August 15, 2014
Guide to the Effects of “ObamaCare”
ObamaCare is one of the most talked about health and insurance topics that the world has seen in the last few years. The ObamaCare phenomenon centers around the Health Care Reform Act that is set to take place during 2013 and 2014. Though there have been some discussions and debate about what should be done or what can be done through ObamaCare to make insurance more readily available to United States citizens, there is still debate as to whether or not ObamaCare is a good option. This guide will go over the reasons people are worried about ObamaCare, how ObamaCare will affect senior health, how ObamaCare affects Medicare and Medicaid, the ObamaCare myths and ObamaCare facts. This guide is set to serve as an introduction into what changes may be occurring and what to expect in different aspects of the most controversial portions of ObamaCare.
Reasons People are Worried about Obamacare
There are several reasons people are worried about ObamaCare. One of the primary reasons is due to the fact that many individuals feel that ObamaCare will not help health insurance and will in fact increase the cost of health insurance without offering more benefits. The following are the top five reasons people are worried about ObamaCare.
One of the main reasons people are worried about ObamaCare is due to the required purchase mandate placed on ObamaCare. The ObamaCare plan states that everyone must have minimal health insurance coverage. The problem with this is that the price of medical insurance is not set to decrease. In fact, many of the changes scheduled for 2013 actually showing increasing deductibles, copayments cost and other health-related costs. This doesn't settle well with individuals who are already having a problem paying the high cost of insurance. For example, families of four can expect to pay upwards of 300 to as much as $800 a month for health insurance. Though these individuals will not have to worry about getting new insurance, they will still be saddled with having to worry about the cost of insurance. For individuals who do not currently have insurance they will now have to face purchasing insurance which will increase the amount of money they spend a month and may put them into a financial bind. There are going to be low income options, however there will still be an upfront payment required each month for insurance premiums. The real concern for individuals is that being mandated to have insurance or pay a fine if you do not have insurance does not solve the health insurance problem and does not solve coverage issues.
The amazingly high taxes would not go hand-in-hand with insurance, under the ObamaCare or health reform act plan taxes would increase greatly. This is a huge concern for individuals who currently do not have health care insurance for financial reasons, do not qualify for insurance such as Medicaid or Medicare and already have a limited budget. If an individual is forced to purchase insurance they will now have a new expense each month. If an individual is forced to pay higher taxes they will now have less on their check each month. The combination of increased expense with less on their income combines into a serious financial issue for many individuals. This financial probability has sent many people into a worrisome pattern over ObamaCare and what it will mean for them financially.
Insurance for the Elderly
Insurance coverage for the elderly is another reason that individuals are worried about ObamaCare. Whereas there will be a mandate for individuals to have insurance, this mandate may not concern many elderly citizens. However if it does not concern elderly citizen is due in part to the fact that many of the elderly are already on Medicare or Medicaid programs. The problem with this is that if an elderly individual is on Medicare currently they may be facing several massive changes to Medicare that would decrease their coverage amounts, increase their costs and premiums and decrease the amount they would be able to get on prescription drug coverage or for assisted-living coverage. In essence, many elderly individuals and their families are highly concerned and worried about ObamaCare due to the changes that will take effect in government elder care insurance like Medicare.
Prescription Drug Costs
An increasing concern for individuals and ObamaCare is the prescription drug costs issue. Currently prescription drugs can cost as much as $60 for a 30 day supply of a standard required medication. Those patients who are on heart medication, diabetes medication and other medications may be facing severe prescription drug costs that force them to choose between a utility bill, rent payment or the drugs they need in order to live. This is leading some people choosing to reduce their medication on their own, cut medication half or find alternative means of finding medication. The prescription drug costs have been mentioned, the reduction of prescription drug costs has not been mentioned. The only solid concept ObamaCare concerning prescription drugs is the ability for individuals to participate in the mail order prescription drug discount program. This discount program, however does not have the same benefits as many of the local pharmacies and chain pharmacies offering of $5 and $10 generic drugs. Overall the options for prescription drug costs and coverage are worrisome for people when concerned with ObamaCare and how they will be able to a forward their prescription drugs, tax increases and the increase of medical insurance coverage policies.
How ObamaCare Effects Senior Health
Senior health is one of the biggest concerns with ObamaCare currently. There are five main ways that seniors and their families view ObamaCare changing and affecting senior health of the whole. The following is a look at those five changes and how they are actually affecting seniors.
The first effect on senior health care from ObamaCare is options. The options that seniors will have under ObamaCare will dwindle greatly. This is due to the fact that ObamaCare decreases what has been known as Medicare advantage. Medicare advantage is a program that allows seniors to receive Medicare from a private plan of their choosing. This is a very popular program with seniors due to the fact that its premiums are 7% below the national average. However, under ObamaCare the Medicare advantage program will receive a $145 billion tax cut. This means that options will decrease and enrollment in the program will decrease. Overall, it is estimated that seniors between 2013 and 2017 will lose an average of $3700 worth of benefits each year.
The choices are another thing that is affected for seniors with ObamaCare. The independent payment advisory board is a board selected by President Obama, under ObamaCare. This board is made up of fifteen unelected individuals who are in charge of meeting a target budget for Medicare. It is believed that this advisory board will in effect reduce provider payments in order to meet the target budget. This is due greatly to the cost of running the advisory board and having the advisory board meetings. If payments are cut the care options will be limited and there will be less choice of Medicare beneficiary access to different providers and different networks. This means that a senior will no longer have as many choices as they do for various medical benefits and may in some cases have to drive or travel long distances in order to find a Medicare provider who can provide the services that they require rather than just the services they want.
Taxes on the elderly are an increasing worry for individuals and ObamaCare. And 2013 there will be two taxes which will go into effect. These taxes will greatly impact seniors. The first tax of 2.3% tax on medical devices. These medical devices can be anything from oxygen devices, Nebulizers and special devices used for assisted-living and in-home care. The second increase in taxes will be a 3.8% tax on unearned investment income. These are two aspects of elder care and retirement living that seniors rely on. Take into account, the scenario of the senior who has respiratory ailments and is using their retirement and investment income in order to not only provide income for their daily living but to also cover medical gap expenses are not covered under the current insurance. Not only will they be facing a 2.3% increase tax on needed medical devices they will also be facing a 3.8% tax on the investment income and retirement planning income that they so carefully put aside that covers the medical device. This means that there will be less money to cover their medical expenses, a higher increase on devices that are work wired and less money for their retirement. This puts many seniors in a huge financial bind and may greatly impact the kind of healthcare they are able to receive in order to live.
Access to Services
It is already an increasing issue for many seniors to receive access to services. This is due to the fact that seniors by and large will have an insurance program such as Medicaid or Medicare. Finding a Medicare and Medicaid provider is fairly easy. However, finding a Medicaid or Medicare provider in your local area can be increasingly difficult. Many seniors are unable to travel, unable to drive for themselves or unable to go certain distances due to their illnesses. Having a doctor that is 30 miles away can be increasingly difficult. However, under ObamaCare there are changes that with that senior care by making the access to services even more depleted. This means instead of driving 30 miles to find a provider that will accept Medicaid or Medicare, a senior may have to go as much as 100 miles or more in order to access the services they need. This is incredibly difficulty for many seniors and may lead many seniors not receiving the proper medical attention they need to transportation issues or due to access the services in their area.
The fifth issue for seniors and ObamaCare is the impact that it will have on the number of physicians. ObamaCare had not gone into effect as of late 2012, however there were already physicians leaving the field or retreating to other countries to service physicians in those areas. The reason for this was due to the fact that ObamaCare will increase the cost on physicians, or decrease the amount of people who will be up to see the physicians and increase several other effects on physicians. With fewer physicians in a given area this means less access to physicians and services that seniors need, less access to services and when that's combined with an increased elder tax on medical devices as well as on their retirement income a senior may be facing severe medical complications due in part to the new ObamaCare plan.
There are several myths surrounding ObamaCare. These myths are due in part to the miscommunication of the current organization and the various healthcare boards that govern ObamaCare and Health Care Reform Act. The following are five of the major ObamaCare myths and how these myths are misrepresented.
Fines for no Insurance
One of the huge miscommunications is regarding the fine for no insurance. The major misconception with this method comes in with the fine itself. It is commonly believed that everyone will be required to pay a fine if they do not have insurance. This is untrue. Under ObamaCare individuals who currently have insurance will not be required to purchase additional insurance, gap insurance or change insurance providers if they do not wish to. For these individuals there will be no fine. Individuals who do not have insurance but are deemed as eligible to pay for insurance or to be eligible for a government insurance plan with a small premium that is income base will be fine if they choose not to participate in a program that suits their budgeting and health needs. If an individual or family does not purchase insurance due to financial conflicts and is deemed as ineligible to pay for insurance but eligible for government based free insurance care then they must sign up for that care and they will not be fined.
No Addition of Physicians
Another myth of ObamaCare is that no new physicians will be added under the Health Care Reform Act or ObamaCare. The truth surrounding this myth is that the health care Reform Act or also known as ObamaCare will cover an additional 15,000 providers between 2013 and 2015. There are incentives for physicians to sign on with the new plans and to participate in new health care reform acts. There are also incentives for doctors to accept Medicare. One of these incentives is for the Health Care Reform Act to offer primary care doctors a higher overall Medicare payment. However, the flip side to this myth is that there will still be demands on the health care system that will drive new and old doctors out of the healthcare profession within the United States. The hope of ObamaCare is that the addition of 15,000 new providers between 2013 and 2015 will even out with the physicians who will be leaving the program.
Due to misconceptions and the indications regarding the increase of taxes for seniors and other individuals, there has been a misconception as to the impact on the IRS. According to one of the myths of ObamaCare, the plan will allow for an additional 15,000 or more new IRS agents. The truth behind the myth has been determined by factcheck.org. According to factcheck.org there has been no ruling that will allow for new agents. The new agents was a number that was determined by the amount of new IRS agents that are hired with a certain specified amount of time and the increased need for those agents as taxes increased and the Healthcare Reform Act goes into effect.
Increased premiums are a 50-50 myth. What ObamaCare states is that premiums will not be increased for sick people or for individuals with pre-existing conditions. However, the truth of the matter is increased premiums will be there for individuals who are healthy and have medical insurance, major medical or other insurance policies. So in essence, premiums will raise but only under certain conditions. There is no cap on how high premiums will raise for those individuals eligible for increased premiums.
End-Of-Life Death Panels
One of the biggest fears for many seniors and for individuals as a whole is the end-of-life death panel. This myth arose out of several miscommunicated statements from the White House regarding ObamaCare. What the death panel concept revolves around is the deciding factor of a physician over whether or not an individual is too sick or too close to death in order to receive certain kinds of health benefits or services. Basically, this is looked at as a death panel for physicians to be able to decide who lives and who dies. However, there is an advisory panel that somewhat surrounds death panels. A provision in the various healthcare reform acts was removed due to a death panel statement and the rumors that cause. This would pay doctors a counseling fee for Medicare patients regarding end-of-life care options. However, the wording was such that it did appear that the physician could advise against treatment, advise for no treatment or sign off that no treatment would be given in certain cases. However, it has been stated recently that ObamaCare will only regulate the insurance and not make decisions on what services are provided to individuals regardless of their health.
There are certain facts regarding ObamaCare that individuals should be aware of. The following are just a few of those facts as detailed on the government run websites ObamaCareFacts.com.
ObamaCare Keeps Rules
Several aspects of ObamaCare are part of rulings are already in place. For example, the patient protection and affordable care act is an act that is part of the Health Care Reform Act and was signed into effect in 2010. According to the website over 100 million Americans have benefited from this law.
Currently there one in two Americans who have a pre-existing condition that insurance will deny. These pre-existing conditions can fall under anything from cancer to autism to maternity care. Under ObamaCare a pre-existing condition will not affect an individual being able to receive health care benefits. This includes high risk policy holders and individuals with more than one person in their family with a major medical pre-existing condition. This will also include diabetics, autistic children, cancer patients, leukemia patient and individuals with certain depression issues.
Expansion of Medicaid
Then there are several issues affecting Medicaid with ObamaCare, one of the key facts ObamaCare is the expansion of Medicaid itself. According to ObamaCare fact checkers and websites, the expansion of Medicaid and Medicare will reach upwards of 15 million individuals within the United States are considered below a certain income. This Medicaid expansion will continue over 10 years time until the expansion is fully implemented. If expansion is implemented in all states each state that accepts the implementation of the Medicaid expansion is set to receive billions in additional federal dollars according to the ObamaCare fact checking websites.
Medicare Waste Cuts
According to ObamaCare fact checking websites, there will be over $716 billion cuts from waste related to Medicare and reimbursements. This means a $716 billion savings that will be reinvested back into ObamaCare and Medicare. This is one of the few aspects the doctors, hospitals, providers and insurance executives have agreed upon.