Medicare Supplement Insurance Updates for 2016

Mary's picture

Several weeks ago, in one day, I received my Medicare Supplement Insurance updates for 2016. In the 2 ½ inches of paper there were changes in just about all areas of coverage. The results were roughly:

• In the monthly base amount – up $10.
• In changes to co-pays – down to zero within the network
• In changes to prescription costs to customer – they are inching upward in general
• In changes to prescription providers – they will need to be in ‘network’ for 2016, I did check with my current drug providers and they are in the ‘network’
• In changes to what Medicare pays for – they pay for less now, note that is Medicare, not the Medicare Supplement provider…
• In changes to Fitness/Exercise charges – down, this is free now
• In Dental coverage – this is remaining the same, with 2 free checkups and a bite-wing xray at no extra charge

I feel pretty fortunate, even though there are many details to check, and I am not totally clear on what the bottom line will be, but am hopeful anyway. The only way to tell is to wait until the end of 2016, and calculate the medical expenses for both years. And in my case, since I had the second cataract surgery done in 2015, some charges for those one-time meds needed for that surgery changed the amount I paid in this year
.
So where are the differences?

Prescriptions: More requirements like In-Network providers, who may not be the current providers that I use. After checking, all three providers that I use - they are all in the network, this is great for me.

• Tier Changes for Drugs: Every month I get a report from the Medical Supplement provider, showing my prescriptions and the costs I have paid for them. Also on the report is a list of tier changes for various drugs, which are changing to a higher cost. If my meds are changed to a higher cost, it could make a big difference in the amount of money going from me to a drug company.

• The charges for Chemotherapy are scary and I know people who have had to pay them – or try to pay them. Also, I have been told by a provider of bankruptcy services that medical costs are the largest reason for declaring bankruptcy.
• I still use the Goodrx.com website. When I recently was bitten by a Lymes tick, asked the doctor to use her screen and check the Goodrx.com site for doxycycline providers, we discovered that there were big differences between providers for this drug – like $50., so check it out for yourself.

If you or someone dear to you is on Medicare, rChance recommends you review the renewal information packet you received in the mail. During the Open Enrollment period (Oct 15, 2015 through Dec 7, 2015), you can make changes to your health and prescription plans. It might be a good time to talk to an insurance broker especially if you notice a rise in your projected out-of-pocket expenses to 2016. If you decide to make changes, remember to do it before December 7, 2015. That is the deadline for changes to 2016 charges.

If you have any thoughts about your Medicare please share. I’m sure other rChance readers would appreciate reading them.

Remember, it’s rChance to Thrive, Every Day and in Every Way

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