What’s Up Doc?: Changes to Medicare in 2017

The federal government has made a lot of changes recently. In fact, it seems as if there isn’t a day that passes by without something in society being altered. In some ways this is a good thing. But in others, it means it’s hard for everyday people to keep up with all of the plans that are going into effect and how they are affecting us personally. If you haven’t heard about the recent government changes to Medicare (due to come into force in 2017) then you’re not to blame. A lot of others missed it too. After all, who has time to sit sifting through every single newspaper article and drifting from news channel to news channel. All alongside work, childcare and other responsibilities? But not to fear. We’re here to give you a quick and easy, simplified up to date summary of what’s going on. So you can be aware of situations that may affect you and you can be prepared to make decisions accordingly.

The Importance of Health Care

Health care is necessary. Not only for you but also for your dependents. God forbid anything ever went wrong, be it injury, illness or disease. You wouldn’t want to have to turn down certain beneficial treatment because you can’t afford to cover the costs. You want to be able to get the most extensive plan available to you, as this will offer you the greatest security. Obviously, we recommend you create a budget. Find your salary and note all of your outgoings. Food, accommodation, schooling and further education, clothing, bills. Whatever it is. Note it if it comes out regularly. Work out how much you usually spend on birthdays, Christmas, Independence Day and other festivities. With what’s left, prioritise your medical insurance. If you’re short for a significantly better policy, perhaps it’s better to cut down on festive spending. There’s no greater gift than good health, after all.


The Deal

So, the federal government has decided to lower average pay rises for 2017 Medicare Advantage Plans. It has also modified several of the programme’s original policies. This is due to the consistent lobbying of health insurance industry. Here are some of the changes that could affect you and the price of your plan.

  • Payment rates for insurers selling Medicare Advantage plans will increase by 0.85% on average. These firms expected an increased rate of 1.35%. This difference may seem small, but it’s significant to a company when it comes to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of health care insurance plans.
  • Consequently, the average Medicare Advantage payment rate will increase by 3.05%.
  • This is taking into account how health plans code their members. Some will pay less. Some will be hit harder, with the higher end rates.
  • It may seem like a small amount but every penny helps. The cost of keeping a family is sky high and you don’t want them to have to go without other things to account for this further rise in costs

Chances are, with all of this going on, you might want to check out how your personal health plan compares to the others that are available. There’s going to be a shift up of prices and you inevitably want to know what the best deal is. Medicare Insurance Plans are offered by various companies. For example, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Humana Medicare. Others include WellCare, Aetna, Cigna and AARP. It would be nigh on impossible to call around all of the health insurance providers. Not to mention going over specific information to do with every single policy offered. Luckily, there’s a way around this. Or we’d all be on the phone to pushy salesmen round the clock. Check out sites like http://www.medicareadvantageplans2017.net/. These price comparison sites will root out the best plans that would be recommended to meet your needs.

Changes to different Medicare insurance plans vary widely. Not only changing depending on what city you live in, but also varying from zip code to zip code within the same city. Unluckily, you might not just be able to find out which providers your family and friends favour, as they might not benefit you in the same way. Eligible adults should request more information about new rules. This will prepare them when it comes to choosing a new plan.

Besides the changes to Medicare itself there are other changes. Different homes and different individuals will prioritise different aspects of their healthcare experience. Here’s what we think are the focuses of the main providers. This might help you decide between two seemingly similar plans.

Anthem Blue Cross Shield

Available widely. This provider caters to 40 different states. Several of these are covered generously.

United Healthcare

United Healthcare offer comprehensive plans with added benefits. For example, prescription drug coverage.

Humana Medicare

The costs of Humana Medicare couldn’t be clearer. They are upfront and this results in little confusion. They also have lower out-of-pocket maximums.


Often favoured by seniors. This provider offers zero premium plans to eligible seniors.


Aetna have one of the most extensive health networks out there. Perks can include free copays for some general, generic drugs. There are also some perks that can keep you healthier in general, such as free gym membership.


Cigna covers prescriptions, vision and dental work. These are offered at a very low premium.


This firm works with United, in order to offer comprehensive plans to suit every budget.

When it comes down to every aspect of health care, you’re better safe than sorry. But that also goes down to your insurance policies. Plan ahead and get what’s best for you. You don’t want to find out months down the line that you could have been paying less for an equivalent policy with another reputable provider. Don’t forget. These companies are going to be competing against each other. Take advantage of this. Face them off against each other. If you have your heart set on a certain policy, find a cheaper price elsewhere with these search sites and challenge them. Question whether they’ll offer you the same policy at a lower price. Chances are, they won’t want to lose your custom. Because at the end of the day, every customer counts.


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