Medicare supplements Texas have faced very few obvious changes over the last year since PPACA was passed. However, those changes will begin making an even bigger splash beginning in 2012.

PPACA

The PPACA, or “Obamacare” changes to Medicare were somewhat unclear to many recipients. However, the overall gist is that Medicare Advantage, or the Medicare supplement, as it is often called, is scheduled to be phased out. Medicare Part D is supposed to be improved to the point that MA, or Gap insurance, is no longer necessary.

The method of determining payout is also going through changes. Medicare supplements Texas and in every other state will be increasingly dealt out according to a county’s quartile ranking. Each county is assigned a quartile ranking, according to rural, suburban, and urban population. Rural and surburban counties will see an ultimate payout of 115% of what they normally receive in MA funds. 34% of the people who participate in MA live in these areas. The urban quartile rankings will receive 95%. It is unclear to many why the percentages are divided up this way.

Medicare Part B

If you are a senior citizen with what is considered higher level income, you have already been paying more on your Medicare Part B services. All participants in Medicare Part B receive the same coverage but senior with higher income pay more for it. With the PPACA changes, the level at which you are considered a wealthy senior is not fixed at 2010 levels. It was a sliding scale that followed inflation. With the freeze as 2010 levels, it increased the number of seniors at the “wealth” level by 5%. By 2019, a conservative estimate is a 10% increase.

Medicare Part D

Since 2006, seniors have had access to prescription coverage through Medicare Part D. If a person qualified for Medicare, he was eligible for prescription coverage regardless of income. The premium for Part D was the same for everyone, with financial assistance available for those who could not afford the premiums.

Starting this year, 2011, those seniors with higher income began paying higher premiums for their Part D coverage. The financial assistance is still available for others. Remember, too, that these income levels are not set at 2010 levels, meaning that as the years progress, more and more people will fall into the “wealthy” category.

Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage was instituted in 2003 in an attempt to partially privatize Medicare. It allows 12 different plans in 4 categories from which people can choose an insurance policy to cover the gaps in their health coverage not provided for in Parts A and B. in 2006, Part D was instituted. Both Part C (Medicare Advantage) and Part D are administered by private insurance companies, giving Medicare recipients the opportunity to work through their own preferred insurance companies. It also allows recipients to shop around for the best deals on coverage, so that they have an opportunity to keep doctors that normally wouldn’t take Medicare. Medicare supplements Texas are still administered this way.