Obamacare’s Impact on Seniors in West Palm Beach

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.

Recognize the Signs of a Stroke

Senior care providers in West Palm Beach and across the country have seen many people as a stroke occurs and as a result, they know the importance of understanding when a stroke is taking place—and how to respond. Elder care providers need to be well-versed in the warning signs of a stroke considering taking quick action makes a real difference in the outcome. Here are five stroke symptoms to look out for:

1. Numbness in the face, arm, or leg (this includes weakness in these areas)

2. Confusion, difficulty speaking, or a hard time understanding others

3. Vision impairment in one or both eyes

4. Difficulty walking or maintaining balance; dizziness and loss of coordination

5. A severe headache with no apparent cause All of these symptoms appear extremely suddenly.

Once they strike, it is imperative that stroke victims receive medical attention right away. Dealing with this kind of an emergency situation can be overwhelming. Learning the basic stroke symptoms, listed above, can help you detect the tell tale signs. But when your adrenaline is pumping, remembering these signs can seem next to impossible. To help you remember what to do in case your elderly loved one has a stroke, memorize this acronym:FAST.

F: If you suspect a stroke, ask the elderly individual to smile. Does one side of their face react while the other droops?

A: When the individual lifts both of their arms, do they go up evenly? Stroke victims will often have one arm that stays lower than the other.

S: Speech is a commonly impaired capability when a stroke occurs. Ask the potential stroke victim to repeat a very simple sentence. Are they able to do it, or is their speech slurred or otherwise abnormal?

T: Getting help in a timely manner is crucial to the health of your elderly loved one.

Call 9-1-1 immediately if any of these signs occur. Strokes are sudden, jarring conditions that can threaten the life of your elderly loved one. As a result, it is important that you remember these symptoms and act quickly if they develop. The dedicated in home care experts at Always Best Care West Palm Beach know the warning signs of a stroke and are trained to act quickly in case of emergency.