One of the groups most affected by the Affordable Health Care Act will be seniors and the disabled receiving Medicare benefits. Medicare is being singled out for extensive financial cuts through Obamacare.
The Act requires Medicare recipients to shoulder a larger portion of their healthcare costs, offers fewer health plan options, and drastically reduces benefits paid through the Medicare Advantage program.
The Act also imposes an excise tax on medical devices that many seniors rely upon, such as hearing aids.
As reimbursements under Medicare continue to decrease, recipients are facing reduced access to physicians and longer commutes to receive services. Further cuts will be forthcoming in the future through recommendations made by the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) created by Obamacare.
Paying For Obamacare
Between now and 2022, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says Medicare reimbursements will be reduced by approximately $716 billion. To reduce the costs to the Medicare program, Obamacare cuts the amounts that doctors are reimbursed for their services.
Faced with drastic reductions in payments, many clinicians are preparing for early retirement, closing their practices and taking employment at hospitals.
Medicare recipients were already finding it difficult to find practitioners willing to accept Medicare patients and many physicians have indicated they will send Medicare clients elsewhere for treatment in the future.
Medicare patients are among the hardest hit by Obamacare and represent a large segment of the population who will be paying for Obamacare in a variety of ways.
Medicare Advantage Plans
Those receiving Medicare had the option receiving healthcare services through Medicare Part A and B or purchasing a Medicare Advantage plan through a private company that contracted with Medicare. The range of available plans and options will be severely curtailed through Obamacare and Medicare patients will be required to pay more out-of-pocket for healthcare services.
The changes in Medicare Advantage plans affect both seniors and the disabled of any age.
Individuals will have to set aside more of their retirement savings to cover the cost of increased healthcare costs in the future. Those already receiving benefits will have no time to prepare for the potential financial fallout and will just have to pay the higher prices.
The increases may not be significant in the beginning, but will continue over time.
Medicare recipients will have the option of purchasing additional coverage to fill in the gaps through federally mandated healthcare exchanges, now known as the healthcare marketplace. Applicants may also qualify for government subsidies to pay for their insurance plan, depending on their income.
The Impact of IPAB
The government appointed, 15-member panel known as IPAB is charged with reducing healthcare costs within Medicare. The board will examine available treatments for a wide range of medical conditions and recommend what it determines is the best treatment based on effectiveness and cost.
Clinicians and patients are concerned that IPAB recommendations will limit the availability of treatments and some procedures will only be available to the wealthy.
Obamacare seeks to close the “donut hole” in the Medicare prescription plan by paying for a larger assortment of medications and providing discounts on prescriptions.
Under Obamacare, wellness visits and a variety of preventative services can be obtained at no cost, including vaccines, flu shots, cancer screenings and annual check-ups.
The upcoming changes for Medicare recipients will offer expanded prescription benefits and preventative services, but has the potential for drastically increased premiums and co-pays.