, outpatient providers, preventive care and a few medical tools. The usual month-to-month premium for Half B in 2021 was $148.50, however higher-income earners might pay extra.

Medicare Half C, also called Medicare Benefit, is an alternate supplied by personal insurers to complement A and B with further advantages. Medicare Half D helps pay for the price of prescribed drugs. Its common price in 2021 was about $33 a month.

Medicare sounds virtually too good to be true, which brings us to its biggest problem: how can we pay for it as America ages and hundreds of thousands extra start receiving advantages?

Initially, there have been many extra individuals paying into the fund than utilizing it — 5 individuals paid in versus one one who obtained advantages — however with child boomers retiring in massive numbers, that’s now not the case.

When Medicare started in 1965, People 65 and older made up solely 10% of the inhabitants. At present, People over the age of 65 account for about 17% of the U.S. inhabitants.

Right here’s one other worrisome element: Medicare payroll taxes are solely paying for about 62% of this system’s annual $800-plus billion price. The stability is paid for from the final U.S. money register — which is working a trillion and a half brief yearly.

The way in which issues are going, the Medicare fund is on monitor to run a $1 trillion annual shortfall in solely 10 years.

The Biden administration is generally providing a typical non-solution to Medicare’s monetary challenges: tax the wealthy.

However taxes alone won’t clear up this problem. Complete reform is the one answer.

The answer requires a considerate, bipartisan method and can doubtless embody some ache, comparable to chopping some advantages and increasing the age of eligibility from 65 to 67 or so.

Will our legislators summon the braveness to take care of this very actual problem — or will they chase low cost votes by telling aged People the opposite celebration is making an attempt to take their well being protection away?

I’ve my worries.

I’m in no hurry to develop into 65, however the one saving grace I hope 65 will convey is for Medicare to alleviate me of the 1,100 bucks a month I at the moment pay for primary well being care.

Tom Purcell could be reached at [email protected].

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