The Affordable Care Act and Medicare open enrollment
Under the newly enacted Affordable Care Act and the rollout of the online healthcare marketplace, many seniors are confused about how these new changes will affect Medicare insurance.
The Affordable Care Act does not affect Medicare negatively for most seniors. In fact, Medicare recipients who have typically fallen in the Medicare gap known as the "donut hole" will be able to save more on prescription drugs under the new law, which will offer those with Part D a 50 percent discount on brand-name prescription drugs and 20 percent on generic medications.
Several rumors have swirled surrounding the new website where Americans can sign up for healthcare. Some of these have included that seniors will need to get an Obamacare healthcare card before they reach Medicare eligibility. Others have heard they will lose coverage and benefits or no longer be able to get cancer treatments. These rumors are untrue, but have raised alarm and confusion over how the new healthcare law will really affect Medicare.
Instead of reducing coverage or benefits, the Affordable Care Act has increased many services to be included free of charge in addition to the savings for prescription drug plans. Life-saving preventative care like colonoscopies and mammograms that would have once cost a senior a co-pay are now completely covered by a provider.
The Affordable Care Act is helping pre-retirees find healthcare, making it possible for some Americans to retire early. Many seniors didn't retire until the age of 65 because that was the year they became eligible for Medicare.
After many wondered whether their premiums would rise in 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that rates would not rise next year. Similarly, the deductible rate from 2013 will be unchanged next year.
The open enrollment period for Medicare ends on Dec. 7, 2013 , meaning seniors have a very small window of opportunity to sign up or make changes to their current policies. For most seniors, the open enrollment period is the only chance to add, drop or change coverage or policy benefits. To make it easier to navigate open enrollment, seniors should review their current policy and ask their provider if they are already signed up for Medicare. For seniors it most important to realize they do not need to sign up through the online healthcare market if they have Medicare.