Here we are at the doorstep of the midterm election. There is a tremendous victory for President Trump, and it is completely unnoticed. This victory happens to affect the largest segment of voters, who also happen to have the largest turnout at the polls.
What is this victory? Something that concerns Medicare. This election season, like every election season, occurs during Medicare’s open enrollment. This is the enrollment period for those who are retired and are receiving their health coverage through Medicare. It starts every October 15th and goes through the first week of December.
During each open season, Medicare beneficiaries can opt for new coverage, change their existing coverage, or move to a different plan. This year seniors are getting a very specific treat – lower costs.
While it is true Medicare has announced that there will be a 1.12 percent increase in the Medicare Part B premium from $134 per month to $135.50 a month. The good news is the cost for the other coverage that seniors must enroll into or face a late enrollment penalty, Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage), is going to experience a significant decrease in premium cost. This will be the second year in a row of decreasing premiums.
Since the creation of Medicare Part D, there has never been a period of two years in a row that premiums have decreased. That’s right – never! What is amazing is that not one politician, even the President himself who is found of boasting about his administrations’ accomplishments, is mentioning this.
In 2019 the monthly national average premium for Part D coverage will be $46.27, which is a 10.23 percent decrease in price from the $52.02 a month national average premium in 2018.
This premium reflects the costs based on the data that is provided by both the private health insurers that administer this coverage and the Centers of Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS).
The good news for seniors, the ones who vote the most and vote more frequently than any other segment of our population according to Elect Project.org , is that in key battleground states this decrease has been even larger.
For instance, let’s look at Missouri, which, according to Ballot Pedia, is a battleground state for the incumbent Democrat, Part D premiums have decreased by as much as 16.77 percent!
In Utah, which is a battleground state for the incumbent Republican, Part D premiums have fallen by as much as 25.33 percent! That state’s average premium in 2018 was $66.52 a month and in 2019 it will be $49.67 a month.
For the Republican in Utah, it should be a no-brainer to announce this great news of what the current Congress and President Trump have done. Though it should be noted that many politicians probably want to distant themselves from Medicare as the costs will most likely skyrocket in the future.
Another battleground state is Arizona, which has an open seat for Senate. If seniors take notice that while under President Trump their prescription drug has dropped, they just might vote to keep things constant by replacing the retiring senator with a senator from the same party.
More interesting data… retirees in 3 states, Utah, Idaho and Nevada, will see a decrease in premiums by about 20 percent. Granted, they might have to shop for a new plan to realize these savings. Twenty-two states will see decreases in the range of 10.71 percent (Florida) and 16.77 percent (Missouri).
Out of the 50 states there are only 2 that have seen an increase in premiums, Delaware and Maryland, and the increase, 0.79 percent, is still well below the norm for increases in healthcare and health insurance.
With just days until the election, will this news and this decrease in price concerning something that seniors have to buy, be the reason why their turnout and their votes go a certain way? We may know soon.
Amazingly, not one politician, not even President Trump, is talking about how they helped the largest voting block in the United States. You would think this incredible period in modern times with actual decreases in health-related costs for many Americans would be something to shout about. In a good way.