The proposal is labeled “cost sharing.”

Maybe you’ve heard, or maybe not, but there are several proposals submitted in Washington that would change the complete structure of Medicare as it currently exists.

The “bipartisan thinking” in Washington wants to completely revise the structure of Medicare payments, and Medicare as it exists today.

The proponents want to hide this change to Medicare in the budget process for fiscal year 2014.

These Washington politicians think they can shelter themselves from scrutiny by saying that the proposal is a bipartisan measure.

The perception is that there is Medicare recipient overutilization of benefits with no out-of-pocket expense by an individual who chooses to have a Medigap/Supplement Plan C or F.

Currently Medicare has four parts:

Part A covers hospitalization and skilled nursing.

Part B covers doctor and outpatient care.

Part C is the Medicare advantage program.

Part D covers prescription drugs.

Part A has a deductible of $1,184 in 2013 per 60-day benefit period. Medicare enrollees could potentially encounter 2, 3, or 4 deductible periods of 1,184 each in a calendar year.

Medicare supplement products, or medigap, are currently allowed to cover these deductibles each time an enrollee goes to the hospital.

Part B has an annual deductible of $147 in 2013 and Medicare supplement products are currently allowed to cover this annual deductible.

What’s happening behind the scenes…and what only a handful of Medicare people know about…

“cost sharing” proponents want to combine the Part A and Part B deductibles into one annual deductible of $550.

There’s probably little objection to combining the deductibles and the idea could be less confusing for Medicare recipients.

However, a 50% co-insurance obligation of the next $5000 of expenses would also go into effect after the $550 deductible.

THIS IS NOT GOOD LEGISLATION FOR MEDICARE, MEDICARE RECIPIENTS OR THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER.

The problem with this idea is that proponents want Seniors to pay more out-of-pocket money in order to cover this deductible.

There’s more… 

Currently about 10 million Americans who own Medicare supplements or Medigap policies pay premiums to cover those gaps with a plan of their choice…

NOT ONE CHOSEN FOR THEM BY THE GOVERNMENT.

Proponents of “cost sharing” want to apply a tax surcharge of 15% to enrollees who purchase Plans C and F driving up the cost of the Part B premium to Medicare recipients, presently $104.90 per month in 2013.

There are major problems with this thinking:

Medicare would segregate 6.5 million people from the total Medicare enrollment and discriminate by raising the monthly Part B premium with a tax or surcharge for simply choosing a supplement policy that fits a need.

The proponents who are promoting “cost sharing” are apparently unaware that half of the Medicare supplement policy choices, currently offered today, already contain “cost sharing” choices.

So, what does Congress gain by changing the Medicare supplement program?

IT’S SIMPLY TO GET MORE OUT-OF-POCKET MONEY FROM MEDICARE RECIPIENTS.