Medicare, Millennials, and Genetic Cancer ScreeningsThe fact that Medicare covers genetic cancer screenings might be a great thing for Millennials. However, it can also have a negative impact. When it comes to Medicare Supplement cost and preventative medicine, it’s important to consider all sides.
What could be wrong with genetic cancer screenings? These tests look for genetic mutations that could predict future health concerns, including risk of cancer. However, Millennials also have to think about their Medicare Supplement cost potential.
Today’s Medicare beneficiaries can benefit significantly from genetic cancer screenings. If you know that you’re at greater risk for prostate cancer than the average person, for instance, you might visit your doctor more frequently to check for abnormal cells.
In terms of Millennials, on the other hand, Medicare Supplement costs could increase significantly based on genetic cancer screenings in the future. There are no guarantees about how Medigap plans’ costs will change in the future, and many private health insurance companies might begin offering free genetic cancer screenings to younger members of the population.
Let’s look at some of the ways in which you can manage your current or future Medicare Supplement costs based on how you approach genetic cancer screenings.
MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES CAN BENEFIT GREATLY FROM GENETIC CANCER SCREENINGS
Genetic cancer screenings look for specific genetic markers or mutations that make a cancer diagnosis likely or close to inevitable. They allow people, from Millennials to retirees, to prepare for the future and to take better care of themselves. Medicare will begin to cover these cancer screenings in 2018, and private insurers for individual and group plans are expected to follow suit.
If you are currently a Medicare beneficiary, there is no reason not to avail yourself of genetic cancer screenings. Your Medicare Supplement cost won’t increase as a result because your insurer can’t take into account pre-existing conditions or increased risk of developing a certain type of cancer.
If you know that you have an increased risk of developing cancer, it’s better to know now. You and your primary care physician can work out ways to screen you more frequently for the actual disease and to take any necessary preventative measures.
MILLENNIALS WILL ALSO HAVE INCREASINGLY RELIABLE ACCESS TO GENETIC CANCER SCREENINGS
As mentioned above, insurance coverage changes often happen from Medicare on down. This is especially true when it comes to Medicare Supplement costs. It’s less expensive for an insurer to pay for screenings and catch cancers earlier than to wait until cancer is identified through a routine well-woman or -man exam.
Certain cancers are more common in younger adults than others, including breast cancer, melanoma, and leukemia. Even though cancer is more prevalent in older adults, Millennials need to remain vigilant about their health.
MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT COSTS MIGHT INCREASE
Unfortunately for Millennials, Medicare Supplement costs might increase as a result of these extra covered services. If you think you might want a Medigap plan, cost could become an issue. Genetic cancer screenings are something of a double-edged sword, especially for younger generations.
The good news is that you can pay out-of-pocket for genetic screenings, as we’ll describe below, but that can be tough to swing for many Millennials. Genetic cancer screening can cost anywhere from $100 to $2,000 or more. The cost goes up if the screening is more reliable when multiple family members are tested.
Even retirees have to remember that the free genetic testing doesn’t cover everything. Your Medicare supplement costs can still go up when it comes to out-of-pocket expenses because you might want more thorough testing than the FDA has approved.
GENETIC DISCRIMINATION EXISTS
Unfortunately, genetic discrimination exists. It’s against the law, but that doesn’t mean it never happens. By law, insurance companies and employers can’t require or use genetic screening to determine Medicare Supplement cost or any other healthcare cost.
Millennials might feel more comfortable keeping that information private, though, except within the confines of doctor-patient privilege. If you feel that way, paying out-of-pocket might be a reasonable alternative.
PAYING OUT-OF-POCKET CAN PREVENT GENETIC DISCRIMINATION
Even though you’ll have to come up with the money out-of-pocket for genetic cancer screenings, you might feel safer knowing that only you and your physician know the results. Outside of Medicare Supplement cost and similar factors, genetic cancer screenings can get emotional.
Knowing that you have an increased risk for a serious disease might be too much to endure if you know the information is available to your insurer. Decisions Millennials make today can impact their future Medigap plans’ costs as well as their current emotional health.
GENETIC SCREENINGS AREN’T ALWAYS PREDICTIVE
With that said, remember that genetic screenings don’t tell you that you will get cancer. They identify markers that increase your risk for certain cancers. An unfortunate result doesn’t mean you should resign yourself to cancer or assume that your Medicare Supplement costs will increase once you reach retirement age.
As mentioned previously, cancer is far more common in older adults. You might opt to wait until you reach retirement age to take advantage of Medicare’s free genetic cancer screenings. That’s entirely up to you and your physician and what your existing insurance plan will pay.
Cancer is one of the scariest types of diseases, both for younger adults and retirees. Medicare Supplement insurance can help you offset out-of-pocket costs related to cancer treatment as long as you sign up for a Medigap plan during your initial enrollment period.
Additionally, your Medicare Supplement cost goes down when you don’t have to pay out-of-pocket for genetic cancer screenings. Millennials can expect other screenings and preventive health services to fall under Medicare’s purview before they reach retirement age, so the landscape might be completely different then.
Don’t panic about your potential Medicare Supplement cost. Instead, focus on maintaining your health as proactively as possible. Preparing for Medicare Supplement insurance is one of the best ways to go.