With the rough roll-out of the health care insurance marketplaces, some senior citizens are raising concerns about the Affordable Care Act. But a new report finds that for them, it has led to more benefits without more obligations.
According to report author Jon Bailey, who is director of the rural public policy program at the Center for Rural Affairs, most of the provisions that directly affect seniors have been in effect since 2010, and they center around enhanced benefits in terms of preventive care and treatment.
They include "more support for purchasing prescription drugs, some wellness and health benefits for senior citizens. So, most of the effects of the Affordable Care Act on senior citizens are positive without any real requirement that they do much different than they’re doing now," he said.
Bailey said these added benefits are especially important in rural areas, where the population is generally older and residents generally receive fewer medical screenings and preventive care procedures than people do in urban settings.
As far as the laws just coming online, such as the requirement that everyone have health insurance, Bailey said they don’t really affect seniors, because they have Medicare.
"Medicare meets that mandate, so they’re set. They’re covered. They don’t have to worry about going on to the ‘healthcare.gov’ website or any of the other state-based marketplaces," he said. "And so, they don’t have to worry: as long as they’re getting Medicare, they’re set."
Bailey added that despite early warnings about the ACA’s impact on Medicare Advantage plans, rather than declining, the number of seniors enrolling is actually greater than estimates.
The study is on the Center for Rural Affairs’ website (http://files.cfra.org/pdf/ACA-and-Seniors.pdf).