Seniors and the disabled, who are signed up for Medicare and concerned about the start of online health exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, will not have too much to worry about once the law goes into effect. However, the law does make some changes Medicare beneficiaries should know about.
- The nearly 50 million elderly and disabled Americans enrolled in Medicare will not have to enroll in the online health exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act. Medicare is not part of the health insurance exchanges.
- Medicare beneficiaries will receive more preventive care services, which include a yearly "wellness" visit, mammograms, colorectal screening and more savings on prescription drug coverage.
- The Affordable Care Act cuts the expected growth of Medicare spending by about $716 billion over the next decade.
- Medicare beneficiaries who earn more than $85,000 ($170,000 for a couple) will have to pay more for their Medicare Part B premiums, which cover physician and outpatient services. That scale will also apply for to prescription drug coverage.
- American companies are moving a rapidly growing number of employees on privately run online exchanges for their medical coverage.
- Health insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers who once had a more direct relationship with employers could lose out to the new marketplaces.
- The new exchanges received a big boost when Aon Plc insurance broker said Wednesday that it had signed up 18 companies to participate in its health exchange, which includes the largest drug store operator, Walgreen Co. That would result in the coverage for an estimated 600,000 people.
- Corporations hope the move to the new private exchanges will keep healthcare spending in check and force their employees to manage more of their own healthcare costs.