Lovin’ Life After 50
by Alison Stanton
Like many seniors in Arizona, Joyce Walther has some concerns about the new Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. Although the 62-year-old Tempe resident is getting benefits through her work, she says she is worried that her employer may decide to drop coverage as it may not meet the requirement, or it may too expensive for the new program.
“Being a cancer survivor, I am very concerned that if I am forced to the exchanges, my coverage will be limited and very expensive,” Walther says, adding that she is also concerned that she may not be able to keep seeing her oncologist. “I had a high rate of reoccurring cancer and so this is or could be life or death for me…It all sounds very confusing and chaotic to me at this point. I definitely do not like the wait and see prospects.”
Walther is not alone in her concerns. From wondering what the mysterious-sounding marketplace and “donut hole” mean, to worrying if their Medicare or Medicaid benefits will change, many area seniors want to know how the ACA will impact them, their health care and their wallets.
With that in mind, Lovin’ Life After 50 has asked local experts to weigh in on how the ACA will affect senior citizens, especially those on Medicare and Medicaid. Continue reading
Seniors who are currently covered under traditional Medicare Part A and Part B programs will receive additional benefits because co-payments and deductibles for preventive services and screenings/wellness exams for various conditions will be eliminated, says David Weissman, an attorney from Rose Law Group in Scottsdale.
“In addition, premiums for these plans have been fixed through 2017, following just a small increase in 2013,” he says.
Those who are in Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans, which are private insurance plans that expand on traditional government-provided Medicare, will likely face higher premiums and reduced benefits due to upcoming reductions in the funding provided by Medicare to these private plans, Weissman says.
In addition, he feels that dramatic cuts in general Medicare funding—more than $700 billion between 2013 and 2022—will impact reimbursements to physicians, clinics, hospitals, skilled nursing services, home health care providers and others.
“This has caused both uncertainty and concern regarding the availability of adequate medical services for seniors as these cuts are implemented,” Weissman says, adding that as is the case with many aspects of the ACA, only time will tell.
David Weissman, Chair of Rose Law Group Healthcare and Employment Departments, can be contacted directly at email@example.com or 480-240-5636