With all the media hype on TV about the disastrous roll-out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most of us are taking a second look at our current medical plan and its costs. If you’re over 65, you can change the channel and relax. Your Medicare coverage is protected. Medicare isn’t part of the Health Insurance Marketplace established by ACA, so you don’t have to replace your Medicare coverage with Marketplace coverage. No matter how you get Medicare, whether through Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan, you’ll still have the same benefits and security you have now.
While you don’t need to do anything with the Marketplace during ACA Open Enrollment, you might want to review your coverage during Medicare’s Open Enrollment time occurring now between October 15 and December 7. Here are a few minor changes in Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans:
Medicare now covers mammograms and colonoscopies without charging you for the Part B coinsurance or deductible. You still get a free yearly “wellness” visit.
The donut hole continues to shrink. You get a 50% discount when buying Part D-covered brand-name prescription drugs. The discount is applied automatically at the counter of your pharmacy — you don’t have to do anything to get it.
Premiums are similar to 2013, but watch out for higher co-pays and smaller pharmacy networks.
The Medicare Trust fund is projected to be exhausted in 2026 – only 12 years from now. So seniors with a good long life still ahead of them probably shouldn’t get too relaxed about the ACA and what it means for our future, and the future of our children and grandchildren.