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What the Debt Ceiling Compromise Means for Medicare

Even though the federal government reached an 11th hour deal that put to rest some temporary fears of New York residents and those around the nation, the compromise still doesn’t mean that the country is out of the woods just yet.

Federal programs will be able to issue their checks as they normally do for Social Security recipients and Veterans and there are no immediate cuts being ordered to Medicaid or Medicare or other programs sponsored by the government. But the last minute deal still does not mean things are going to work out for the best.

There is a committee in charge of making federal spending cuts to the tune of $1.5 trillion. This is likely going to affect the way Medicare works. Analysts say that there may be changes coming that affect the eligibility age for the Medicare program as well as the amount people pay for co-pays and deductibles.

It is also suspected that the Medicare program may also make cuts to the Medigap insurance, limiting supplemental insurance coverage to elderly citizens. Senior citizens that earn higher incomes may also be required to pay a higher premium for Medicare coverage.

If the committee is unable to come up with a deal, spending across the board will be cut by $1.2 trillion and affect Medicare with a 2% cut to provider payments that being as early as 2013. The White House has said that cuts affecting Medicare would be capped when it comes to automatic cuts on the side of the provider but others are not so sure. If medical providers were to not get their fair payment due to these cuts, they may be inclined to refuse to take Medicare.

There is hope that the committee would cut spending in all areas of the health care system rather than make severe cuts to just some of the programs. It could take a long time for the committee to figure out a strategy and in the meantime Medicare recipients are left holding their breath.

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