Q:

How does the Affordable Care Act affect Medicare coverage for seniors?

A:

Quick Answer

The Affordable Care Act affects Medicare coverage by providing more preventive services, making prescription drugs more affordable, and making treatment by physicians more consistent and coordinated, reports Medicare.gov. Although people who have Medicare do not use the Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicare meets the legal requirements for minimum essential health coverage.

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How does the Affordable Care Act affect Medicare coverage for seniors?
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Full Answer

Since the Affordable Care Act became law, Medicare Part B covers screening services such as colonoscopies and mammograms for colon and breast cancer without charging deductibles or coinsurance, according to Medicare.gov. The act also provides for free screenings for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes; free counseling to assist smokers with quitting, and a free yearly wellness check, as WebMD explains. Additionally, the Affordable Care Act closes the gap in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage called the donut hole year by year until by 2020. In that year, Medicare recipients are expected to pay no more than 25 percent of the cost of needed drugs, according to WebMD.

Seniors do not receive traditional Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Part D prescription drug plans or Medicare Supplementary Insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act, as Medicare.gov explains. Although seniors can keep their Marketplace coverage when their Medicare coverage begins, they are no longer eligible for reduced cost-sharing or tax credits. If seniors have only Medicare Part A, they meet the Affordable Care Act requirement for health coverage, but having only Medicare Part B does not meet the requirement.

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