What to do about diabetes coverage changes in the new year
For many of us, a new year means a new deductible and perhaps even a new insurance policy. Of course, your policy year may not sync with the calendar year, but it seemed like a good time to talk about policy changes and what may be on the horizon for 2017.
Coverage through state insurance exchanges
There's been a lot of talk about coverage for diabetes supplies and possible changes to the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare). So far, coverage through this marketplace remains intact.1 While it's impossible to predict whether the new administration will take steps to repeal current healthcare legislation, replacing the Affordable Care Act isn't likely to happen overnight.
Still need to sign up? Get stepping! January 31 is the final day to enroll or re-enroll under the Affordable Care Act.1 The next open enrollment period starts November 1.
Private or employer-sponsored health coverage
A recent study suggests that premiums will go up 5% again this year for workplace-based plans.2 To keep increases down, companies often institute plan changes. It's a good idea to find out if something has been scaled down in your policy. Deductibles or preferred providers may have changed, there may be new limits for specific procedures, or you may see lower annual or lifetime caps.
Scrutinize your plan now so there won't be any surprises later. If you don't understand, or need help comparing your specific benefits, make an appointment to talk with a member of your HR team.
Costs are going up, but there is a bit of bright news for some Medicare enrollees.
Because the Social Security Administration has determined that there will be no cost of living adjustment (COLA) in 2017, about 70% of Social Security beneficiaries who already have Medicare coverage won't have to pay an increase in Medicare Part B premiums. (Medicare Part B is the portion that covers diabetes supplies and services.) Those earning at the highest brackets, however, will likely see an increase. And deductibles will go up for everyone.3
Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) premiums and deductibles will also go up for everyone, as drug costs continue to rise. Be sure to review the new costs as soon as possible, so you can plan ahead.
1U.S. News and World Report. How Affordable Care Act marketplace insurance plans will change in 2017. Available at: http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2016-11-28/how-a.... Accessed December 16, 2016.
2CNBC. Expect your health insurance costs to rise in 2017. Available at: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/11/expect-your-health-insurance-costs-to-ris.... Accessed December 16, 2016.
3Huffington Post. What changes in Medicare can you expect for 2017?. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laura-adams/what-changes-in-medicare-_b_12.... Accessed December 16, 2016.