What the Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare Means For Seniors

The Supreme Court has decided the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to as “Obamacare.”

Almost everyone over age 65 does not need to be concerned about the requirement to obtain health insurance. You have health insurance. It is Medicare. If you decide to have private supplemental insurance, a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage, you can do so but you have health insurance now.

The provisions of the Affordable Care Act to reduce the cost of prescription drugs for seniors and eventually eliminate the so-called “doughnut hole” in 2020 stand as does the provision stating that the cost of preventive care is to be without co-payments.

Other protections remain. They eliminate limits on lifetime benefits although many insurers do this already, and prohibit companies from rescinding policies because claims were made, unless there was fraud. Importantly, insurers, as of 2014 will not be able to deny coverage based on preexisting medical conditions. This provision is in effect now for children.

Savings from Medicare would come largely from elimination of what have been taxpayer subsidies to insurance companies that write Medicare Advantage plans. There are provisions in the act to oversee efficiency, encourage at-home care, require insurance companies to spend a certain proportion of premiums for care as opposed to administrative costs, and so on. Administration of these provisions will determine whether and how well they work.

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