How does Obamacare affect Medicare?


Quick Answer

Basic Medicare coverage is distinct from the insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act, widely known as "Obamacare," according to Medicare.gov. The Affordable Care Act did make some changes to Medicare, however, including provisions that expand preventative services and alter prescription drug benefits.

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Full Answer

The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicare coverage for preventative services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, without charging recipients a deductible. Recipients can also take advantage of free annual "wellness" visits with their doctor, which are intended to help patients avoid preventable illnesses. The law completely closes the so-called "donut hole" in Medicare prescription drug coverage by 2020, explains Medicare.gov. Federal agencies calculate that Medicare will remain fully funded until at least 2029 based on changes made in the Affordable Care Act, including provisions they expect to reduce waste, fraud and abuse.

Jonathan Blum for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services describes the donut hole as a lack of coverage for annual prescription drug costs of more than $2,800 and less than $4,550. Through a combination of rebates and varying discounts for prescription and generic drugs, the donut hold will close, notes U.S. News and World Report. High-income Medicare users have to pay more out-of-pocket for prescription drugs when that occurs. These requirements apply to individuals with more than $85,000 in annual income and couples with more than $170,000.

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