Obamacare, Medicare and Seniors – What’s Changing?
Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the new law has been part of great debate and bitter fighting within congress and a big question marks for citizens. A good portion of Obamacare affects Medicare and the seniors who depend on it. Here is some information regarding the known effects the medicare system.
Cost of Premiums
For the most part, seniors will not experience any significant increases in their basic medicare premiums for plans A & B over the next 5 years. However, Medicare Advantage beneficiaries will experience a 4%-7% increase in their premiums for plan D. This was done to close the “donut hole” currently caused by high out of pocket costs for prescriptions paid by a small number of seniors.
Under Obamacare, it would appear that seniors will get hit with higher taxes in three ways. First, a new tax is being levied on prescription drugs and medical devices. Seniors are the major consumers of these products. Second, the law calls for reduced deductibility of medical costs. Finally, the 3.8% medicare tax on unearned and investment income will affect seniors who live off of their investments.
This is a win for seniors. They will be able to get preventative care at no cost under Obamacare. This will include cancer screenings, annual physicals, flu shots, immunization vaccines, personalized prevention plans and testing for medical problems such as diabetes or mammograms.
Access to Care
There is much evidence that hospitals and doctors are dropping medicare at an alarming rate. The likely causes of this would be lower medicare payments to doctor, the possible actions of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), the increase of government regulations and the uncertainty of future payments.
This is another win for seniors as most of them have some type of pre-existing condition. Obamacare eliminates the ability of insurance carriers to deny coverage to individuals with a pre-existing condition. This provision will give seniors more freedom to shop Medicare Advantage carriers like Cobalt Health for the lowest premiums.
The Future of Medicare
Nothing was done in Obamacare to fix the possibility, according to some estimates, medicare will be depleted by 2026. This is a huge concern to individuals who are closing in on retirement.
The overall effects of Obamacare are still under scrutiny. One thing is certain. Seniors will be paying close attention in the coming years.
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