For the past two years U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has vigorously opposed the new health care law for a lot of reasons. Now, he’s touring Florida shouting that his mother may be harmed by the president’s health care plan because she’s enrolled in Medicare Advantage.
Not so fast, Sen. Rubio, you might have your facts wrong.
Mrs. Rubio is one of over 14 million Americans who choose to receive their Medicare benefits through a privately run Medicare Advantage HMO or PPO plan. “My mom’s on Medicare Advantage and one of the reasons they get her business is that, in addition to good doctors, they actually will pick her up from home because she can’t and doesn’t drive, and take her to her doctor’s appointments,’’ said Rubio.
However, since the Affordable Care Act calls for less spending on Medicare Advantage, “the chances are that soon (seniors) will open up the mail to the bad news that your Medicare Advantage … has been changed in a negative way for you because of Obamacare,’’ he continued.
Will Medicare Advantage plans increase out-of-pocket costs and diminish benefits as Sen. Rubio suggests? I believe his answer is only half true. Here’s why.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) establishes the baseline of services that all Medicare Advantage plans must provide. In essence, plans must offer all of the same benefits as traditional Medicare. After that, it’s up to the plan provider to decide what additional benefits they will include. Currently, we see more plans with extra benefits, including prescription drug plans, vision benefits, dental benefits, and hearing benefits than ever before. Most of these plans have a slight uplift in cost, but it’s far less than the cost of purchasing the coverage on its own.
Where Sen. Rubio is correct is on the anticipated increase in out-of-pocket costs. And he’s right that it’s a direct result of Obamacare. President Obama promised that he would fund the ACA health care law by cutting costs in Medicare without cutting benefits, and he’s delivering on that promise. Notice that he never said the cost to seniors would go up, and up!
Hey, where did people think the money was going to come from?
Here’s the new deal, and people need to get used to it. It costs money to go to the doctor, and someone has to pay for it. Starting in 2014, it’s seniors that will be paying more. A lot more. The higher costs will be doled out through higher co-pays and co-insurances. That’s not the same as a reduction in benefits. It’s simply an increase in costs.
Get used to it America. Stay healthy or expect to pay, because the increase in your copay is here to stay.