Dec 17, 2011

Health Care Reform – How the Law Affects Senior Citizens

Health care reform, passed by President Obama in 2010, has changed the way that healthcare is provided to thousands of American citizens – including seniors. So how does the new law affect the senior segment of the US population?

Government payments to part of the Medicare scheme – the Medicare Advantage component – are to fall over a period of years. Within 10 years, the Medicare Advantage program (which gives its members a little more per annum than the regular Medicare program), will lose 132 billion dollars.

How this affects the Medicare Advantage plan is of course unclear – because it is the administrators of the plan that will have to decide where the cuts are felt. Given that the Medicare Advantage plan gives extra benefits to seniors that posses sit, it is possible that these benefits will dry up or at least experience some upheaval.

On the flip side of the Medicare coin, the Government is undertaking to raise the amount of money that it devotes to spending on drugs for seniors, filling a famous gap in the old Medicare service provision. Previously, there was a funding gap for seniors between 2,700 dollars spent on drugs per year (which the Medicare program paid for) and just over 6,000 dollars per year. That hole in the middle received no funding from the program.

By 2020, the US government intends to be paying 75 per cent of senior drug costs in this hole.

There are provisions in place within Medicare to ensure that check ups and screenings for many of the most common and dangerous diseases are, become, or remain free. By now, Medicare patients should have access to a pretty all encompassing wellness plan – basically a risk assessment and advisory policy conducted by doctors to ensure that seniors experience an increase in their likely wellness, as well as their overall health care.

These are the basic facts, as gleaned from sources that seem to know what they are talking about. The overall atmosphere in these articles, though, is one of confusion. Articles posted prior to 2011 state that the healthcare reform bill will cut money from Medicare Advantage and fill the hole in the prescription drugs funding. But articles published more recently seem to deal more with the fact that no one knows how much or how little of the bill has actually had any effect at all.

For example: the Medicare program relies on private insurance companies, who have control over their own pricing structure. So any price increase from insurers automatically devalues funding figures released by the Government, for the overall efficacy of the program. Furthermore, polls of American citizens show that as little as 13% actually believe that their healthcare has been positively affected by the reform. While the rest seem unclear whether their healthcare has in fact been affected at all.

The financial situation in America doesn’t help, of course. With less money flying around it is harder to structure a program that effectively provides more balanced healthcare to any vulnerable group in society. Seniors are one of these groups – permanently disabled people, disadvantaged children and people living below the poverty line are three more. The recession is creating more and more people in need – and the healthcare bill will have to stretch to meet them.

On paper, then, healthcare reform means a more even supply of funding for seniors when they need it most. In practice, it’s unclear what has come to pass and what exists only as promises.

About The Author:
The above article is written and composed be Britney Danila who is associated with many health communities as their freelance and staff writer. She writes articles in her free time which are related to
unsafe drug lawsuit, healthy plans etc.

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health tips said...

i realize know, that both America and Indonesia have the same problem that is have financial situation problem to help their people in health care financial problem. Maybe the solution is they must removing corruptor from their governmental positions. Thanks for this nice post!. I like it, really.

kimmy said...

hmmm.. interesting!

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