The new Congressional budget deal contains some interesting changes for Me
dicare in 2018 and beyond. Keep in mind that intentions in the Bill and actual results from applying the changes may be different.
- A larger share of medication costs will be shifted to drug companies under the Budget deal, in an attempt to stem any future increases in premiums and copayments for Medicare beneficiaries.
- The Coverage Gap “Doughnut Hole” will be eliminated one year earlier than previously planned. The deal would eliminate the Coverage Gap in 2019.
- The new Budget deal would call for the wealthiest seniors to pay an increased premium for Part B (Medical Services) and Part D (Drug Plan).
- Finally, the deal would eliminate the limits placed on outpatient rehab services, including physical and occupational therapy. Up until now, Congress has been waiving the therapy caps annually.
This is mostly good news and hopefully will go a long way to making prescription drugs less of a burden for seniors. Those individuals with higher incomes understandably probably will not like this, but it will help make prescriptions more affordable for everyone. All beneficiaries should continue to check their prescription plan each year to insure they are saving as much on premiums and copayments as possible.