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Tell It Like It Is


Medicare Confusion— Can We Blame It On The 800-Pound Gorilla?




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Disclaimer:
Thomas Segel is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.

December 17, 2011 | 1,655 views | 11 comments

Harlingen, Texas, December 17, 2011: Concerning my previous commentary on the topic of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, I was excoriated for a misstatement. The subject of the article was the 800-pound gorilla (Obamacare) in the room that Republicans are failing to talk about during this primary season. Numerous provisions of that bill were sited as being examples of what Americans do not want in any healthcare legislation.

On the topic of Medicare and future premiums to that program, my friend Charlie Revie scolded me for being wrong is saying the 2014 premium would jump to well over $200 a month a person and close to $500 a month for couples living on fixed incomes. He informed me that both Snopes.com and FactCheck.com stated this was false. I could reply that the two websites mentioned are wrong just as much as they are right on many issues. However, Charlie’s comment just adds fuel to the ongoing controversy about how confusing these massive multi-hundred pages called a healthcare bill really is to most Americans. Even when the text is read, you can come up with a variety of different interpretations of the act.

Charlie Revie tells me the 2012 premium for Medicare will be $108.20. The figure I read was $104.20. The Medicare website says we will pay $99.90. However, I just received an email from Lieutenant Colonel Paul Kelly, U.S. Army (Ret). He has just turned 65, is single and is now living in the Philippines. Kelly said he had a letter in his hand stating his Medicare cost would be $115.40 a month starting in November 2011.

If you want to become even more confused about how much you will pay, study the new rules that incorporate your Modified Adjusted Gross Income into what you will be charged monthly for Medicare coverage. Modified Adjusted Gross Income or MAGI is figured by adding a variety of deductions, such as your IRA contributions/deductions, student loan interest, foreign housing credits and other selected deductions back into your total income amount. If your MAGI is under $85K you will pay a standard premium of $99.90 a month in 2012. If your personal MAGI hits $107K the Medicare premium jumps to $146 a month. Should you have a personal MAGI of more than $214K that monthly premium will be in excess of $353.60 a month. All of this comes directly off the Social Security website. What it truly reflects is all Medicare coverage now and in the future will be weighted directly to your income, with those who are rated as being in any higher income category being charged higher fees.

So, it can be strongly argued that nobody really knows how much his or her upcoming Medicare premiums will be. They must just wait and see how the Social Security bureaucrats to select what deductions from your total income will be allowed, use their calculators to decide what your MAGI is and then decide how much you should be charged.

Semper Fidelis
 
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Your Opinions and Comments

 
Rock'n chair Rambler  
Over Taxed, TX  
December 21, 2011 7:08am
 
"We all know what we need to do, the politicians won't do the hard stuff." Apparently, according to the polls, a majority of people don't know and continue to support the pandering, lying politicians who won't ... More ›

 
Alvin Charmaine  
December 20, 2011 2:48pm
 
RcR, I never said it was a good deal, and I never said it was free. The $248 is only if you don't have enough work credits (40) to qualify- same as Social Security. So if someone hasn't been paying into Social Security ... More ›

 
4 th Generation Texan  
Sutherland Springs  
December 20, 2011 12:24pm
 
Well, regardless of what the Medicare premium is, you will still need to get a Supplemental Insurance policy and another policy for drug prescriptions. My Medicare, supplement and drug policies currently cost me a total of about ... More ›

 
Rock'n chair Rambler  
Over Taxed, TX  
December 20, 2011 7:37am
 
"$248 per month ...." So eh.... explain again why Medicare is such a sweet deal for seniors? I don't quite get the benefits of this gigantic bureaucratic nightmare of government waste, fraud and abuse. It's ... More ›

 
Alvin Charmaine  
December 19, 2011 11:10am
 
You pay a premium for Part A if you haven't got enough quarters of paying Social Security (40) $248 per month if you worked between 7.5- 10 years. $450 per month if you worked less then 7.5 years

 
Facts only please  
TX  
December 19, 2011 9:47am
 
Elaine: Being an editor of this newspaper, I am sure you should be able to clarify "I think it was $885 for the quarter" statement with facts.

 
Rock'n chair Rambler  
Over Taxed, TX  
December 19, 2011 8:44am
 
$885 for only Medicare part A for the quarter just seems kinda high.

 
Alvin Charmaine  
December 19, 2011 6:36am
 
I'm confused. What claims would you have on your husbands primary insurance if you don't go to the doctor? I don't know the rules well, are your husbands claims denied because you dont sign up for medicare.

 
Elaine K.  
Floresville  
December 18, 2011 9:34pm
 
Nope. Why would I want Medigap and supplemental if I don't go to doctors ...

 
Rock'n chair Rambler  
Over Taxed, TX  
December 18, 2011 4:47pm
 
"I think it was $885 for the quarter" Does that include your supplement coverage? Medi-gap?

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