The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or, as it is often better known as "The Health Care Reform Act, or "Obamacare".

Last week marked the first year anniversary of "The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act."  The debate still rages over the bill.  Hailed by many and derided by others, it nonetheless has already had a significant influence over the lives of all citizens and the elderly most directly.  I thought I would take a moment to summarize briefly two of the most significant changes effecting them:

1. The availability of free preventive care previously not covered by Medicare
2. Changes in the Medicare Part D (drug coverage). 

Medicare coverage will expand to provide proven preventive health care services at no charge (e.g. annual wellness visits, mammograms, and screenings for bone density, diabetes, and cancer and more). Medicare recipients will be offered access to a health risk assessment and development of a personalized disease prevention plan. Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries who complete a behavior modification program by following the suggestions of a health care provider will be given incentives. 

 When Medicare beneficiaries hit the coverage gap in their Part D coverage gap in 2010, Medicare automatically sent them a $250 rebate.  This year a 50% discount will be provided on brand-name drugs and a 7% discount on generic drugs for prescriptions filled during the coverage gap.  In 2012 Federal subsidies will continue to be phased in for generic drug costs for prescriptions filled during the coverage gap. Federal subsidies are expected to reach 75% of the generic drug cost by 2020.

There are many other changes which will occur between now and 2020, assuming that no further changes will occur to the law.  Given the furious debate going on around the country about the pros and cons of the bill this seems highly unlikely.  However, I thought I would give you a link to a Society for Senior Advisers White Paper that will provide you with a very good factual analysis on what the benefits of the act are and will be, as of today.


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