Obamacare's effect on Medicare is of great concern to the nation's seniors, and rumors are running rampant. But the health care law will actually provide more coverage to those over 65.
The myth about Obamacare ending Medicare is entirely false, as Nicole Duritz, vice president of Health Education and Outreach with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), explained to U.S. News and World Report. If anything, "Medicare's guaranteed benefits are protected in ways that they hadn't been protected in the past" under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Duritz said.
So how does Obamacare really affect Medicare?
For Seniors Currently Enrolled in Medicare
Medicare's existing coverage will not stop or decrease due to Obamacare, so seniors who are currently receiving Medicare do not need to fear the approach of 2014. In fact, they don't need to take any action at all.
Americans 65 and older who are receiving Medicare also aren't required to obtain new coverage through the Obamacare healthcare exchanges, and seniors on Medicare are exempt from Obamacare's penalty for no health insurance.
As an added bonus, Medicare Part B plans now include coverage for preventative services like colonoscopies and mammograms without co-pay or reaching the plan's deductible.
Medicare.gov -- a government website managed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services -- also proclaims that Obamacare ensures that the Medicare Trust fund is protected until 2029, extending the guaranteed coverage for seniors under Medicare.
Does Obamacare Affect the Cost of Medicare?
The costs of Medicare are increasing for some seniors, but it is not necessarily due to Obamacare.
As the AARP's Duritz told U.S. News, the costs for medication under Medicare Part D will be slightly higher for seniors who earn more than $85,000 per person. But this only accounts for 5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries.
On the other hand, Medicare.gov reports that under Obamacare, Medicare beneficiaries in the "donut hole" -- a gap in Medicare coverage for prescription drugs -- will get a 50 percent discount on brand-name prescription drugs covered under Plan D.
It is also true that Medicare premiums are rising, but they have continually done so since 2007, reports U.S. News. In the face of these rising costs and budget challenges, Obamacare has enacted plans to make Medicare more efficient.
Fear mongering about Obamacare cutting seniors off from essential support under Medicare may be rampant, but the facts remain clear: Seniors will continue to receive Medicare coverage under Obamacare.
So what about the Affordable Care Act's effect on another government program, Medicaid? Obamacare's Medicaid expansion is a key (and controversial) part of the health care law, which our "Understanding Obamacare" series will explain tomorrow.
- What if I have Medicare? (HealthCare.gov)
- What Is the Medicare "Donut Hole" and Will It Be Filled? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Hospitals Must Catch CMS Errors Within 3 Years (FindLaw's U.S. Supreme Court Blog)
- The Difference between Medicare and Medicaid (FindLaw)