Medicare Faqs

What Is Means Testing?
clips 0
save to my clip files

Within the context of Medicare reform, means testing involves scaling Medicare benefits according to income. Generally, this means that higher-income beneficiaries pay a larger portion of their health care expenses (for example, through higher premiums and co-payments). More extensive means testing for Medicare has been proposed as a way to reduce spending in the program. This could put the program on a more sustainable path while protecting enrollees who are least able to afford their health care costs.

RELATED More Means-Testing in Medicare: Will It Impact Middle-Class Seniors?

Premiums for Medicare Part B are already tied to beneficiaries’ income levels. In some cases, higher-income beneficiaries also pay more for Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D), although this varies by plan.

President Barack Obama said during debt limit and spending cut negotiations in 2011 that he would be open to expanded means testing for Medicare to make the program more sustainable. However, in November 2012, White House spokesman Jay Carney wouldn’t say whether means testing was still on the table for Obama as an option in ongoing negotiations to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” according to ABC News

Other policymakers have voiced support for means testing to reduce the deficit. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D.-Mo.)—chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus—has said more aggressive means testing would be preferable to cutting benefits if reductions in Medicare spending must be made.

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) have also indicated they would be open to means-testing Medicare as part of a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.

Following Obama’s announcement that he is open to expanded means testing, AARP Senior Vice President Joyce Rogers voiced his organization’s opposition to the idea, saying that Medicare isn’t a welfare program and  means testing seniors’ earned benefits will erode popular support for the program.

Other critics of expanded means testing in Medicare as a deficit-reduction strategy have argued that it wouldn’t result in much savings since there aren’t many enrollees wealthy enough to afford significant cost-sharing. Another concern is that it will punish those who work the hardest and save the most money, discouraging people from accumulating wealth and harming the economy.

Related FAQs

How Much Does Medicare Medical Insurance (Part B) Cost for Beneficiaries?

What Cost-Sharing Obligations Do Beneficiaries Have Under Medicare Hospital Insurance (Part A) and Medicare Medical Insurance (Part B)?

How Are Medicare Premiums Calculated?

Talk to Us
Do you have a question about
The Medicare NewsGroup?
SEND US A MESSAGE
Help us keep the website as
up-to-date as possible.
REPORT AN ERROR
Snapshots
Sep
01
Today In Medicare
October 01-02 Reduction in Medicare Disproportionate Hospital Share payments
Washington, D.C.
SEARCH MEDICARE CALENDAR, EVENTS, MEETINGS
Featured Statistic
$5,300 in prescription drug costs : Older Americans with five or more chronic conditions incurred an average of $5,300 in prescription drug costs in 2008, compared to $1,230 for those with no chronic conditions. more statistics
Medicare Tweets
Key to Icons
Comments: Number of times content has been mentioned by users
Clips: Number of times content has been clipped by users
Save to My Clip Files: Save to your clip files
Search Related News: See other relevant content on MedicareNewsGroup.com
Download: Downloads files to your desktop
Move Up/Down: Allows you to reorder items in your clip files
Delete: Enables you to remove content from My Clip Files or My Contacts
Archive: Saves content for later review
Make Active: Transfers story from Archived Stories to Active Stories
Notes: Add notes to My Clip Files
Print: Print selected content
Show All
Get Help Here
Tutorials and tips on how
to get the most from MedicareNewsGroup.com.
SHOW ME


Don't Show Me Again

MedicareNewsGroup.com is a great resource for anyone who wants to stay up-to-date on Medicare and health care news

Everyday, The Medicare NewsGroup aggregates the latest stories, key facts, diverse expert opinions, research, reports and legislation, so that you can filter through information quickly and achieve a deeper understanding of the politics and policies impacting Medicare. If you are a journalist covering Medicare, our original and curated content delivers timely information that can be critical to helping you complete your assignment.

Our custom tool sets and information save you precious time and give you total editorial control in a secure environment. From saving clips to creating your own contact database to accessing our photo and video libraries, you can always rely on MedicareNewsGroup.com to help you research and write a better story faster.

Registration is FREE, QUICK and EASY! Don't forget to sign up for our daily news update.