The issue of healthcare reform has always been a hot topic among Americans. But when it comes to senior citizens in West Palm Beach and throughout South Florida, it’s an especially serious issue. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare”, was one of the most talked- about political issues of the past year. As we move into 2014, perhaps no demographic group will be affected by Obamacare more than the elderly population.
Americans are living longer than ever before and no group is growing faster than South Florida’s senior citizens. Thousands of seniors are accustomed to living to receiving their health insurance coverage through Medicare and Medicaid. But how does Obamacare affect their future? One of the first things people should know is the new Affordable Care Act does not provide new insurance. It’s simply a reform of the existing American health care system. The change in the health care system always brings fear. It’s a particular concern in the elderly community. But it’s important to know the Affordable Care Act does not take money away from the Medicare Trust Fund. According to SeniorCorps.gov, savings will come from eliminating fraud and adjusting the pay schedule for Medicare Advantage.
The biggest concern is whether premiums will rise for seniors. It’s an especially sensitive issue for seniors living on fixed incomes. When the Affordable Care Act was initially passed, one false email attributed to the AARP had estimated that seniors would pay $247 more monthly for their insurance. However, the AARP reported the email was fraudulent and designed as a scare tactic. However, seniors can expect to see a 6 to 9 percent increase in their premiums due to rising health care costs. Research from FactCheck.org also estimates there will be a 1 to 3 percent increase on top of the 6 to 9 percent from the original estimates.
Here are some of the main things to focus on concerning Obamacare and how it affects the elderly. The information below is provided from healthcare.gov
- There will be no reduction or elimination of existing Medicare covered benefits. Anyone can select their own physician and participate in normal health checkups through Medicare.
- Seniors enrolled in Medicare received a $250 tax-free rebate to help pay for prescriptions during the first year of Obamacare.
- Seniors will receive continuous Medicare coverage for prescription drugs from now through 2020.
- Certain preventative services, such as annual wellness exams, will be covered by Medicare without a separate charge or Part B co-insurance or deductible.
- By reducing Medicare waste, fraud and abuse, seniors will receive future cost savings on premiums and co-insurance.
- Obamacare has established an Independent At Home program which enables those with chronic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, receive treatment in their homes by a team of doctors, nurse practitioners, geriatric pharmacists and other health care professionals.