I understand why I was asked this question, again, last week. So many rumors and false stories are circulating about Obamacare that I would find it strange if people were not getting confused.
During the political campaigns of last year, so many people were talking about changes to Medicare without taking the time to learn the facts. Our politicians would rather scare senior citizens into voting for them than explaining the facts.
In this post I want to try to explain what Obamacare does and does not do for those on Medicare.
WHAT OBAMACARE DOES
It is true that Obamacare does attempt to over-haul the entire health-care industry in the United States. However, the law is primarily focused on health-care for those who are not yet on Medicare.
Although the press and politicians have made a huge deal about changes to Medicare, in reality, the changes to Medicare are minor compared to the rest of the legislation. Future laws may make radical changes to the Medicare system. Heaven only knows what the “geniuses” in D.C. will do. Just know, while Medicare was tweaked in Obamacare, that is not the primary goal of the law.
People who have Medicare need to pay attention to the changes that were made but those changes are not earth-shattering. Below are the changes that were made to Medicare.
- Obamacare changes the payment structure for Medicare Advantage.
- Obamacare changes the “Donut Hole” for Medicare D.
- Obamacare added an annual preventive service benefit to Medicare B.
- Obamacare exempts people with Medicare from the Individual Mandate.
Unless you have Medicare Advantage or have Medicare D and take over $2700 worth of prescription medication, there is very little for you to worry about over Obamacare.
WHAT OBAMACARE DOES NOT
Obamacare does not add a cap to Medicare B. Nothing has changed because of Obamacare. Before Obamacare, Medicare B only paid 80% of Medicare’s approved fees for medical treatment. Today, Medicare B still only pays 80% of your doctor’s and out-patient health care.
You are still responsible for the fees that your health care provider charges that are not paid by Medicare. Obamacare did not require a “cap” on the amount that you have to pay.
The reason people bought Medigap before Obamacare has not changed. Prior to Obamacare, approximately 25% of people with Medicare spent money to ensure the health care bills that Medicare does not pay.
The average American will spend in excess of $240,000, in addition to Medicare, on health care during retirement. Those who have Medigap have elected to spend $30,000 during retirement to let an insurance company pay that $240,000 bill for them.
Part of the confusion has been caused by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), accidentally.
The law that has come to be known as “Obamacare” was originally known as the “Patient’s Protection and Affordable Care Act.” The term, “Obamacare,” was coined by those on the right as a negative reference to the PPACA. It was later embraced by those on the left.
The PPACA was signed into law in March of 2010. In June of 2010, CMS approved 3 new versions of Medigap and removed permission for insurance companies to sell one version of Medicare Supplement insurance.
The fact that both changes happened within 3 months can easily confuse people. However, they are only coincidental.
The PPACA was an act of congress that was signed into law by the President. The changes to Medigap were made by CMS, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services.