Q. I’m retired and on Medicare. Are my benefits getting cut to pay for all the newly insured younger people?
A: Regardless of whether you have traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage, your benefits are not getting cut, and you don’t need to purchase any additional coverage to comply with the ACA. Seniors benefit directly from the ACA thanks to improvements the law makes to Medicare. The law increases efficiency and reduces waste in the Medicare system, and the savings are reinvested to strengthen your benefits:
- The “donut hole” in prescription drug coverage under Medicare Part D is closing, and will be eliminated by 2020.
- The ACA also provides for more free preventive care under Medicare, and is helping to keep cost and premiums (Medicare Part B) in check.
- Medicare Part D included a provision for a pilot program to test competitive bidding for Medicare-funded durable medical equipment, as opposed to a fee schedule. It launched in 2011 in nine metropolitan areas, and expanded to 100 areas in 2013. The ACA makes this program nationwide by 2016. It’s lowered prices by an average of 42 percent so far. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) projects $26 billion in government savings and $17 billion in out-of-pocket savings for Medicare beneficiaries by 2022 under the expanded competitive bidding program – clearly a win for taxpayers and seniors.
- The ACA has extended the Medicare Trust Fund by more than ten years – out to at least 2030 – thanks to cost-saving measures in the law that tie provider payments to performance and outcomes rather than fee-for-service, and provisions that reduce Medicare waste and fraud. Extending the life of the trust fund means lower Medicare premiums going forward.
- Medicare Part B premiums are higher for high-income households – that provision predates the ACA, and will continue to be the case. But the ACA did result in lower Part B premiums for most Medicare enrollees in 2012, and lower deductibles for the first time ever.
Visit medicareresources.org to learn much more about Medicare.