ObamaCare: Opening Doors or a Can of Worms? The Medicare Edition
While The Affordable Care Act is still a newborn, only implemented October 1st, since gestation, it has drawn criticism and praise, while also leaving many Americans confused about what to do next. With the government still shut down, only time will tell what will happen but assuming that ObamaCare is here to stay, how will it affect your medical supplies and coverage?
If you currently have Medicaid, Medicare, or a form of private insurance, and you do not make any changes to that, things will likely remain the same. But let me break it down just in case you don't want to cruise the internet or television for answers.
If you have current Medicare coverage or a Medicare Advantage plan, your coverage will not change because Medicare is not a part of the Health Insurance Marketplace set up by the ACA. You do not need to shop for a new plan nor worry about your current coverage.
If you are content with how your Medicare coverage has worked so far, you can stop reading here. But did you know that more preventative services like mammograms and a colonoscopy will now be covered for Medicare patients without a co-pay? The ACA wants to prevent illnesses and worsened medical conditions, not just treat those already sick.
And if you are already sick and on medications, brand-name prescriptions will now be covered. Medicare patients will no longer have to wait for patents to expire to get the latest drugs. Are you in the Donut Hole? Then you can get up to 50% off Part D covered prescription meds. (And if you hate the Donut Hole, don't worry. It will be completely closed by 2020).
Your doctors will also be required to move your medical records to a secure, HIPAA covered digital format so that if you get sick far from home, or you need a treatment in a specialty facility, your records can be accessed without carrying papers or worse, without redoing costly and time-consuming tests.
There will also be financial incentives for hospitals that keep their rates of HAIs or Hospital Acquired Infections low, and penalties for those hospitals that do not.
These are, of course, just a few of the changes heading down the line.
We will be presenting discussion on several aspects of the Affordable Care Act in the coming month.