What Should Seniors Know About Medicare Reform?

Medicare and Medicaid reform makes headlines on a daily basis. The past decade has seen major changes to Medicare and Medicaid, and if the proposed GOP healthcare bill is passed, more changes are yet to come. What should seniors know about Medicare reform?

What’s Getting Cut?

First of all, understand that Medicaid is the primary target of all funding cuts, not Medicare. The current proposed healthcare bill, the American Health Care Act, is designed to reverse the Medicaid expansion ratified under the Affordable Care Act, reducing Medicaid spending by about $800 billion over the next decade.

How Will It Affect You?

If you depend on Medicaid for healthcare coverage or to fund long-term care, such as a nursing home stay, you are in the senior group most affected by the proposed changes. With federal subsidies dropping, states will have less assistance to offer to families that need care, so the cost burden could likely fall on the individual to finance coverage. It could also lead to the revision of state eligibility requirements due to a lack of funding, potentially causing loss of coverage altogether for certain groups.

How Medicare Is Affected

There are many aspects of the Affordable Care Act that the American Health Care Act will retain when it comes to Medicare coverage, such as a free annual wellness visit. Also, the American Health Care Act retains the provision that will effectively close the “donut hole” of prescription drug costs by 2020.

While Medicare is not currently the primary target of healthcare funding cuts, the bill does contain proposed changes that will affect Medicare funding in coming years. The American Health Care Act will cut $59 billion from Medicare reserves dedicated to funding hospital insurance over the next nine years, depleting resources by 2026. This is two years earlier than its previous insolvency date. The faster Medicare runs out of funds, the higher the likelihood additional benefit cuts will follow, which is a concern for many aging Americans.

It’s a Highly Political Issue

There is no denying the extreme polarization of political lobbyists on both sides of the Medicare and Medicaid reform issue. While many Americans agree health insurance requires reform, there is much debate on both sides of the aisle on the best approach to take

Officially, the AARP does not support the current proposed healthcare bill, arguing it puts millions of low-income seniors at risk of losing healthcare coverage and long-term care assistance they previously gained under the Affordable Care Act.

If you depend on Medicare or Medicaid for your healthcare coverage, don’t wait – call My Senior Health Plan today. We can help you understand the proposed healthcare changes and what it could mean for your coverage. We will also assist you in identifying an affordable policy personalized to your specific healthcare needs. Our team is ready to answer your call today!

Pete Blasi