Recently Barack Obama was quoted as saying that his Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) as amended didn't take a "thin dime" from seniors. Since Obama's PPACA is going to put Medicare Part C (Advantage) plans out of business and I am a Part C beneficiary, I thought I'd try to figure out how many thin dimes I was going to lose out of pocket (OOP) as Obamacare forces me to transition over to fee for service (FFS)-based "Medicare as we know it."
Here's a work in progress illustration looking at the differences in my costs OOP in my legal county of residence for 2012 had I been on Traditional Medicare Parts A and B instead of my being on Medicare Parts A, B and C:
It's so many thin dimes it adds up to thousands of dollars annually (y-axis).
I threw a couple of scenarios into my analysis, comparing someone with a high incidence of receiving health care services (blue) and a low incidence (maroon) and compared three types of plans: Traditional Medicare Parts A and B vs. basic Medicare Part C vs. the best Medicare Part C. I used the plans available in my county. (Remember Medicare is different in every county in the country but I believe this illustration works directionally for everyone.)
The illustration shows that I would have spent almost twice as much out of pocket if I had a high incidence of healthcare service needs in 2012 on the Democrats' "Medicare as we know it" as I would have spent out of my pocket on Part C. The numbers are about the same for a basic and the best Part C plan (I have a couple of dozen to choose from in my legal county of residence) because of the types of services I put in my model. In general as the incidents rise (as if I could forecast that), the better Part C plan also gets better for me financially.
If your needs for healthcare services are low, the differences are much smaller in absolute dollars but still quite different in percentage terms.
(Oh by the way, the government costs for Medicare Part C beneficiaries -- as opposed to my OOP costs -- are fixed per capita every year, which is one of the reasons the government in 2003 wanted a Part C kind of system. On the other hand, for the Traditional Medicare approach the government can spend an unpredictable tens of thousands of dollars for the high incidence senior (of course it can spend next to nothing too on other seniors). I can't model the government's cost as well as I would like because the Medicare bureaucracy does not make what it pays providers very transparent.)
-- Dennis Byron
NOTE: Most of the money cut by PPACA is not to Medicare Part C but from providers such as hospitals and nursing homes billing through Traditional Medicare Parts A and B, "Medicare as we know it." That's right, despite the way his press releases read, Obama screwed the people on the Medicare plan he likes more than he screwed those of us on the plan he hates. It is hard to figure by how much those PPACA cuts to providers will affect seniors until after the fact. But it sure must be insulting to Democrat-leaing seniors to have the liar in chief tell you "not at all."