Insuring Your Future: The Affordable Care Act – Ready or Not Here it Comes!

I recently spent the day as an exhibitor at the Orange Business & Community Expo and the main topic of conversation among other business owners, recent college grads (and their parents) and senior citizens was “ I’m worried about “Obamacare” and how it’s going to affect me.{{more}} What will I gain or lose and how much will it cost?” So, in my next few columns I will address the impact of the Affordable Care Act by groups; those on Medicare, small and large business owners, and individuals under 65. Hopefully it will dispel many of the myths that are circulating as well as alleviate some of your concerns. The new plans will be “rolled out” beginning in October and will go into effect Jan. 1.

Seniors and the Affordable Care Act

Myth “My benefits are going to be reduced and I won’t be able to keep my doctors”

Medicare benefits won’t be limited or taken away. You will still be able to choose your health care provider and hospital, as long as they accept Medicare patients.

Myth “My prescriptions will cost more or won’t be available”

Between now and 2020, you will get continuous Medicare coverage for your prescription drugs. People who fall into the coverage gap for prescription medications now get a 50 percent discount on covered brand name drugs while in the ”donut hole.” In 2014 you will also only pay 72 percent for generic drugs. The donut hole will be closed completely by 2020.

Myth “Medicare won’t cover the cost for an annual physical and other preventative services such as a mammogram or colonoscopy.”

Medicare covers certain preventative services (such as mammograms and colonoscopies (screening) and annual wellness exam without charging you the Part B coinsurance or deductible.

Myth “My premiums are going to go up”

The premium for Part B is currently $104.90/month and any increase in 2014 is expected to be minimal. Those with incomes above $88,000 per year individual or $170,000 joint can expect to pay a higher Part B premium. Seniors will continue to have the option of enrolling in a Medicare Advantage Plan, Prescription Drug Plan or Supplemental Plan. These plans are sponsored by private insurance companies such as United Health Care, Anthem, Aetna or ConnectiCare. The rates for the plans vary and may increase slightly in 2014. There will continue to be many options from which to choose.

It is the expectation that the life of the Medicare Trust Fund will be extended as a result of reducing waste, fraud and abuse and slowing cost growth in Medicare. This will provide future cost savings on premiums and coinsurances.

The Affordable Health Care act strengthens Medicare and helps seniors take charge of their health. If you have any questions or further concerns, your agent should be able to assist you in choosing the right plan. So, my advice to seniors concerned about the impact of “ObamaCare”? “Don’t worry, be happy!” The Affordable Care Act is making health care more affordable for you.

Trish Pearson is a licensed independent insurance agent and certified Long Term Care Specialist. Contact her at 203-640-5969 0r