First up on the Republican agenda: repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare. Throughout his campaign, President Donald Trump promised to do away with the ACA, but how will this change affect the millions of Medicare beneficiaries?
In short, the ACA requires that all Americans have health insurance that meets a certain standard, whether by an employer or another source. Medicare beneficiaries, specifically, are guaranteed preventative care coverage by their insurers. If the ACA is repealed, this requirement will no longer be in effect and much of the cost of preventative care services will fall to seniors.
The cost of prescription drugs may also go up for Medicare beneficiaries due to the infamous “doughnut hole,” the period of time where seniors are responsible for the entire cost of their prescription drugs. Medicare Part D effectively lowered the cost of drugs for seniors, thus fighting the effects of the doughnut hole and ultimately taking steps toward phasing it out completely by 2020. Through policies put in place by the ACA, the price seniors paid for prescription drugs was capped at 50% in 2011, with plans for a steady drop until the gap was eliminated. The prices of services provided under Medicare managed-care may also rise, which could then increase premiums and up-front costs.
The ACA also had measures in place to support and strengthen Medicare, along with programs specifically created to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, these changes have made it possible for the Medicare hospital insurance fund to last an estimated 11 years longer than it would have prior to the ACA.
If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, these factors could have a great impact on the coverage and cost for Medicare beneficiaries, as well as those aged 55+ who are soon to be eligible.
To learn more about what repealing the ACA means for Medicare, click here. If you need legal help regarding a Medicare matter, contact a Longmont lawyer at Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C.