What impact will ObamaCare have on medicare?
Before the Affordable Care Act, the trend in Medicare spending and costs increased sharply year after year. The major contribution of Obamacare was to put Medicare on a more controlled and financially sustainable foundation. The areas of improvement included hospital costs, patient safety, and prescription drug prices and costs.
Compare health insurance rates now by using our FREE tool above! Comparison shopping is an essential part of getting the most from Medicare. The Affordable Care Act improved Medicare by closing the prescription coverage gap, the so-called Donut Hole. It strengthened Medicare by adding essential health benefits at no cost to consumers. Medicare meets the individual mandate, and those with Medicare A or Medicare C coverage will not have to pay the coverage penalty.
Major Impacts of Obamacare on Medicare
Obamacare did not replace Medicare, but it had some important and positive impacts. Obamacare reinforced Medicare fairness by prohibiting denials based on pre-existing conditions and enforcing fair pricing. It lowered premiums by containing costs and lowered costs by adding prescription drug discounts. The below-listed items describe the major impacts of Obamacare on Medicare Programs.
- Extended the Medicare Trust Fund by 13 years
- Developed initiatives to prevent patient injury and premature death
- Added no cost services and preventive care
- Added no cost wellness programs
- Improved costs controls, lowered hospital spending, and value-based assessments
Comparison shopping is a helpful tool when considering the choices available under Medicare for services and benefits that require co-payment and coinsurance. Prescription drug coverage and gap insurances vary by state, and comparison shopping can identify the services and prescription drugs of concern to a subscriber.
Extending Medicare Funding
The Affordable Care Act extends the legal authorization for the Medicare Trust Fund to the year 2030. The Medicare Trust Fund is a key part of financing the extensive health care protections and services in the Medicare Programs. This 13-year extension is important to seniors in a political environment in which many basic protections face threats of removal or termination. The Congress has recently voted again to repeal the Affordable Care Act and take away the benefits it created such as better funding and a longer term for the Medicare Trust Fund.
Protecting Medicare Integrity
The Affordable Care Act contains some Medicare reforms that tighten requirements, audits, and procedures to safeguard the program against waste and fraud. Obamacare requires improved accuracy in payments and better accounting systems and management.
These will reduce demands on the Trust Fund and make more Medicare dollars available for medications and services for the senior citizen beneficiaries.
By improving medical and administrative standards, the ACA has reduced unnecessary hospital admissions, lowered average hospital costs, and reduced hospital spending. The overall effect of these changes reduced demands for Medicare funds, slowed the growth of the average per enrollee costs of Medicare, and improved the financial strength of the Medicare Trust Fund.
The Individual Mandate
Obamacare requires every person to get and maintain health insurance coverage unless exempted by law or circumstances. Those who fail or refuse to get coverage face the possibility of paying the shared health responsibility penalty; the penalty in the calendar year 2016 is $695 for an individual and $2,085 for a family. Medicare Part A meets the minimum requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The ACA operates to add the essential health benefits to Medicare. Seniors not only meet the individual mandate but also gain valuable preventive medicine and wellness services at no costs to them. Individuals with Medicare Part A or part C meet the requirements of the individual mandate.
Essential Health Benefits
Obamacare adds essential health benefits to Medicare Part A . These benefits come without charge to consumers, and they have added a wide range of tests, screenings, examinations, laboratory services to the menus of medical care for seniors. Preventive care helps reduce the occurrence of severe disease and illness by early detection and treatment of conditions that lead to serious conditions. Wellness programs have particular usefulness for seniors. Maintenance of good health free of symptoms is the ideal approach for healthy seniors; ACA resources include diet, exercise, and free check-ups.
Savings on Premiums and Prescriptions
For a second consecutive year, the projected costs of Medicare Part B premiums did not increase in the calendar year 2015. These savings are important for seniors many of whom live on fixed incomes. Obamacare also reduced the expenses for prescriptions. Seniors have saved approximately $10 billion on prescription drug costs. These savings came by eliminating coinsurance for preventive care and wellness, and closing the donut hole prescription loophole.
Comparison shopping will help find the best brand and generic drug alternatives for doctor’s prescriptions. Seniors can save substantial amounts by switching from brand-name to generic drugs that have similar ingredients and effectiveness.
Saving Lives and Improved Patient Safety
Obamacare initiatives have made hospital care safer and reduced readmissions following hospitalization. These improvements in patient outcomes have saved lives and reduced injuries and illnesses due to hospital care. Patient safety initiatives demonstrate some of the most dramatic impacts of Obamacare on the Medicare program.
The collection of programs and actions saved an estimated 560,000 patient injuries and avoided more than 15,000 deaths.
The Partnership for Patients was a broad-based two-year initiative that allied the Department of Health and Human Services with a network of doctors, hospitals, and other medical care providers. It focused on incidents of injuries and premature deaths, and it applied remedial steps and reviews. The results have saved lives and reduced patient harms.
Long-term Impact of Obamacare on Medicare
One effort that will have a short-term positive impact is curbing Medicare Advantage. Transforming this activity will save a substantial amount for the entire system since this privately operated program costs far outweighed its benefits. Government studies predict average total savings of more than $4,000 per Medicare participant over the next ten years. These savings come from lower drug costs, free wellness and preventive services, and a dramatic slowing of the rates of Medicare spending. Using comparison shopping, Medicare enrollees can find the best combination of coverage for drugs and prescriptions. Enter your zip code in our FREE tool below to compare health insurance quotes instantly!