The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on healthcare systems in Missouri and across the United States. One of the areas that have been significantly impacted is Medicare costs. In this blog post, we will explore the impact of the pandemic on Medicare costs in Missouri and compare the rising costs from 2019 to 2023.
Medicare Costs in Missouri Before the Pandemic
Before the pandemic, Medicare costs were primarily driven by factors such as the aging population, rising healthcare costs, and advances in medical technology. In 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) projected that Medicare spending would continue to rise at an average annual rate of 7.6% over the next decade, reaching $1.5 trillion by 2028.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on healthcare and Medicare costs. The pandemic led to increased demand for public health emergencies, particularly for those related to COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccination. At the same time, many people deferred non-urgent medical care due to concerns about exposure to the virus or because of healthcare facility closures and cancellations.
According to the CMS, Medicare spending increased by 6.7% in 2020, primarily due to the pandemic. The increased spending was driven by higher costs for hospital and physician services, as well as increased enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans.
Looking forward, it is difficult to predict how Medicare costs will evolve in the aftermath of the pandemic. Some factors, such as the ongoing need for COVID-19 treatment and vaccination, may continue to increase costs in the short term. However, the pandemic may also have longer-term effects on healthcare utilization and spending, as people become more comfortable with telemedicine which compensated for office visits and other forms of virtual care, or as healthcare delivery models change in response to the pandemic.
Impact of the Pandemic on Medicare Costs in Missouri
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on Medicare costs in Missouri. The pandemic has led to an increase in healthcare costs across the board, and Medicare is no exception. There are several factors that have contributed to the rising costs of Medicare in Missouri, including:
- Increased utilization of healthcare services: The pandemic has led to a surge in the utilization of healthcare services, as many individuals are seeking care for COVID-19 and other related conditions. This increased demand has put pressure on healthcare systems, which can lead to higher costs for Medicare.
- Higher costs of medical supplies and equipment: The pandemic has led to a shortage of medical supplies and equipment, which has driven up the costs of these items. This, in turn, can increase the cost of healthcare services, including those covered by Medicare.
- Increased use of telehealth services: In response to the pandemic, many healthcare providers in Missouri have started offering telehealth benefits. While this has been a crucial development for patients who need care but cannot leave their homes, it can also lead to higher costs for Medicare.
Comparison of Rising Medicare Costs
The rising costs of Medicare in Missouri have been significant from 2019 to 2023. The following are some of the key changes in Medicare costs over the past three years:
- Part A monthly premium if you don’t qualify for free premium: In 2019 premiums were from 240$ to 437$. In 2023 they are from 278$ to 506$ which is an increase of 15.8%.
- Part B monthly premium: In 2019 premium was set at 135.50%. In 2023 the monthly premium is 164.90$ which is an increase of 21.67$.
- Medicare Advantage premiums: In 2019, the average Medicare Advantage premium in Missouri was $20. By 2023, the average premium is 7.67$ which is a decrease of 61%.65.
- Part D premiums: In 2019, the average Part D premium in Missouri was $33. By 2023 it was $31.50 which is a decrease of 4.55%.
- Deductibles: In 2019, the Medicare Part A deductible in Missouri was $1,364. By 2022, this had risen to $1,484, an increase of 9%.
- Co-pays: In 2019, the average co-pay for a primary care visit in Missouri was $10. By 2023, this had risen to $20, an increase of 100%.
- Out-of-pocket maximums: In 2019, the out-of-pocket maximum for Medicare Advantage in Missouri was $6,700. By 2023, this had risen to $8300, an increase of 23.88%
The rising costs of Medicare in Missouri have put a strain on both patients and healthcare providers. Seniors who rely on Medicare for their healthcare needs are facing higher premiums, deductibles, and co-pays, which can make it difficult to afford necessary care. Healthcare providers, meanwhile, are facing the challenge of providing high-quality care while dealing with lower reimbursement rates from Medicare.
Strategies for Controlling Medicare Costs in Missouri
While the rising costs of Medicare in Missouri are a cause for concern, there are several strategies that patients and healthcare providers can use to help control these costs. Some of these strategies include:
- Researching Medicare plans: Seniors who are enrolled in Medicare should research their options carefully to find a plan that meets their needs and budget. By comparing plans, patients can find options that offer the most comprehensive coverage at the lowest cost.
- Taking advantage of preventive care: Medicare covers many preventive services, such as annual wellness visits and screenings for cancer and other conditions. By taking advantage of these services, patients can catch health issues early and avoid more costly care down the line.
- Considering telehealth program: Telehealth services can be a convenient and cost-effective option for seniors who need care but cannot leave their homes. By using telehealth services, patients can avoid the costs associated with in-person visits, such as transportation and parking.
- Negotiating with healthcare providers: Patients who are facing high healthcare costs should consider negotiating with their healthcare providers. In some cases, providers may be willing to offer discounts or payment plans to help patients afford the care they need.
- Supporting policy changes: Finally, patients and healthcare providers can support policy changes that aim to reduce the cost of healthcare in Missouri. By advocating for changes that promote transparency, competition, and innovation in the healthcare industry, stakeholders can help to create a more affordable and sustainable healthcare system.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on healthcare systems in Missouri, including Medicare costs. While healthcare costs were already a concern for patients and providers before the pandemic, the surge in demand for healthcare services, the shortage of medical supplies and equipment, and the increased use of telehealth services have all contributed to rising Medicare costs in Missouri.
Despite these challenges, patients and healthcare providers have several strategies for controlling Medicare costs, including researching plans, taking advantage of preventive care, considering telehealth services, negotiating with healthcare providers, and supporting policy changes.
If you need help with affording health coverage, make sure to read about Tips For Finding Affordable Medicare Coverage in Missouri.
If you have any additional questions about Medicare coverage and increased rates, talk to experienced Medicare insurance agents at Missouri Medicare Advisors. We are ready to help you with comparing your plan options and finding the best solution that fits your budget and needs!