Commentary

MILAM COUNTY T.R.I.A.D.

Many advantages listed for new health care law
Ted Hubert

The new Affordable Care Act (ACA) guarantees Medicare benefits will stay the same. Coverage and eligibility for medicare are the same as always, but there are some improvements in the new law.

Medicare, part D, provides financial aid for the elderly who find themselves needing expensive drugs. A one-time payment of $250 began in 2010 and as members enter the medicare program this benefit will help close the coverage gap.

These checks will be written around mid April and will continue monthly as new members enter the program. Presumption is that this gap will be completely closed in ten years. It is estimated Medicare enrollees w ill save about $200 a year for prescription drugs from now until 2020.

This year you may qualify for a 50 percent reduction in the cost of brand-named drugs when buying the Medicare Part D brandnamed prescription drugs.

Other improvements are the free preventative care service with an annual physical to develop the preventative plan and to keep the plan updated each year.

The annual physical is also free to the patient and the new law gradually eliminates the overpayments to insurance companies. In 2014 the ACA places strong steps to see that 85 percent of the money these plans receive goes toward health care rather than administrative cost and insurance company profits.

Medicare patients will have better access to care, better chronic care, improves long-term care choices, helps early retiree, helps people with pre- existing conditions and expands health coverage for young people. The new health law includes tools to fight fraud and tools to protect the medicare benefits.

To see a brochure, google in “ healthcare.gov” then click on “senior” under categories.

Google in www.medicare.gov/ find-a-doctor to access the CMS healthcare provider directory to locate and compare health professionals in your area. The Medicare Advantage disenrollment period is open for 45 days each year from Jan. 1 through Feb. 14.

The annual enrollment period, which allows people with medicare Part D plans, are rescheduled and extended from Oct.15 through Dec. 7.

There are also improvements to the low-income subsidy. The ACA makes it easier for those receiving the Extra Help/Low- Income Subsidy (LIS) to stay in the same plan from one year to the next.

The law improves the determination formula for plans to remain a $0 premium benchmark LIS plan. This will reduce the number of people reassigned to new prescription drug plans each year and increase the number of LIS benchmark plan options available to beneficiaries.


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2011-01-13 digital edition



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