What you need to know about ObamaCare

ObamaCare Medicare reform improves and expands Medicare for se­niors. The ObamaCare Medicare cuts are estimated at $716 billion. Those cuts are reinvested into Medicare and ObamaCare to improve care for seniors and close the Medicare Part D “ donut hole” among other things. Let’s take a look at what the ObamaCare’s Medicare cuts and reforms really mean for seniors and how they will impact Medicare and Medicare Advantage?

ObamaCare doesn’t replace Medicare. Medicare isn’t part of your State’s health insurance marketplace (sometimes called an exchange), so if you have Medicare keep it. You will still get all the new benefits, rights and protections ObamaCare offers on your current Medicare plan. If you have retiree insurance, aren’t old enough for Medicare and don’t like it you may choose to use the marketplace to replace that insurance. Find out more about retiree insurance and Medigap insurance.

ObamaCare Medicare Insurance Premiums For Seniors

ObamaCare doesn’t raise premiums for seniors; the AARP has predict­ed that it could hold the costs of Medicare Part B premiums down, if not lower them. The official formula for determining Medicare Part B premi­ums was established by Congress years ago and has not been negatively affected by ObamaCare.

ObamaCare Medicare Tax Increase

ObamaCare implements an ObamaCare Medicare tax increase of .9% for businesses and individuals in the top tax bracket to help pay for the improvements to Medicare. So while seniors will save money by closing the donut hole and overall reforms, some people will pay more to help support ObamaCare Medicare reform.

ObamaCare Medicare Reform

Even though Obamacare “cuts” Medicare; it isn’t really a cut, it’s health care reform aimed at improving care for seniors. The fact is, millions more seniors will be covered under Obama’s health care plan. Here are some things that the program does to improve Medicare:

  • Closes the “donut hole” that was causing Seniors not to be able to afford their prescriptions. (The Medicare “donut hole” is the Part D drug cover­age limit where seniors must start paying out of pocket for their prescrip­tions.) In 2012, seniors got a 50 percent discount when buying brand name drugs and 14 percent discount on generic drugs covered by Medicare Part D. This reform gets stronger every year, increasing coverage and closing the donut hole until it disappears in 2020. From that point on, seniors will only pay usual drug co-pays.
  • Expands existing coverage for seniors, including preventive care and wellness visits without charging you for the Part B co-insurance or de­ductible. Seniors will no longer need to put off preventive care and check-ups due to costs. This reform has been active since 2011 and gives seniors better access to cancer screenings, wellness visits, personalized preven­tion plans, vaccines, flue shots and more.
  • New initiatives to support care coordination, your doctor may get ad­ditional resources to make sure that your treatments are consistent.
  • Does not cut any benefits from Medicare Advantage.
  • Reduces payments to Medicare advantage rewarding those providers who increase the quality of their coverage. Medicare Advantage pays will now be more in line with other areas of Medicare
  • Reigns excess spending on Medicare Advantage, which is currently causing a burden on the tax payer that is disproportionate to the amount of people it helps. Medicare Advantage is run by private insurers and costs $1,000 more per person
  • According to the CMS Medicare beneficiaries are expected to save, on average, about $4,200 over the next 10 years due to lower drug costs, free preventive services and reductions in the growth of health spending.

The fact is, ObamaCare Medicare Reform does a lot to help seniors, as the bill addresses Medicare more than any other single issue. Many of the attacks against ObamaCare in regard to Medicare are unfounded, although the program isn’t perfect one only needs to look at how seniors have benefited from the care and protections of Massachusetts health care reform under Governor Romney to understand how ObamaCare will impact Medicare.

Medicare and the Health Insurance Marketplace

Medicare isn’t part of ObamaCare’s Health Insurance Marketplace, no one has to replace their Medicare coverage with Marketplace based health insurance.  No matter how you get Medicare, whether through Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan, you’ll still have the same ben­efits and security you have now. You won’t have to make any changes.

Changes to Medicare Insurance in 2013 – 2014

Not much changes for Seniors in 2013 – 2014. Find out how the Afford­able Care Act affects your Medicare Insurance and what if anything will change for you as the Health Insurance Marketplaces are implemented.

ObamaCare and Medicare Costs for High-Income Seniors

The formula for Medicare part B is unaffected by ObamaCare and most seniors won’t see a rise in the prices they pay. However Medicare recipi­ents with higher incomes have historically paid more for their Part B cov­erage, which is the “medical insurance” portion of the program and helps pay for outpatient medical care such as doctor visits, lab tests and durable medical equipment. High-income seniors may still continue to pay higher rates despite the changes to Medicare.

ObamaCare Medicare: Value-based Payment Rewards Hospitals for Providing Quality Care

ObamaCare’s Medicare reform enacts a Value-Based Payment Provision. The Medicare provision states Hospitals can gain or lose 1% of Medicare funding or gain a 1% in­crease depending on 20 factors that gauge quality vs. quantity care.

Specifically, the factors include quality measures related to treat­ment of patients with heart attacks, heart failures, pneumonia and certain surgical issues, as well as patient satisfaction.

In other words, if a hospital has a high re-admittance rate or poor treatment they can lose a percentage of funding whereas if they have a low re-admittance rate they can gain funding.

Some hospitals have already been hurt, while some have gained significant funding. Although the drawbacks are obvious in the short term, it has created an incentive to improve the quality of care in hospitals.

ObamaCare Medicare penalties / rewards will rise over the next two years to a total of 2%. During the last half of 2012, CMS reports that hospital readmissions dropped by 70,000 for the first time on record.

Children under the age of 26 are able to be covered under their par­ents insurance. The caveat, however, is that if your parents are over 65 and therefore receive Medicare you are no longer eligible to be covered under their insurance. While this may “make sense” it comes as a low blow to those who took the law at face value.

Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)

ObamaCare creates a 15 member board called the Independent Pay­ment Advisory Board (IPAB). The IPAB is appointed by the President, and confirmed by the Senate to serve six-year terms. The purpose of the board is to oversee Medicare costs and to lower the per capita growth rate of Medicare spending.

ObamaCare has recovered tens of billions of dollars from fraudulent Medicare and Medicare Advantage payments since the bill was signed into law in 2010.

ObamaCare Medicare Cuts, Changes in Medicare Spending

Over the next ten years, ObamaCare will cut Medicare by $716 billion and spend nearly that much trying to reform it. In fact all money cut from Medicare must be used to increase Medicare solvency, improve its services, or reduce premiums. Medicare currently affects over six hundred thousand physicians who care for nearly 100 times as many senior citizens who are provided for under Medicare and Medicare Advantage.

The concept behind the ObamaCare Medicare cuts is simple, cut out the parts of Medicare and Medicare Advantage that aren’t working and use that money to fix the parts that need reform. The end result should improve the system and result in curbed spending and a more effec­tive program.

Although there can be a lot of debate about the Medicare cuts, the end results for seniors is good. Millions of seniors are getting free preventive treatments, wellness visits, rebates for out-of-pocket costs on drugs and are saving money due to ObamaCare starting to close the “donut hole.”

ObamaCare cuts Medicare and Medicare Advantage $716 Billion 2013-2022. $415 Billion comes from cutting tax payer money that is go­ing to doctors, hospitals and private insurance companies… Most health care officials, workers and hospitals agree that ObamaCare helps the health care industry and specifically Medicare and Medicaid.

The ObamaCare Medicare cuts will mainly affect hospital reim­bursement rates for hospitals and private health insurance companies. The claim is that by cutting the profit hospitals and insurance com­panies make off of Medicare and Medicare advantage, the less help seniors will be able to get. This, however, is nothing more than a “Medi-scare.”

Medicare is given to seniors when they reach 65 and provides compre­hensive care on behalf of the government. Medicare Advantage is a private coverage option which has driven profits of private health insurance compa­nies up, yet puts a larger burden on the government to fund Medicare. Obam­aCare Medicare cuts aim to fix this.

ObamaCare Medicare Advantage

When Medicare Advan­tage came onto the scene, it was supposed to drive the costs placed on the government to provide “free” healthcare to seniors via Medicare down. This would ultimately save the tax payers’ money as pri­vate insurance companies would bid for contracts.

This isn’t what happened, however. It actually increased the amount we the tax payers had to pay by driving costs up! So, of course the private insur­ance companies don’t like the idea of being regulated. That means less “free” money from the govern­ment for them… This stands in a stark contrast to the “no government”-plea from the same side of the aisle who is propagating the “Medi-scare.”

ObamaCare also seeks to decrease the amount paid to hospitals for Medicare. However, hospitals have already agreed to this, since they know once everyone has insurance under the Affordable Care Act they will see a large influx in the amount of visitors to their hospitals. There­fore, they will at least break even, if not profit, while saving the tax payers money. Thus reforming the healthcare system.

ObamaCare now requires that Advantage plans cannot charge en­rollees more than traditional Medi­care for chemotherapy administra­tion, skilled nursing home care and other specialized services. Starting in 2014, Medicare Advantage plans cannot spend more than 15 % of their Medicare payment on admin­istrative costs, insurance company profits and non-healthcare related items. These cost cutting measures are estimated to bring in $1,000 in savings to CMS per Advantage Plan member without reducing any benefits. This is expected to help decrease Medicare part B payments, especially for low income seniors. Remember: Medicare Advantage Plans must provide at a minimum what Original Medicare covers.

Where do the Rest of the Medi­care and Medicare Advantage Cuts Come From

It’s no secret that the current Medicare system isn’t working, it’s bankrupt­ing itself and causing an increasing burden on the tax payer. The rest of the cuts to Medicare include things like Medicare Disproportionate Share Payments (which hikes up rates for others by ensuring care to uninsured patients), lower payments to home health providers and other cuts that do not affect seniors care but essen­tially make the system run smarter.

This isn’t to say that ObamaCare lays out the perfect plan for Medicare; it only is saying that the drastic num­ber of $716 billion is meant to save Medicare, fix what is wrong with it and ensure that it remains sustainable while providing quality, affordable healthcare to seniors.

So does ObamaCare Medicare reform cut Medicare and Medicare Advan­tage? Yes, But the Medicare cuts are a good thing. Millions of seniors will benefit from the ObamaCare Medicare reforms. Make sure to let the seniors in your life know that ObamaCare helps Medicare and seniors.

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