Every year there are changes to Medicare. Some of these changes are normal and happen to reflect the current fiscal environment. Others are made in an effort to improve the system. One of the changes for 2008 ended the limited open enrollment and set dates where beneficiaries can change their plans. The two most basic types of changes are changes in what you pay and changes in coverage.
Changes in What You Pay
Every year Social Security benefits increase slightly to cover the cost of inflation. However, many recipients will never see more money in their wallet because of the rising costs associated with Medicare.
Every year the cost to the beneficiary of Medicare goes up. Deductibles and coinsurance amounts increase every year to cover the rising costs of the program. Additionally, monthly premiums may also rise. While the increases may not be severe, they can still spell hardship for seniors on a fixed income.
Changes in Coverage
Just as costs of Medicare are always in flux, so too are the benefits offered. It is important to stay up to date on the latest changes as they can affect you financially. Other changes may require you to elect new options. Some changes shift coverage for certain events from one plan to another.
In 2008, for example, there were changes made in the vaccination coverage. This change was made to correct a confusing billing process where Part D of Medicare covered the vaccinations but the administration was still under Part B of Medicare, which had its own vaccinations that it covered. In 2008 the vaccinations covered under Part D and the administration of them is instead covered by a person's drug plan.
It is crucial to keep up to date on these types of changes. Make sure you read everything that Medicare sends you so that you know what the latest issues are.