Medicare has been around for a lot longer than Obamacare, but because of rules inherent to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the scope and function of the Medicare program has changed somewhat. Initially conceived as a federal health insurance program intended to provide medical aid to people over the age of 65, as well as those qualifying for disability, Medicare has long been beneficial to seniors, many of whom face ongoing medical expenses. This has not necessarily changed with the full implementation of Obamacare. What has changed is how Medicare insurance is dispensed and in some cases, how services are paid for.
Many people feared that Obamacare would spell the end of Medicare, but this has proven to be patently false. In fact, Obamacare helped to protect the services offered under Medicare. And while some were worried that they would have to buy more insurance to meet the minimum personal requirements outlined by the ACA, most people covered under Medicare prior to Obamacare did not have to change their plans or purchase additional insurance – they were able to continue with their coverage uninterrupted.
The major changes in Medicare following the implementation of the ACA revolved around funding and payments. On the one hand, many Medicare users have probably noticed that the co-pay for preventive services no longer exists. This is because many of these types of visits are fully covered under the new system. Of course, the downside for some is that the cost of prescription drug coverage has increased. For those Medicare users that exceed a set limit on income, Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) could be more expensive than before. Some in this tax bracket may also pay more for Part B (medical insurance). Initially, this applied to annual incomes over $85,000 for individuals or over $170,000 for couples. But the vast majority of those on Medicare have likely seen costs increase only slightly, and they continue to decrease year upon year as the coverage gap, or “doughnut hole” closes; a process set to culminate in 2020.
By and large, Medicare users have likely seen their out-of-pocket costs decrease. Naturally, premiums will slightly increase year upon year due to inflation, but Medicare will not experience the significant annual increases we see in under-65 private insurance. And while plenty of Medicare users were concerned about having to switch to different doctors and pharmacies after the implementation of Obamacare, nothing of the sort actually happened. This isn’t to say that healthcare providers haven’t chosen to make changes, withdraw from the Medicare program, or otherwise make their services unavailable to Medicare patients. But that also happened before Obamacare.
Obamacare, for the most part, has had a positive effect on the Medicare program, and it continues to improve healthcare coverage for those enrolled. Eligible parties in higher tax brackets may face some increased costs as a result of restructuring, but they account for only a small percentage of users.
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