WHAT IS THE AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE ACT?
The new healthcare law, called the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was signed into effect in 2010. The ACA was designed to take effect in phases with the largest changes coming in 2014. By law, everyone will have to carry health insurance now. The Medicaid program will be expanded in some states to cover more people and financial assistance will be available for people who can't afford coverage.
HOW DOES THE AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE ACT AFFECT ME AS A SENIOR CITIZEN?
I Am Covered
If you have Medicare, Medicaid, are covered by an employer, or pay for your own coverage, you may not experience many new changes to your medical coverage. If you currently have Medicare, your Medicare coverage is protected. Medicare isn’t part of the Health Insurance Marketplace established by ACA, so you don't have to replace your Medicare coverage with Marketplace coverage. No matter how you get Medicare, whether through Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan, you’ll still have the same benefits and security you have now. You won’t have to make any changes.
I Am Not Covered
There are many reasons people are uninsured. The new healthcare law expands access to individuals and families who have not had or could not afford health insurance. Starting on October 1, 2013, U.S. citizens and legal residents can use the online marketplaces called 'exchanges' to purchase health insurance.
WILL MY MEDICARE BENEFITS BE CUT UNDER THE NEW LAW?
No, the Affordable Care Act does not eliminate or reduce benefits provided under Medicare.
I AM A RETIRED SENIOR AND HAVE MY CURRENT PRESCRIPTION DRUG PLAN THROUGH MY FORMER EMPLOYER, BUT I HEAR THAT I WILL BE FORCED ONTO THE GOVERNMENT PRESCRIPTION DRUG PLAN FROM THE NEW LAW. IS THIS TRUE?
No. No one will be forced into a government prescription drug plan under the health care reform law. For more information on the new health reform law please visit here and here.
MY PRESCRIPTION DRUG COSTS PUSH ME INTO THE “DOUGHNUT HOLE” EVERY YEAR. WILL I RECEIVE ANY RELIEF UNDER THE NEW LAW?
Seniors who reach the gap in prescription drug coverage known as the “doughnut hole” will receive a $250 rebate in 2010. Beginning in 2011, those in the “doughnut hole” will receive a 50% discount on prescription drugs and the gap will be phased out until it is eliminated in 2020.
I CURRENTLY HAVE A MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLAN. WILL I BE ABLE TO KEEP IT?
Yes. The Affordable Healthcare Act does not require individuals to drop their Medicare Advantage coverage. Under these plans, physicians have been encouraged in the treatment of preventative health care and screenings. These plans have been around for several years and will continue to be graded for higher level of services. If you currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, look for your rights and protections to be strengthened.
MY HEALTHCARE AND THE FUTURE
The best way to stay healthy is to avoid getting sick in the first place. For over 15 years Island Doctors has the experience in effectively managing the cost of health care of its patients by one simple rule: “incorporating healthy habits into the lifestyles of our patients.” Preventive screenings and regular checkups are supposed to catch problems before they become serious. Ask us, “what’s the advantage about Medicare Advantage?”