Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Affordable Health Care Act Provides Senior Benefits

While the courts and politicians wrangle about the Affordable Care Act (ACA, "Obamacare"), some of the benefits have kicked in for Medicare beneficiaries.  The Act empowered the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to eliminate co-payments for a number of preventative services and to cover services that were not included before.  Patients on Medicare now receive:
  • Bone mass measurements
  • Cervical Cancer Screening
  • Cholesterol and other cardiovascular screening
  • Colorectal cancer screening
  • Diabetes screening
  • HIV tests
  • Annual influenza, pneumococcal and Hep B vaccines
  • Mammograms
  • Medical Nutrition therapy
  • Prostate Cancer screening.
Previously Medicare did not cover screening tests or required co-pays.

It's not just seniors who have benefited from ACA.  It also allows young adults to stay on their parents' health plan until age 26 years.  These young adults do not need to live with their parents or be listed as a dependent on the tax return to be eligible.  This alone allows 1.2 million more Americans to be covered by insurance.

Unfortunately people with conditions such as diabetes who cannot find affordable health insurance will have to wait until 2014, when it will be unlawful for insurance companies to discriminate against preexisting conditions.  For now there is a temporary program to act as a bridge for patients until 2014.  There is a preexisting Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) that can provide insurance for someone who has been uninsured for at least 6 months, has a preexisting condition or has been denied health coverage because of a condition.  For an estimated premium range for a given state, go to HealthCare.gov.

Americans should be embracing health care reform and demanding their legislators come together to understand the complicated law and change it if needed and strengthen it to make it better.  We understand that it does nothing to address runaway costs, although there are many provisions to educate and reinforce healthier diets and lifestyle.  The plan is complicated and includes provisions that few legislators have taken the time to understand.  In the meantime, health plans across the U.S. are posting record profits and raising rates up to 60% a year.  There is nothing that has occurred in the ACA that can be blamed for this. 

As I have said before.  Why do Health Insurance Companies raise rates?  Because they can... and Wall Street rewards them handsomely for doing so.  They are only doing what we have asked them to do. 


Anonymous said...

i think women who have a hysterectomy can come down with lesions on the CUFF and VAGINAL WALL.

we are short sited when the costs hit us and than we wait for the next earthquake. its SOS and not good medicine. stop breast exams or mamograms/sonograms on certain age groups. i donot want to be the patient nor the doctor telling the patient,you have a lesion or your breast need to be removed

carmelisa said...

Just catching up of the past two months.Alll information is so pertinent. Thank you for your help.

carmelisa said...

Just catching up on the last few months. All is so pertinent.Thank you.