Updated on February 20, 2018
Healthcare reform, some of which has gone into effect in 2010, is a confusing and unnerving topic for most Americans, young or old. If you live in Georgia, it’s no different. The topic of this article is to educate Americans residing in the lovely state of Georgia on how healthcare reform will affect you with regards to Medicare.
Let’s first summarize the main purpose of the Affordable Care Act and ERISA put into place September 23, 2010. The Affordable Care Act allows Medicare beneficiaries to receive many preventive care services at no charge, or no copayment. Services that are now offered at a zero-dollar copay in Georgia and across the nation are bone mass measurement, colonoscopies, mammograms, pap tests, prostate checks, and annual wellness visits. The driving force behind this major change to Georgian Medicare beneficiaries is to maintain your health through your old age so that less money is spent on major healthcare costs that could have otherwise been prevented. This Affordable Care Act has been especially beneficial to women across the nation, who now receive OB-GYN care free of charge.
Lifetime benefit maximums have been a topic of controversy for Medicare beneficiaries nationwide since the Medicare program began in 1965. Fortunately, through the Affordable Care Act and ERISA, lifetime maximum benefits will be banned as of January 1, 2014. Already in 2011, the lifetime benefit maximum was mandated to be $750,000 at minimum. In 2012, the minimum is $1,000,000.00 and in 2013 it will be raised to $2,000,000.00. Obviously, this ban on lifetime maximums will protect all classes of Americans from the exponential costs of healthcare having a devastating effect on individuals and families.
Now that we’re more aware of two of the major provisions of "Obamacare", let’s discuss how this will affect you, as a Georgian Medicare beneficiary. We’re all aware that the Medicare trust funds are running out of money and with no change in our current system, will be bankrupt by 2020. In order to fix this major problem, we, as Medicare beneficiaries, will be required to pay for more of our care out of our own pockets. If you’re currently a member of a Medicare Advantage Plan, you’ve already seen the year-to-year increases in maximum out-of-pocket costs and higher copayments for most services. Medicare Supplement members will see the least amount of change in their plans, the main change being increases in their monthly premiums, which have already taken place. We can expect our Medicare Advantage maximums and cost-sharing to increase, as well as our Medicare Supplement premiums. With these efforts and the efforts of our government, hopefully we will find our way through the healthcare issue.