Tag Archives: Obamacare

Turn 65 and you must go into Medicare, then pay a fortune more for health insurance with less benefits

What a difference a year makes.

You are one of the millions of Americans, who don’t have company health insurance. Damned with a pre-existing condition, you carry so-called Obamacare (www.healthcare.gov).

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Oh no, not Medicare!

Next year, you turn 65 and must enroll in Medicare.

There’s no good news, just bad news for you. Obamacare is a far better plan than Medicare and costs at least $1,800 less a year.

Worst of all, there’s no limit on how much you might spend on healthcare and then face bankruptcy. Continue reading →

Cut Medicare and Social Security Club is back again – this time pointing its daggers at Donald Trump

The Committee for a Responsible Budget (CFRB) is at it again in their quest to cut Social Security and Medicare. Cloaked behind a lace curtain of “bipartisan” concern, the committee includes impotent deficit hawks, sharks and other carnivores of ill repute.

Of course, at the top of the list is Pete Peterson, a very, very old creature and to his fellow seniors, certainly very, very cold and calculating. This Wall Street darling, founder of the Blackstone Group (about $7 billion annual income), is former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, chairman emeritus of the Council for Foreign Relations, founder of the Concord Group, and former  CEO of Lehman Brothers (John Kasich’s prior employer). With that background he deserves the Establishment+ designation.

If you watch tv you have probably noticed ads from Fix the Debt, which was founded in 2012, funded by Peterson and multiple CEOs and corporations. Fix the Debt is calling for a grand deficit bargain to be reached by reducing taxes on the wealthy, and cutting Medicare and Social Security by raising eligibility ages for both and reducing benefits.

Enter Stage Right Donald Trump. Continue reading →

Heritage hates Obamacare – plans “Impoverishcare”

Healthcare.gov has my email address, because I once searched for plan information on the site, and now the artificial intelligence – or just perhaps an algorithm – has decided to pester me to sign up or pay a penalty. Having fooled the system (because I can’t get Obamacare since I passed my 65th birthday), I checked some prices to see the cost of  plans for my neighbors, assuming a family of two parents and two teenage children.

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Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz

It’s not a pretty picture. Without premium subsidies, all of the so-called Obamacare Bronze plans cost about $900 a month, or $10,800 a year. All of them have a deductible of about $12,000, which adds up to a total cost of $22,800 – before you receive one penny of health insurance. It’s all on you – just put pennies in the jar each January and set aside 2,280,000 as your personal Copper plan. Actually, someone should call the coppers for allowing such a ripoff junk health plan.

The missing ingredient in this analysis is that the government (middle class taxpayers) provides a subsidy to our average $50k-a-year household of four, amounting to $800 or so per month. That money goes directly to the insurance company. You pay the difference in premiums and you also pay all that $12,000 deductible. It seems insanely expensive – between contributions from taxpayers and subscribers – and some might say a windfall for insurance companies, a deal that was negotiated by Chicago’s current mayor under assault, who is also a former investment banker.

The Democrats may have bowed to the healthcare industry, prostrated their principles, humiliated party members, destroyed the President’s legacy and may even made Valerie Jarrett unhappy, but things might get even far worse.

Enter the GOP and its brainiacs at the Heritage Foundation. They have a plan that makes Obamacare look like heaven with 72 virgins (persons, of course) and unlimited six packs of Continue reading →

Medicare age hike to 68 is Heritage GOP plan

With the exceptions of Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump, all of the Republican candidates for President want to change Medicare so that it costs you much more, but guarantees profits for campaign-funding insurance companies.

The details are in the Heritage Foundation plan to replace Medicare with a “premium support” plan in which you buy Medicare on the open market and the government reimburses you, based on the lowest price from solicited private bids:

During the first five years of the premium-support program, the government’s contribution is based on the weighted average premium of the regional bids of competing health plans. After the first five years, the government contribution is based on the lowest bid of competing plans in a region.

Last week, I blasted the foundation for its miserable plan for Social Security. Their suggestions for Medicare are just as bad. What would such a plan cost, and what would be gop-no-ideas2its benefits to seniors? An examination of a typical Obamacare plan for a single 64-year-old may reveal some answers.

We couldn’t compare plans for 70 or 85-year-olds, because Obamacare won’t allow them for anyone past their 65th birthday. Since someone in their 90s requires more care than the average 64-year-old, whether Heritage blends rates (one rate for all) or age adjusts like Obamacare, premiums could easily be twice as much. What’s the difference, you might ask, if the government pays all the premium cost? Keep reading and learn why.

The cheapest (Bronze) Obamacare plan in Montgomery County, PA this morning was $533 a month for a single person, or $6,396 a year. Under the Heritage plan for Medicare this seems like a likely low-ball comparison – many co-pays, no dental or hearing aids, etc. In addition, there is a

Continue reading →

Medicare tax gets you mandatory program for health insurance that costs fortune in co-pays, deductibles

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Medicare is a tough pill to swallow as it devours family incomes of the elderly

The usual self-centered politicians and their masters at Fix the Debt, Libertarian Caucus, Tea Party and Fox News, along with a pack of pitiful former government officials like Ed Rendell, this week bemoaned the so-called “doc fix”, which brings Medicare payments to providers up to miserable levels, instead of a 21%  cut.

That reduction in doctor payments would increase the number of physicians who refuse to treat Medicare patients. The Wall Street Journal explains in 2012:

…the proportion of family doctors who accepted new Medicare patients last year, 81%, was down from 83% in 2010, according to a survey by the American Academy of Family Physicians of 800 members. The same study found that 4% of family physicians are now in cash-only or concierge practices, where patients pay a monthly or yearly fee for special access to doctors, up from 3% in 2010.

Using the example of a September 2014 visit to a cardiologist (without the 21% reduction) in Philadelphia suburban Montgomery County, the doctor charged $168 for a 20-minute exam (time he was present with patient), and was allowed only the Medicare approved amount of $114.07, and Medicare paid only $89.43, while the patient paid $22.81. An EKG was performed by a physician assistant and the provider charge was $90, including analysis by the doctor. Medicare allowed only a payment of $18 – $14.11 by Medicare and $3.60 by the patient.

Is it any wonder that doctors are refusing to treat Medicare patients, even without more cuts in payments?

If you have completed your income tax (deadline tomorrow), and are a senior forced to be only on Medicare – versus far cheaper Obamacare – the costs you pay would astound the self-centered public masters and financial pundits in both political parties.

Here is a real life examination of Medicare expenses paid in 2014 by one average couple, Harry and Sylvia Schmendrich, both retired and on Social Security. Their adjusted gross income (AGI) was $30,309. Sylvia is 67. Harry is 73 and was required to withdraw a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from his IRA of some $8,400, subject to regular income tax rates. The IRS determines how much you must take out of such retirement funds each year, which increases your AGI.

No matter how you toss it, $30,309 AGI isn’t outstanding, so you would expect that Medicare benefits would offset low income with a great healthcare benefit. Wrong!

The Schmendrich’s medical expenses are typical of a couple, where one has had some sort of heart incident and is on the usual blend of cholesterol and blood thinner drugs, the wife is not on any major meds, and Harry spent one night in the hospital in 2014 after a fainting spell for observation.

Medicare Part A is included in Medicare at no premium charge, but it only covers hospital visits. Medicare B, to cover doctor visits, for average folks like the Schmendrichs, cost the couple $2,516 a year in premiums to the government. They also have an additional AARP plan which reduces co-payments for Part B by about 50%. That costs $2,487 for the couple annually. In addition they have premiums for Medicare D (drugs) which total $164  a year, and only cover some drugs, some of the time.

Harry ended up in the hospital overnight and his Medicare A paid everything except his deductible of $608. If he went twice last year, he would have paid $1,216, and so on. The only other big expense was an eye exam and glasses for Sylvia, which cost the Schmendrichs $903 after Medicare reimbursement of $50. Other doctor office visits during the year added up to $1,066. There was also about $300 for over the counter vitamins and other items

The biggest out of pocket expense was prescription drug co-pays, which totaled $3,341 for the Schmendrichs.

Grand total was $10,490.05 paid by the couple, fully covered by Medicare. If they had any dental expenses, none would be covered by Medicare. Hearing aids are also not covered by Medicare. About one-third of their AGI (before taxes) went to medical expenses.

At least, they had a “nice” deduction for their income taxes, but the politicians knew how to reduce that.

Some 7.5% of their AGI ($2,273) was deducted from medical expenses, leaving them with $8,229.

Medicare is a great deal – if you don’t have the facts and ignore lousy benefits and high prices.  The fiscal hawks, who want to raise premiums and cut the current miserly benefits, don’t really care much for Medicare folks with walkers and bad hearts, I suppose because they are usually not physically able to successfully riot for their causes.

$6,000 healthcare deductible lowers birth rate in the U.S. and keeps many from marrying

Some pundits have recently commented on other blogs that the birth rate seems to be declining among middle class citizens.

In my opinion much of this terrible trend is caused by economics – newly minted healthcare insurance plans that no longer just require co-pays, but have a huge first contribution.
When a family has to pay the first $6,000 in healthcare costs in a year – having a baby is suddenly a very expensive proposition, especially if you are below the median $32,000 annual earnings level.
It doesn’t impact Medicaid pregnancies for the poor (virtually no cost), nor do the rich consider $6,000 much more than chump change.
A single plan doesn’t cover any costs of pregnancy. And if you get a family plan when already pregnant, it doesn’t cover childbirth or its complications, if any.
So, it is not just inequality of income that is threatening to destroy the middle class, it is the extreme costs of having a baby, even with insurance.
Another result of this high healthcare pregnancy cost is its affect on marriage rates. A single woman with no income qualifies for Medicaid, which pays for her childbirth at no real cost to her. If married most women would find that their husband’s income raises their family to a level that does not qualify for Medicaid. Not surprisingly, folks figure out what is best for their finances and don’t get married, as shown by declining marriage rates.

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