Here are some highlights of the Supreme Court new coverage and our joint analysis prepared in partnership with the National Senior Citizens Law Center on the rulings impact on seniors.
Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act – What Does This Mean for Seniors? – National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare and the National Senior Citizens Law Center Analysis
What the Health Care Ruling Means for Medicare – New York Times New Oldage Blog
“This is great news for seniors on Medicare,” Paul Nathanson, executive director of the National Senior Citizens Law Center, a nonprofit advocacy group, said in a conference call on Thursday after the Supreme Court issued its ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act.
Because several key provisions involving Medicare kicked in soon after Congress passed the bill in 2010, many beneficiaries won’t see big changes in their coverage now. But those improvements could have evaporated had the law been overturned, so the ruling generated sighs of relief among advocacy organizations for older adults.
This means the annual free wellness exam will continue (about 2.2 million people took advantage of it last year, according to AARP), along with the first “Welcome to Medicare” visit, which will remain free, with no out-of-pocket costs.
A number of preventive services, including mammograms, bone scans and depression and diabetes screenings, used to involve deductibles and co-pays; under the Affordable Care Act, they no longer do.
And the gradual closing of the dread “doughnut hole” gap in Part D drug coverage by 2020 will proceed, bolstered by discounts that have already lowered drug costs. “The average Medicare beneficiary will continue to save an average $650 a year,” Max Richtman, who leads the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, said in Thursday’s teleconference. “That’s real money, especially for seniors.”
States With Largest Uninsured Populations May Be More Likely to Opt Out of Medicaid – CQ Healthbeat
Max Richman, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare, said that advocates will do “whatever we can” at the state and local level to persuade states to opt into the expansion. Others were not as sure.
“While we are pleased that the court’s ruling preserves existing Medicaid coverage, we are worried that the low-income people in any state that may reject the Medicaid expansion will bear the costs of that decision,” said Jane Perkins, legal director of the National Health Law Program. “If a state chooses not to participate in the expansion, poor people will suffer.”
Alan Weil, executive director for the National Academy for State Health Policy, declined to predict which states will opt out.“All that’s clear now is that states will have a debate over this issue they thought they didn’t have any choice on,” he said. “But it’s still a very attractive option for states.”A Senate GOP aide agreed with Weil’s assessment. “Congress threw a lot of money at the states in the expansion,” the aide said.“They may still take it.”
“Helpful in getting senior citizens who oppose Obamacare to take a second look are statements issued today by many well-informed senior advocates.
For seniors the legislation has already put in place lower drug costs, more free preventive health care screening and an annual consultation with a physician to discuss their personal health plan. And, for all Americans it should mean an end to out-of-control increases in medical costs.”