If Medicare enrollees want such benefits, they must switch to a private Medicare Advantage plan or supplemental coverage. Will adding in these benefits be the right move? Let’s get the facts on this bill and what to expect if Medicare benefits are expanded.
The Argument for Expanding Medicare Benefits
Millions of senior citizens have teeth rotting in their mouths or difficulty hearing or seeing because they can’t afford supplemental coverage. As this article points out, “It’s a cruel irony that older Americans do not have coverage for these benefits at the time when they need it the most.”
For those in favor of expansion, the argument is simple: expanding Medicare benefits will provide essential coverage to older Americans. According to a 2018 Commonwealth Fund report, vision, hearing and dental benefits are out of reach for many beneficiaries.
Forty three percent who have trouble seeing did not have an eye exam in the past year, 75 percent who need a hearing aid did not have one and 70 percent who have difficulty eating because of their teeth had not visited a dentist in the past year. Expanding Medicare would help these beneficiaries get the care they need.
Concerns Over Medicare Expansion
Of course, everything comes with a trade off. Expanding the Medicare program will be expensive, and to offset some of these costs, Democrats will allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices. This is a very controversial idea, but it may be necessary to afford the $358 billion spending over a 10-year period.
If Medicare negotiates the price of certain prescription drugs, this would reduce spending by $345 billion over a decade. The other Medicare change Democrats are looking at is lowering the eligibility age from 65 to 60. This would cost $200 billion over a decade. However, simply expanding Medicare eligibility does not guarantee affordable policies.
Find the Right Medicare Coverage for YOU
So is a Medicare-for-all approach going to be the future? It’s too early to tell how everything will play out as there are many pieces in motion. For now, we recommend speaking with Leonard Financial Solutions to learn about your options for Medicare. We highly recommend taking out a Medigap policy to fill in the gaps - this includes vision, dental and hearing. Contact us today for customized Medicare quotes in NJ.