Many of you are probably wondering if Obamacare will affect your Medicare and Medicare supplement plans. The answer is yes, Obamacare WILL bring about changes to your Medicare plan(s). However, the good news is that the changes will be slight.
I know that there have been a lot of questions and concerns surrounding Obamacare, especially now that the exchanges are actually open. One of the biggest concerns is whether or not Obamacare will replace Medicare.
The answer to that concern is no, Obamacare will not replace Medicare. Furthermore, the enactment of Obamacare will in no way affect the eligibility age for Medicare, nor will you have to pay a fine for not enrolling in the exchanges as Medicare meets all of the requirements set by the ACA.
Even better, Obamacare requires that Medicare providers cover even MORE services, such as preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies, and that they not charge a deductible or a copayment. Retirees will also receive an annual wellness visit with their doctor. Flu, hepatitis and pneumonia vaccines are also offered free of charge.
Then there is the donut hole. If you’re currently on Medicare, you know that after you’ve exited the initial Part D prescription coverage limit, you will have to pay 100 percent of the cost of prescriptions until you reach a certain amount; this gap is called the “donut hole.”
Under the ACA, by 2020 this donut hole will no longer exist. Until then, however, Medicare recipients will get graduated discounts for brand and generic drugs while they are in that coverage gap.
The only changes you might see that you won’t like are to Medicare Advantage and Medicare supplement plans’ reimbursement rates. Right now, Medigap plans see a 14 percent higher reimbursement rate than regular Medicare plans. The Affordable Care Act might bring lower reimbursement rates for these plans, which might change the amount of benefits you receive per plan. However, this is just speculation, and we will see what actual changes you will see as the ACA unfolds.
No matter what changes the Affordable Care Act brings, though, we are here for you all the way. Visit our website to see how we can help you make the most of these changes, or even eliminate their impact entirely.
Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage. For more information visit www.MediGapAdvisors.com.