Original Medicare plan was designed about 50 years ago taking Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance plans as a reference. Due to this, the act has mainly two programmes divided into two parts-Parts (A) comprises of hospital insurance program and Part (B) comprises of coverage of physician services. In all these years, except the introduction of Medicare Prescription Drug Plan and Medicare Supplemental Plan, not much additional service coverage has been added.
Medicare’s cost-sharing policies become overbearing and quite expensive for people suffering from renal diseases. With increasing costs of treating these diseases, the 20% of these fees that are to be paid by the individual is not a small amount. There is an option of enrolling in a Medicare Supplemental Plan to cover these expenses, but that costs a separate $2,196 per year. However, these plans may be successful in limiting the out-of-pocket expenses, they do not provide with coverage for services like dental, hearing and vision that are not covered by Medicare originally.
For people aged above 60, it is recommended by American Optometric Association that they see an optician for annual eye examinations to get the needed alterations to their eyeglass prescription. Vision weakens with age and hence, put a threat of hampering daily activities of a person. Medicare does provide coverage for ophthalmological procedures under Parts A and B, however, it doesn’t cover the much needed routine eye examination fees.
Similarly, the hearing also weakens with age and a large population of individuals over 65 years of age is affected by hearing loss. Medicare does provide with diagnostic coverage to check whether a person requires medical treatments, it doesn’t provide insurance for a routine hearing check-up, hearing aids and also an examination for fitting hearing aids.
A routine dental check-up is also left uncovered by standard Medicare plans. Almost 35% of the population aged 65 and above have untreated dental problems. A lack of routine dental check-ups can cause a spike in emergency cases because of the fact that a small dental problem if left untreated can result in major problems causing a lot of pain and expenses. There is an availability of dental insurance but at an extra cost that discourage individuals to get their dental health insured.
Supplemental Benefits of Medicare Advantage Plan
Save money with a Medicare Advantage Plan for 2019 provides with added benefits of covering services like dental, vision and hearing that are not originally covered under Medicare plans. This coverage is more valuable to the ailing individuals who buy health insurance plans to cover their medical bills. Moreover, these services are covered by a zero-premium Medicare Advantage Plan and hence, this plan is more affordable for people having lower incomes because they don’t need to buy extra plans with extra premiums to cover these necessary services.
The meager differentiation of supplemental benefits provided by a zero-premium plan and other MA plans that charge an extra premium suggests that the extra premium amount is used to reduce the cost-sharing between the beneficiary and the insurance provider. Usually, the cost-sharing becomes quite expensive for the beneficiary that makes the supplemental benefits appear less valuable. In extra-premium plans, these factors are controlled instead of giving more coverage to the beneficiary.