Obamacare and Medicare

The word is starting to get out about Obamacare and the requirement that everyone sign up for health insurance through their state marketplace. I’ve gotten calls and email from clients who are on Medicare and are wondering if they need to do something.  The answer is “no”.

People on Medicare do not need to pay attention to all the talk about health insurance exchanges.  The mandate to enroll in health insurance is for people under 65.  Medicare is the national health insurance program for people over 65 and certain younger people who are disabled.

How does Obamacare affect Medicare?

Obamcare does not “raid Medicare” or “steal” $500 billion from Medicare.  The Affordable Care Act makes changes to the way hospitals are paid, resulting in savings for Medicare. And the Affordable Care Act makes changes to how much insurance companies are paid for Medicare Advantage plans, again saving money for Medicare.  Because of these and other changes, the Affordable Care Act extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by ten years.

Fighting Fraud:  The health care law aggressively goes after Medicare fraud with tougher screening procedures, stronger penalties, and new technology. Over the last four years, fraud enforcement efforts have recovered $14.9 billion.

The Affordable Care Act added a long list of preventive services to Medicare coverage with no deductibles or co-pays. In 2012 an estimated 34.1 million people benefited from Medicare’s coverage of preventive services with no cost-sharing.  In Arizona, 434,397 individuals with traditional Medicare used one or more free preventive service in 2012.

The Affordable Care Act made changes to Part D drug coverage resulting in significant savings for people with high prescription drug costs. In Arizona, people with Medicare saved nearly $123 million on prescription drugs.  In 2012 65,267 individuals in Arizona saved over $45 million, or an average of $689 per beneficiary.

In 2013, people with Medicare who go into the “donut hole” receive a 56 percent discount on covered brand name drugs.  Over 6.6 million people on Medicare have saved over $7 billion on drugs since the law’s enactment.  In addition, the average premium for a basic Part D drug plan in 2014 is projected to remain stable for the fourth year in a row, at an estimated $31 per month.

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