IU Health is planning to roll out new lower-cost benefits, including cost reductions for patients battling kidney disease, through its Medicare Advantage plans in 2023. The healthcare system says the reductions will help encourage patients to obtain proper care.
IU Health Plans says additional new benefits include a $100 reduction in the $165 monthly Medicare Part B premium, which is expected to save an individual $1,200 a year. Other enhancements include a zero deductible for all prescription drugs, an extension of a zero premium plan to an additional 22 counties, and an increase in a quarterly allowance for over-the-counter medicines.
“These are very tangible savings to consumers and align with IU Health’s efforts to make healthcare more affordable and our members healthier,” said Stephanie Motter, president of IU Health Plans.
IU Health says individuals with kidney disease often face high costs that prevent them from obtaining proper care. The new plan eliminates the $35 copay for nephrology visits and the 20%, or $850 a month, Medicare coinsurance for dialysis. The plan is designed to delay the disease’s progression and reduce reliance on emergency rooms and hospitals.
The Hoosier State ranks seventh highest for kidney disease mortality.
“We intend to negate the financial barriers that make it difficult for our patients to get the care they need,” said Dr. Brent Miller, nephrologist at IU Health. “This will improve lives of patients with kidney disease, which disproportionately affects minorities and the poor.”
The Medicare Advantage annual enrollment period begins Oct. 15 and benefits will be effective January 1.