Restricting Fraud With the New Medicare Card
The first and most obvious change to Medicare in 2018 is the new card every recipient should have received this year. The card no longer features the Social Security number of the cardholder. It lists a unique identifying number instead.
New cards were mailed beginning in April 2018. The original card is still effective at your health care provider's office through December 2019. The new number can be looked up by office personnel for insurance filing.
Added Features to Medicare Advantage Plans
Original Medicare leaves more out-of-pocket expenses to be paid than a Medicare Advantage Plan. Medicare Advantage Plans offer some coverage for vision, dental and hearing. They will soon cover services like safety equipment for the home, transportation to and from doctor's appointments, and home health aides to assist with non-medical needs.
Most non-medical needs have been a burden to the elderly and their families, many of whom cannot afford the cost of long-term insurance coverage or a separate medical insurance policy. Although meeting custodial needs requires less expertise, many family members aren't equipped or available to carry out these duties. Caring for loved ones at home has shown to promote senior health and lead to improved health outcomes, so the increased coverage from Medicare Advantage Plans will help many.
Closing the Part D Donut Hole
Prescription coverage (Medicare Part D) has included a coverage gap for years. This gap is known as the donut hole. After reaching a prescribed amount of money in drug coverage, the recipient pays more per prescription based on whether it is a brand name or generic.
In 2018, when you reach the gap, after $3,750 has been spent on prescriptions, your copay will be 45% for generic and 33% for brand-name medications. After $5,000 of expenditures, your copay will be no more than 5% for the rest of the year.
Since the Affordable Care Act became law, the gap has decreased each year. By 2020, the donut hole will close, and people with Part D coverage will pay 25% for all prescription drugs.
How We Can Help
Understanding these ongoing changes can be facilitated by consulting a qualified insurance agency like the Della Porta Group in Jacksonville, Florida.
Highly trained insurance agents will get to know your family's needs and help design an insurance plan that will assure the best possible coverage.