If You Have Medicare, Ignore Obamacare

Slide4In the past month, the most popular post on this blog has been “Will A Medicare Supplement Still Be Necessary Under Obamacare?”

I have received several positive comments on it but earlier this month someone read it with politically biased glasses on.

I must admit that I am not a fan or supporter of Obamacare.  However, I do not have any desire to dwell on the political over-tones.

In 2009 and early 2010 the arguments that people made either for, or against Obamacare made sense.  There was still a chance that our representatives in Congress would listen.

However, on March 23, 2010, when President Obama signed the PPACA the time to argue about the PPACA was over, except during a presidential election year.

Unfortunately, more Americans supported the re-election of Barack Obama in November of 2011 than voted for his opponent.  Although Obama won re-election in one of the closest elections in the last 100 years, he was elected as president for another 4 years.

Whether or not Americans like Obamacare, it is the law of the land, at least until 2015.  As long as Obama is president, those who think practically rather than politically will need to make appropriate arrangements by considering “what is” and not “what might be.”

One reader accused me of passing on misinformation for political reasons.  I want to be very clear.  Although I have very strong political views, I am also a realist.

The fact is that Obamacare makes major changes to much of the nation’s health insurance system.  Everyone, in America knows that.

There is no doubt that Obamacare will be beneficial to the uninsured and lower-income Americans.   However, it will be a “train-wreck” for middle class Americans who do not qualify for either group health insurance or federal tax-credits.

What many American’s do not know is that most, if not all, of the changes to the Medicare system that affect the average American were done in 2010.  It depends on your point of view.

In 2010, the following changes were made to the Medicare system.

  1. New regulations and a new rating and payment system was implemented for Medicare Advantage plans.
  2. Adjustments were made to the Medicare D program to phase in a change that will close it’s “Donut Hole.”
  3. A right to an annual preventive “physical” was granted to those Americans who have Medicare B.

Perhaps the biggest “change” that affects people with Medicare in 2013 is that the PPACA specifically exempts all Americans with Medicare A from the Individual Mandate for people to have an Obamacare approved plan by 2014 or pay the “Shared Responsibility Payment.”

That means that people with Medicare do NOT have to do anything during the National Open Election.

Having said that, however, running during the Obamacare National Open Election is Medicare’s Annual Election Period (AEP.)  The two periods are separate and distinct from each other but since they are administered by the same division of the federal government, they felt that it would be easier for them to schedule them at the same time rather than keeping their timing separated so they would not confuse older Americans.

Only during Medicare’s AEP (October 15 – December 7) can Americans make adjustments/changes to their Medicare Advantage and Medicare D (PDP) plans for 2014.

If you, or a loved one has Medicare, it is important for you to forget about politics for a while and make any needed adjustments to your health insurance plans for 2014.