There’s much to be concerned about when it comes to healthcare and the nation’s elderly. The nation as a whole, and certainly Vermont residents, feel cornered because of all of the many changes, proposed changes and players in the healthcare game. There are simply too many unanswered questions and confusion over the various programs as a whole. For Vermont seniors and elderly, the stakes were just raised. If nothing else, the current goings-on are a reminder of just how important estate planning is. This week, we take a look at the latest controversy in Vermont and its efforts of creating a healthcare system to benefit all.
In late February, Senate Finance Committee Chair Tim Ashe announced his plans to require Medicare beneficiaries to take action before they become eligible for secondary coverage through Vermont’s planned universal health care program. It didn’t take long before other lawmakers and healthcare professionals began looking past the initial changes and what they would mean for the state’s seniors.
For instance, Senator Kevin Mullin, R-Rutland, said that if secondary coverage to Medicare beneficiaries, via Green Mountain Care, was required, it would equate to bad policy. He went so far as to say, “Senior citizens are going to be treated as second class citizens if we pass this bill.”
It’s only been since 2011 that Vermont passed a law that established the nation’s first statewide single payer healthcare system. It creates a platform that allows Vermonters to receive universal health care via the latest in technological advances.
“How we address Medicare enrollees is something that we should think about this year,” Rutland said.
Meanwhile, Ashe has been making his own arguments, “If seniors on Medicare fall into the same tax structure as everyone else, they will essentially be getting “double charged.” The taxes, he explained, have already been paid over the course of one’s working life.
Many also say that moving forward this will be anything but simplifying the process for seniors and that asking them to make these types of choices when they don’t have all of the information would put them at a distinct disadvantage.
Green Mountain Care
Vermont’s single payer healthcare system, Green Mountain Care, hasn’t been without its own problems and controversies. Many say the efforts of the company are woefully short – especially considering the costs.
Administration officials have pegged the cost of covering everyone expected to be on Medicare in 2017 – when Green Mountain Care launches – at $89 million. With federal employees and military that total would be $112 million.
Remember, at this point, it’s anyone’s guess as to how anyone will even make payments as there is no definitive
financing mechanism in place of the state’s program. What many do agree on, however, is that the Green Mountain Care benefit will be higher. Whatever the difference ultimately becomes will certainly affect the amount seniors on Medicare need to pay into the system.
Wondering if you or your elderly loved one have options when it comes to medical cover that you may not be aware exist? If so, we welcome the opportunity to meet with you. Schedule your complimentary consultation today. Our caring and compassionate healthcare lawyers stand ready to help in any way we can, just as we have helped thousands of Vermont seniors with their estate planning efforts, Medicaid coverage and more. We’re here to help answer your questions and ensure you’re not left vulnerable.