The year is coming to an end, when in reality it feels like 2022 was just starting. It’s difficult to believe we are already in open enrollment and as millions enroll in Medicare, there are questions and concerns about what to expect in 2023. There have been some changes made to current coverage options, mainly focusing on cost. However, where most people are looking for changes has to do with the options and quality of care that’s available to them.
Costs are always an important topic in healthcare. However, in 2022, mainly due to labor and materials shortages, people saw a drop in the quality of their care. What was soon discovered was that if you limit the places people can go for care, the medications they can be on and so forth, you need to make sure that there are plenty of the options that are available to them. These limitations will not due next year and many of the changes we will see are focused around that.
Key Changes Announced For Medicare 2023
There have been several changes that have been applied to policies and plans for next year. One key example is that enrollees will be paying a lower rate and deductible for certain options including Part B. Each plan and option has subtle changes, new additions or simple perks the provider is offering to make the plan more appealing to users. However, one can expect minimal drastic changes for the time being.
One of the areas you can expect to see a bit more change has to do with technology, including telehealth and pharmacies that operate online. While plans may not include these services now, there is major support behind these options because it can improve the quality of care and the speed of care seniors receive. Being able to meet with a doctor virtually and have a prescription mailed to your house is a benefit that many would appreciate.
Top Areas Of Focus
While there are many specific areas where changes have been made, the theme of most of these changes focus around very specific areas. Ideally, the hope is to make Medicare more accessible for people, more affordable and easier to manage. However, as more and more retirees are struggling with rising costs, the first order of business has been to focus on assisting those who are struggling to keep up with premiums and prescription drug costs.
- Lowering costs: While everyone would like to see their healthcare lowered, the fact is that they also would like to see help outside of the realm of costs with doctors and medications and expand into their personal lives. That’s why many providers are offering grocery allowance which literally gives you money each month to spend towards healthy food at the grocery store, over the counter medications and more.
- Improving in-person care: Because there was a struggle with in-person care, a mix between dealing with the pandemic and labor shortages, many patients have had to rethink their healthcare needs and strategies. However, the good news is that Medicare plans offer additional coverage options that make in-person care more affordable and expands your options of where you can go.
- Extending services: Did you know that if you are concerned about your weight and especially something like diabetes, that there are programs available that will cover the majority, if not all the costs for you to lose weight? You can see a dietician, get certain tests done and even have access to facilities and experts who can help you on your weight loss journey. This program is highly focused on weight loss because losing weight can be extremely beneficial to a seniors health and lower the cost of their care throughout the year.
- Utilizing preventative care options: Along with weight loss programs, there are exams and other things you can get for free throughout the year to stay up on your current health and look for ways to make improvements. This is actually one of the most underrated and underutilized areas of Medicare as the service covers a wide range of preventative options.
Throughout the last two years, mainly because of the coronavirus pandemic, a large number of seniors have seen declines in socializing and exercising. This has become a great concern for healthcare providers and they want to make sure that there is affordable and reliable care that will assist these men and women and help them to improve their quality of life.
How To Maximize Your Benefits
Every year, millions of people who are on Medicare are shocked to learn that they used a small portion of the benefits allotted to them. For example, many who are enrolled in the basic coverage are surprised to learn that they have assistance in covering the costs of physical therapy. This is a service that is in high demand, especially among seniors, yet regular health insurance usually is very limited in covering these costs.
Not knowing what coverage options you have and what benefits you can utilize is the largest reason why users of Medicare plans do not actually use what’s available to them. If you are unaware of features that are available to you, how can you be expected to utilize them? That’s why it’s important to keep track of everything you are enrolled in, the benefits that each plan offers, what you have to cover the costs of and so forth.
One of the best ways to utilize benefits in your Medicare coverage and to stay updated on important changes to your coverage is by working with a health insurance advisor. An independent advisor is able to work with several providers, allowing you to get quotes and compare perks and other options that each provider is offering you. It’s always important to get multiple prices. However, a common mistake people make during open enrollment is that they focus on making their monthly costs as low as possible. While this is understandable, some of the plans available to you may increase your monthly costs, but lower your overall healthcare costs for the year. Consider this when you work with your advisor and other options available to you.