The Affordable Care Act and You: Six Benefits Seniors Receive From ACA

Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 1:00 PM | Leave Comment

The Affordable Care Act works well with the Medicare program to ensure that citizens on Medicare will continue to receive affordable, accessible healthcare; in fact, coverage is extended in several cases. The health care law protects and seeks to improve health care for senior citizens.

  • No Further Action Required for Current Medicare

    Medicare has nothing to do with the Marketplace; senior citizens receiving Medicare Part A don’t have to use the Marketplace of health insurance exchanges to find adequate health care plans that meet the new minimum coverage requirements.

    However, those with only Medicare Part B have not met the minimum coverage requirements and may have to pay the penalties unless they find some additional coverage that satisfies the minimum essential coverage.

  • Free Services

    The expansion of Medicare benefits includes essential services, some of which are now available at no cost. That includes preventive care such as mammograms, cancer screenings, diabetes screenings, flu shots, tobacco cessation treatments, and at least one wellness visit each year where a patient can speak to a doctor about any health-related concerns.

  • Lower Premiums

    Overall, costs are going down for seniors. In 2012, the annual deductible for Medicare Part B decreased $22 to $140; that’s the first time the deductible has gone down in Medicare’s history. For 2014, neither the Part B premium nor deductible have increased.

  • Same or Increased Medicare Benefits

    Contrary to some early fears, the ACA does not, in any way, take away from the benefits and coverage provided by medicare. the new health care law ensures the protection and continuation of Medicare for the elderly.

    complements the medicare program and the benefits guaranteed by the social security act to senior citizens. In addition, it looks to increase some coverage over time.

    For example, the part of prescription drugs missed by Medicare known as the “doughnut hole” will be closed by 2020; 2014’s percentages of 47.5 and 72 for brand-name and generic drugs respectively will drop to 25 percent paid by Medicare beneficiaries by 2020.

  • Improvements in Medicare Advantage Plans

    For certain specialized care and services, Medicare Advantage plans cannot charge more than traditional plans to those enrolled. These services include the administration of chemotherapy and skilled care in nursing homes.

    The law also restricts amounts spent toward administration costs, splurges for the insurance companies, and non-health care items. The changes have lowered Medicare Advantage premiums by 9.8 percent since 2010.

  • Refining Service Delivery and Payments

    The ACA has established the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to research and improve how health care is delivered to patients.

    Among the aims of the research are both the reduction of delivery costs and overall Medicare spending without compromising quality.

    Important to these goals are coordinating care and services for hospital-exiting patients in ways that reduce the rate of unnecessary hospital re admissions.

Due to resistance to the federal act, a Supreme Court ruling in 2012 allowed states to opt-out of expanding Medicare and Medicaid with the aid of federal subsidies.

Therefore, coverage and pricing varies greatly according to how each state decided to implement the Affordable Care Act and those complementary, federally-subsidized programs.

Out of the 50 states, 27 have full compliance with the Affordable Care Act. Nevertheless, seniors in all states should benefit from the Affordable Care Act.

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