Brookline Community Aging Network

 

What Does the Affordable Care Act Mean for Massachusetts Seniors?

Brian Rosman, Research Director, Health Care for All

With all the news about the start of "Obamacare" next year, many seniors are wondering what this means for them.

January 1, 2014, will bring a number of changes to health care in Massachusetts. But for seniors who get their coverage through Medicare, not much will change.

That's because most of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act that impact Medicare have already been implemented. So people on Medicare already are able to get more preventive care benefits, and annual checkups because of the new law. The new year will bring us another step closer to closing the infamous "donut hole," the gap in coverage that affects Medicare prescription drug benefits under Medicare Part D. In 2014, people in the donut hole will pay 47.5% of the cost of brand name drugs, and 72% of the cost of generic drugs, a bit less than last year. This is part of the phase-in schedule that will eventually end  with no donut hole coverage gap at all in 2020.

One other important change to Medicare is stronger tools to crack down on fraud and abuse. A record-breaking $10.7 billion has been recovered in the past 3 years. If you suspect that Medicare is being charged for a service or supply you didn't get, or you don't know the provider on the claim, call 1-800-MEDICARE, or go to http://www.stopmedicarefraud.gov/. You could be eligible for a $1000 reward.

For people below age 65 who get help with their insurance through the Health Connector, there could be major changes to your coverage. The good news is that premiums are not going up. However, many people will need to confirm their eligibility, starting October 1. Contact the Health Connector toll free at 1-877-MA ENROLL (1-877-623-6765) or go online to www.MAhealthconnector.org<http://www.MAhealthconnector.org> for more information. Many people who are not eligible for help now will be able to get assistance, and new small business tax credits will make it easier for small companies to provide quality coverage to their workers.