There is that public option again

Quote from a letter to the editor New York Times:

It would be better simply to extend Medicare to everyone over 55; the additional expenditures would be more than offset by savings in premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

rollingeyesI really wonder how much people understand about health care spending, health insurance and premiums. Although I jest in large measure.

Magically savings in premiums will materialize to offset expanding Medicare to millions of more Americans. Amazing. Exactly how will this be achieved?

Will we simply force health care providers to accept Medicare rates and ignore the consequences? Will we tell patients they will pay more than under Obamacare because they must purchase supplemental coverage plus drug coverage? What will Medicare do to control costs that private carriers don’t do? What will Medicare do to control costs that it doesn’t do now?


  1. So, Medicare part a costs an estimated average of $411 a month, about $5,000 a year. Medicare part b Costa about $480 a month ( if our premium is 25%), that is $5,800 a year. Medicare part d is &140 a month, average premium assuming we pay 25%, which is $1,700 a year, and a typical supplement is &300 a month or $3,600 a year. That’s $16,000+ a year.


    1. Sorry about the typos. That is $16,000 a year for Medicare plus a supplement, and that is PER PERSON?! Go ahead. Give people ages 55 – 64 access to Medicare, and the Medicare Supplements. Let’s see who enrolls at $16,000+ per year per person. We already subsidize the heck out of people ages 55 – 64 in the public exchanges by limiting the difference in premium to a 3:1 maximum (the premium for a person age 64 cannot be more than three times the premium of a person age 21).


      1. BenefitJack, My sister pays $104 Medicare premium per month = $1248 per year. Her boss pays for her Medicare supplement, $160 per month = $1920 per year. because he is saving $700 per month, since she went on Medicare at age 65 She will be retiring in Feb 2017 and is going to drop the supplement. She went to the doctor once in 2016. Who is paying $16,000??? Are you saying that is what the government pays per person, if so the Medicare tax rate will have to be doubled. .


  2. The problem with medical care in the U.S. is you do not know what it is going to cost you until you get the bill. My nephew without health insurance had shoulder surgery paid cash, it cost him $6,000. The doctor told him if he had insurance it would be $15,000. ???? why such a big difference? Well the insurance company is not going to pay $15K, they are going to cut it down to $7,500. Still more than the cash price, but the doctor now has a $7,500 write off because the insurance company did not pay the full price. What a system. Medicare for everyone over 55 will work, but premiums and deductibles will go up. We need better price disclosure and cost sharing, then maybe everyone would stop running to doctor with a cold, that they are not going to be able to do anything for anyway.


    1. Last year I saw a specialist and I asked him how he makes any money. The insurance company paid him $123 or about 1/3 of what he billed. During that office visit, I interacted with 4 other people in that office over 30 minutes. This doesn’t count the billing people, the records people, the IT people, and the janitor, the building up keep, payroll and property taxes. He looked at the billing statement and said he doesn’t know either but his accountant keeps him straight.

      I wonder if he would take a few chickens?


    2. Jeffrey, you are right. Most people don’t have a clue about the true cost of Medicare. The $411 per month for Part A is the monthly premium for those who failed to pay in the payroll taxes (FICA-Med) for 40 quarters. The $480 a month for Part B is the cost to the beneficiary AND the taxpayers, assuming that the taxpayers are paying 3/4ths of the cost of part B from general revenues. The $140 per month for Part D, Rx, is the cost to the benefiticary and the taxpayers, assuming again that the taxpayers are paying 3/4ths of the cost of Part D from general revenues. And, yes, there are Medicare Supplements that cost $160 a month, just not the typical cost of a supplement that fills all the gaps in Parts A, B and D.

      My point is WE ALL ARE PAYING AN AVERAGE OF $16,000 per year (remember averages can be deceiving) for each Medicare beneficiaries.

      Only fools think the true cost of Medicare, the cost to extend the coverage to individuals ages 55 – 64 is equal to the cost beneficiaries pay out of pocket once reaching age 65 – $121/month part B, and an average of $35 per month part D, or $156 per month. Or, if they are not fools, then we are talking about those who believe taxpayers should pay – those are people who want the best coverage YOUR money will buy.


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