More senior citizens may face mounting medical debt as monthly premiums rise on popular Medicare Advantage plans with drug benefits. Senior citizens enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans with drug benefits will see an increase of 14.2 percent for their monthly premiums this year as opposed to the 5.2 percent increase they experienced from 2008 to 2009.
The health insurance industry blames the increases on cuts in government payments to insurers that offer Medicare Advantage plans.
Medicare pays a fixed amount every month to the companies offering Medicare Advantage plans. The government reduced its payment rates this year by about 4 percent per enrollee because of changes in federal laws passed in 2006 and 2008, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Now Congress is considering more than $100 billion in additional cuts to Medicare Advantage that Zirkelbach said will result in even higher premiums and reduced benefits for more than 10 million seniors in the program.
Regardless of funding decisions which will impact the Medicare program, senior citizens will need healthcare coverage. And without adequate coverage many senior citizens will experience an increase in their overall medical debt. Medical debt is one of the leading causes of financial distress for senior citizens and one of the most common reasons seniors file for bankruptcy. Seniors who depend on the Medicare program even if it is supplemented with private insurance need to make sure that their coverage is adequate enough to avoid incurring medical debt. If you are a senior citizen who is already suffering under distressing medical debt, you may want to consider your bankruptcy options. Bankruptcy has the power to discharge medical debt allowing senior citizens to enjoy their golden years medical debt free.