How the Affordable Care Act helps older adults
The Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, gives older adults on Medicare more free preventive medical services and reduced prescription drug costs. Regularly seeing the doctor and taking prescribed medications can keep older adults healthy and independent longer.
Get free preventive care exams every year
With the new medicare benefits, older adults get free wellness checkups every year. During this annual visit, the doctor will review medications, adjust doses if needed, recommend flu or shingles shots, and let them know if it’s time for a colonoscopy or mammogram. These preventive visits can help identify problems before they start bothering your older adult.
When you or your older adult schedules the appointment, make sure to let the doctor’s office know that this visit is for the free annual wellness benefit. That way it won’t get billed as an office visit – with a fee! During the appointment, make sure you understand who will be responsible for paying for any additional tests, shots, or procedures before getting them done.
Pay less for prescriptions
Before the new healthcare law, many older adults were stuck in the prescription donut hole, where they had to pay out-of-pocket for all their prescriptions up to $4,550 each year. After the $4,550 was paid, then Medicare would start paying.
$4,550 is a lot of money for many older adults. What happened with the donut hole was that older adults often stopped taking medications, took them less often than prescribed, or broke pills in half so they could save money. Of course, not taking medications as they’re prescribed was terrible for their health!
Under the new medicare benefits, in 2013, seniors got a 50% discount on brand name prescription drugs and a 20% discount on generic drugs. Discounts will increase every year until the donut hole is completely gone in 2020. In 2020, seniors will pay a $310 deductible and 25% of prescription costs.