Thu04172014

Senior Lifestyles

Medicare cost will rise but the program will be available

Dorothy Rice, professor emeritus at the University of California at San Francisco, spoke at the Los Altos Senior Coordinating Council meeting Jan. 26.

"Seldom in history is so much at stake with pending decisions that well affect you and other people on Medicare," she said.

"There are 43 million people who are not insured for any health care, and that is a sad story for this rich country."

Medicare is a federal health insurance program that provides benefits to those aged 65 and older, disabled workers, and certain people with end-stage renal disease.

"Medicare is a woman's program. Three-fifths of the people on Medicare are women," Rice said. That's because men die earlier than women, and at the age of 85, 79 percent are widowed."According to Rice, Medicare really works, but lacks an outpatient prescription drug coverage. There are numerous Medicare reform suggestions under consideration by the Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare. They are:

Trimming payments to the providers;

Attempt to curb fraud and abuse;

Raise legibility age for Medicare;

Raise deductibles and co-payments;

Raise Plan B premiums;

Raise premiums for beneficiaries with higher incomes;

Provide longer term care coverage.

The bipartisan commission looking into Medicare issues was created by Congress early last year.

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