The Part B Medicare deductible for 2013 is $147.00.
What should you do with this information? You should avoid taking a big financial hit in the first quarter of 2013 by collecting deductibles at time of service. How do you do that?
Let all patients know in advance that you collect deductibles by making it part of your communication with them. Put it in your financial policy (get a copy of my preferred financial policy below), put it on your website, and let patients know when you schedule their appointment, or make an appointment reminder with verbiage like:
“We look forward to seeing you at your appointment. Please bring your insurance cards and all medications to your visit. We will collect your co-pay, your deductible, and any co-insurance required by your insurance plan.”
Explain what a deductible is. Get my sample patient handout explaining deductibles below.
Train front desk staff on deductibles and get them comfortable discussing deductibles with patients and answering their questions.
Do not collect deductibles for Medicare patients who also have Medicaid, or for Medicare patients with supplemental insurance as there most likely will not be a balance that the patient will owe.
It is ideal to use a Credit Card On File program to charge the patient’s credit card at time of service, or when the EOB (Explanation of Benefits) arrives in 15 days.
CMS just announced the new numbers for premiums and deductibles for 2012. Now is the ideal time to think about Medicare deductibles and what your policy is on collecting deductibles at time of service.
If you’ve been hesitant to collect deductibles, ask yourself if you can handle the loss or delay of payment of $140 per Medicare patient. Most practices can’t. If you are thinking about collecting deductibles and other front-end collection techniques, my book “The Smart Manager’s Guide to Collecting at Checkout” is your guide to making it happen for your healthcare group. Click here to read more.
MEDICARE PART B (covers a portion of the cost of physicians’ services, outpatient hospital services, certain home health services, durable medical equipment, and other items)
In 2012, the Part B deductible will be $140, a decrease of $22 from 2011.
The standard Medicare Part B monthly premium will be $99.90 in 2012, a $15.50 decrease over the 2011 premium of $115.40.
The standard premium is set to cover one-fourth of the average cost of Part B services incurred by beneficiaries aged 65 and over, plus a contingency margin. The contingency margin is an amount to ensure that Part B has sufficient assets and income to (i) cover Part B expenditures during the year, (ii) cover incurred-but-unpaid claims costs at the end of the year, (iii) provide for possible variation between actual and projected costs, and (iv) amortize any surplus assets. Most of the remaining Part B costs are financed by Federal general revenues. (In 2012, about $2.9 billion in Part B expenditures will be financed by the fees on manufacturers and importers of brand-name prescription drugs under the Affordable Care Act.)
The largest factor affecting the contingency margin for 2012 is the current law formula for physician fees, which will result in a payment reduction of about 29 percent in 2012. For each year from 2003 through 2011, Congress has acted to prevent smaller physician fee reductions from occurring. The 2012 reduction is almost certain to be overridden by legislation enacted after Part B financing has been set for 2012. In recognition of the strong possibility of increases in Part B expenditures that would result from similar legislation to override the decrease in physician fees in 2012, it is appropriate to maintain a significantly larger Part B contingency reserve than would otherwise be necessary. The asset level projected for the end of 2012 is adequate to accommodate this contingenIn 2012, Social Security monthly payments to enrollees will increase by 3.6 percent. The dollar increase in benefit checks is expected to be large enough on average to cover the increase in the Part B premium of $3.50 that most beneficiaries will experience. For those who were paying the standard premium of $115.40, their benefits checks will only increase.
Medicare is a federal health insurance program created in 1965 for:
people age 65 or older,
people under age 65 with certain disabilities, and
people of all ages with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant)
Medicare Part A – 99% of patients don’t pay a premium for Part A (hospital insurance) because they or a spouse already paid for it through their payroll taxes while working. The ,100 deductible for 2010, paid by the beneficiary when admitted as a hospital inpatient, is an increase from 2009. Part A helps cover:
inpatient care in hospitals (excluding the physician fees), including critical access hospitals
skilled nursing facilities (not custodial or long-term care)
some hospice care
some home health care
Medicare Part B – Part B (outpatient/doctor insurance) base premium for 2010: .40/month (no change from 2009.) Premiums are higher for single people over 65 making more than K per year and for couples making over 0K. Part B premiums cover approximately one-fourth of the average cost of Part B services incurred by beneficiaries aged 65 and over. The remaining Part B costs are financed by Federal general revenues. In 2010, the Part B deductible is 5. Part B helps cover:
physician fees in the hospital
physician fees in their offices and other outpatient locations
other outpatient services (x-rays, lab services)
some services of physical and occupational therapists
some home health care
Medicare Part C – Medicare now offers beneficiaries the option to have care paid for through private insurance plans. These private insurance options are part of Medicare Part C, which was previously known as Medicare+Choice, and is now called Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage expands options for receiving Medicare coverage through a variety of private insurance plans, including private fee-for-service (PFFS) plans, local health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and regional preferred provider organizations (PPOs), and through new mechanisms such as medical savings accounts (MSAs), as well as adding payment for additional services not covered under Part A or B.
Medicare Part D – Starting January 1, 2006, Medicare prescription drug coverage became available to everyone with Medicare. The so-called “doughnut hole” is the amount the patient pays between the initial coverage limit of ,830 and the out-of-pocket threshold of ,550 – a total of 20 that the patient is responsible for.
Initial Deductible: 0
Initial Coverage Limit: ,830
Out-of-Pocket Threshold: ,550
COMPARISON OF MEDICARE PLANS
Original Medicare Plan
WHAT? The traditional pay-per-visit (also called fee-for-service) arrangement available nationwide.
HOW? Providers can choose to participate (“par”) or not participate (“non-par”.) Participating providers accept the Medicare allowable and collect co-insurance (20% of the allowable.) Reimbursement comes to the providers. Non-participating providers may charge 15% more (called the “limiting” charge) than the Medicare allowable schedule, but the patient will receive the check, which is why some non-par practices require payment at time of service for Medicare patients. To be able to charge patients for non-covered services, patients must sign an ABN before the service is provided.
Original Medicare Plan With Supplemental Medigap Policy
WHAT? The Original Medicare Plan plus one of up to ten standardized Medicare supplemental insurance policies (also called Medigap insurance) available through private companies.
HOW? Medigap plans may cover Medicare deductibles and co-insurance, but typically will not cover anything Medicare will not. Medicare primary claims will “cross-over” to many Medigap secondary claims so the practice does not have to file the secondary Medigap claim. Patients may still have a small balance that is cost-prohibitive to bill for.
Medicare CoordinatedCare Plan
WHAT? A Medicare approved network of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers that agrees to give care in return for a set monthly payment from Medicare. A coordinated care plan may be any of the following: a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Provider Sponsored Organization (PSO), local or regional Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), or a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) with a Point of Service Option (POS).
HOW? You have to have signed a contract or be grandfathered in (called an “all-products” clause) under an existing contract to see patients and get paid. Primary care providers may have to provide referrals and/or authorization for specialty services and providers. A PPO or a POS plan usually provides out of network benefits for patients for an extra out-of pocket cost.
Private Fee-For-Service Plan (PFFS)
WHAT? A Medicare-approved private insurance plan. Medicare pays the plan a premium for Medicare-covered services. A PFFS Plan provides all Medicare benefits. Note: This is not the same as Medigap.
HOW? Most PFFS plans allow patients to be seen by any provider who will see them. PFFS plans do not have to pay providers according to the prevailing Medicare fee schedule or pay in 15 days for clean claims. Providers may bill patients more than the plan pays, up to a limit. It would be a good thing to notify patients if your practice intends to bill above the plan payment.
Need more? Click on CMS (provider-oriented) or Medicare (patient-oriented.)