Between the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA), changes in Medicare and congressional budget talks, the amount of information that will impact seniors can be daunting.
Let’s take a look at some of the key changes for 2013:
The ACA included a number of additions to Medicare coverage including: annual wellness exams (with preventative screenings), discounts for brand name prescriptions (52%) and changing the “donut hole” (Part D drug provision) to provide additional help or discounts for beneficiaries who exhaust their benefit.
Most notable for 2013 is Medicare’s new policy for Transitional Care Management services. Medicare will pay a patient’s physician or practitioner to coordinate their care, 30 days following a hospital or skilled nursing stay. Compensation to Medicare providers will be more directly tied to patient outcomes, which can include a reduced reimbursement for your doctor and hospital if you return to the hospital within 30 days for the same issue.
To further help consumers make better choices, health care providers are required to disclose in writing if they financially benefit from a referral or product they recommend to patients. This includes all healthcare entities including physicians, hospitals, pharmacies, distributors and manufacturers of devices and medical supplies.
In addition to changes in delivery and payment of healthcare services, taxation and deductions will also be affected. For some high earners, there will be increased taxes and decreased deductions. The threshold for deductions of unreimbursed medical expenses has increased to 10% of adjusted gross income (up from 7.5%). Your tax professional can answer questions about how these increases could affect you.
For additional Medicare information visit the following websites: The National Council on Aging: www.ncoa.org and Medicare: www.medicare.gov.
Health care reform is a complex process, which will “roll out” over the next several years so changes for 2013 are relatively modest. We can expect more dramatic changes in 2014 and beyond.