Snap Fact #223
ObamaCare Provides Positive Medicare Changes For Seniors!
Personal testimony:

“I haven’t been to my family doctor in many years. I just couldn’t afford it.” - Bessie, of Manchaca, Texas, who can now access preventive care with no out-of-pocket costs along with millions of other Medicare recipients.

Medicare is our nation’s health-care program for seniors and people with disabilities, funded with taxpayer dollars. Some 36 million Americans are covered by traditional Medicare, and 11 million more are enrolled in private Medicare Advantage plans, which receive federal funding. About 4 million Medicare enrollees will fall into the “doughnut hole” in 2011 because they had drug expenses over $2,530.

How it works:
• No-cost preventive services: Traditional Medicare beneficiaries no longer have to pay any out-of-pocket costs for preventive services such as mammograms, colonoscopies, immunizations, and annual physical exams.
• Drug discounts: If you fall into the “doughnut hole” and have to pay full price for your drugs, you will get a 50% discount on brand-name drugs and a 7% discount on generic drugs in 2011. These discounts will increase each year until the doughnut hole is completely eliminated by 2020.
• Better pay improves access to primary care providers: Doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants will receive a 10% bonus for providing primary care. General surgeons in underserved areas will also get a 10% bonus.
• More resources to fight fraud: New rules go into effect to keep bad medical providers and suppliers from participating in the Medicare system, and new resources will beef up enforcement against those who abuse Medicare.
New resources to help you get coverage:
Consumer Assistance Programs:
• Federal grants are helping 35 states provide hands-on assistance to more people looking for coverage.
• You can get help finding insurance, filing complaints, and learning about your rights.
• Find your state’s program at www.healthcare.gov/law/provisions. New website at www.Healthcare.gov makes shopping easy:
• Find out which private insurance plans, public programs, and community services are available to you.
• Easily compare prices and coverage options in your area.

The fine print:
• No-cost preventive services: Medicare Advantage plans don’t have to offer this new benefit, but many of them already do.
• Medicare Advantage changes: The extra Medicare payments that private Medicare Advantage plans have been getting will phase out over the next several years, starting in 2011. That may change your benefits or out-of-pocket costs if you are in one of these plans. But 76% of Medicare recipients won’t be paying these extra costs, and Advantage plans that provide high-quality care will get bonus payments.

Seniors with large incomes will pay more for Part B:
If your individual income is more than $85,000, or $170,000 for couples, you will pay more for your monthly premium for doctor/outpatient care (known as Part B). A senior making more than the limits will pay premiums between $161.50 and $369.10 a month. In 2011, a senior under the limit will pay between $96.40 and $115.40. Starting in 2011, premiums for prescription drugs (Part D) will also be linked to those income levels.

For more information: