Medicare Coverage: Post Election FAQs
There has been a lot of speculation as to what will happen to Medicare coverage, and healthcare in general since the inauguration. Nothing is set in stone yet, but many people have concerns that their coverage will be affected. According, to The American Association of Retired People (AARP), these are the most frequently asked questions about Medicare since the election.
Q: If I already have Medicare coverage, could I lose my coverage, or will it be significantly altered?
If you currently have Medicare, there is no immediate threat to your coverage. The plans proposed by the House Republicans won’t go into effect for years. At this point, law makers are having discussions and making proposals. These proposals could potentially reduce coverage and raise costs for seniors- so you concerns are valid. If you are currently a Medicare beneficiary, you could also be affected if the Affordable Care Act, also know as Obamacare, is repealed. In this scenario, the additional benefits that law provided to Medicare recipients would no longer be available.
Q: How will the new administration reforming Obamacare affect my Medicare coverage?
The Affordable Care Act made many improvements to Medicare. It closed the gap in drug coverage (the “doughnut hole”), added free preventative benefits, and cut excessive provider payments. All of these changes improved the financial stability of ACA. Obamacare also made moves to improve care coordination and reduce readmission to hospitals. If the law is repealed (without a replacement immediately ready) these improvements will be lost
Q: Isn’t Medicare at risk of going under in the near future? For the sake of future generations, shouldn’t we make some changes?
Medicare is not going broke. The program can pay full hospital benefits through 2028. There are definitely challenges, mainly due to increase in population, and health costs. There are a number of proposals that can keep Medicare financially strong. Some of these plans make older Americans take on more of the costs, while others focus on lowering health care costs by tackling drug prices, improving care coordination, and reducing waste and inefficiencies present in the health care system.
Q: The House Republicans have talked about a voucher-type program plan, that they want to implement soon. How would this change Medicare?
This voucher-type plan is called the “premium support” plan. If implemented, it represents a dramatic change. This new plan wants to move away from guaranteed benefits, and instead, beneficiaries with a fixed amount of money to buy private health insurance. Supporters of this premium support plan say it will stimulate greater price competition among insurers, as well as cut down on costs.
Q: I thought this would be guaranteed coverage. I have been paying payroll taxes for Medicare for years. Can the rules change before I’m old enough to qualify for Medicare?
Congress can revise the law at any time, which could potentially change the benefit guarantee, raise eligibility age, and higher cost sharing. AARP is working to protect the benefit guarantee.
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