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Affordable Care Act bringing benefits to older Americans, consumer group says

MRC logo with tagOn the 5th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare Rights Center Pres. Joe Baker offers this evaluation of the ACA:

"Five years ago Monday, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, bringing real benefits to the tens of millions of Americans who have Medicare. Older adults and people with disabilities are now receiving low-to-no cost preventive services as well as more affordable prescription drugs in the coverage gap.

"Thanks to the ACA, 9.4 million Medicare beneficiaries have saved more than $15 billion on prescription drugs, and these savings will continue to increase until the coverage gap is closed in 2020. In additional, in 2014 alone, about 39 million beneficiaries received at least one preventive service with no cost sharing.

"The ACA is also streamlining Medicare Advantage by reducing overpayments to plans, bringing them more in line with costs under Traditional Medicare, and creating more responsible spending in Medicare Advantage by requiring plans to allocate 85 percent of their revenues to the health and wellbeing of their customers.

"Also critical, more than 16 million Americans now have health coverage through the ACA Marketplaces and Medicaid. Older adults not yet age 65 and people with disabilities now have access to coverage options as they wait for Medicare. Affordable health insurance options for these individuals were lacking before the ACA.

"The ACA tackles the systemic causes of rising costs in the Medicare program, and so far the results continue to be promising. Most importantly, the ACA demonstrates that the federal government can contain costs without shifting even higher health care costs to beneficiaries, all while improving Medicare benefits.

"Continued implementation of the ACA is essential to preserving and strengthening Medicare for today’s and future beneficiaries."

Copyright 2015, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist


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