Positive Impacts for Senior Love Ones Under the Affordable Care Act

There has been a great deal of buzz – and many strong feelings – recently with the Supreme Court upholding the bulk of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Putting aside the politics and looking to the implementation, do you know how the ACA impacts your senior loved ones and ultimately you as a family member or caregiver?

The ACA is widely viewed as a victory for America’s senior population because it has the potential to strengthen Medicare, improve healthcare services provided to our seniors and protect seniors from elder abuse, but many are still unsure what it means for their aging family members.

Affordable Care Act and Seniors

What changes will seniors and caregivers find in the Affordable Care Act to help them stay well?

  1. Medicare and Medicaid benefits providing access to healthcare will continue for our seniors aged 65 and older.
  2. Prescription drug costs will continue to be covered up to a certain amount under the Part D benefit and the gap known as the donut hole will be lessened for those under Part D. Drug companies are required to reduce prices for Medicare beneficiaries who fall into the donut hole providing a 50% discount on their brand name drugs. By 2020, Part D beneficiaries will only pay 25% once they enter the donut hole.
  3. Increased access to preventive healthcare services will continue under the ACA. Currently more than 12 million Medicare users received at least one free preventive service so far in 2012.  A deductible and copay are no longer required for many preventive visits and tests including mammography, diabetes screenings and a multitude of other health and wellness visits/screenings.
  4. The ACA will also protect seniors from unnecessary higher rates for healthcare based on their age and chronic health conditions.
  5. The plan will also improve the delivery of healthcare and the coordination of care for seniors among various providers.
  6. Medicare Advantage plans are prohibited from charging higher cost-sharing fees for seniors receiving chemotherapy and dialysis.
  7. Grants are being funded to help hospital systems work with seniors who are at high risk for frequent hospital readmissions.
  8. The Elder Justice Act protecting seniors from crimes and abuse including physical and mental abuse and financial exploitation was enacted under the ACA.

Seniors and their family caregivers need help negotiating the maze of healthcare and peace of mind that their loved ones are receiving all the benefits and care for which they are entitled. We hope that through the enactment and implementation of the Affordable Care Act – or through its replacement should that occur – our seniors will get just that.