U.S. agency urges new charge for Medicare patients

Reuters.com: By David Morgan WASHINGTON | Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:37pm EDT

(Reuters) – A congressional agency on Friday recommended making traditional Medicare beneficiaries pay more money upfront for medical services as a way to insulate the popular government program from ever-rising healthcare costs.

A report by the nonpartisan Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, or Medpac, recommended a new 20 percent charge for the 90 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who buy supplemental insurance to cover medical costs that Medicare Part A and Part B do not cover.

Medpac, which advises Congress about Medicare, also proposed a series of other innovations including a new $5,000 upper limit for annual out-of-pocket expenses to protect senior citizens from the astronomically high cost of catastrophic illnesses. Read more