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One of the most important components of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is the health insurance exchanges. While some states are
If you’re a senior, whether or not Obamacare affects you will depend entirely on your age. If you're over age 65, it will have no effect on you because you will be on Medicare. But if you're a retiree and not on Medicare, you will have some important new options. For example, if you've had a problem finding affordable health insurance or you have an existing condition that prevents you from getting insurance, this has all changed. The insurance companies can no longer turn you down because you have an existing condition and there is now a floor under the benefits that the insurance policies must provide. Plus, the premiums you will be required to pay will be affordable if you qualify for the law's sliding scale of subsidies and tax credits.
There has been some confusion on the part of seniors mostly due to the fact that the new health insurance exchanges are launching at about the same time that it's Medicare's fall enrollment period for prescription plans and Advantage plans. As a result, there is a concern that some seniors will try to enroll in a health insurance exchange or who might fall victim to a fraudulent sign-up campaign.
A simple fact
The simple fact is that if you are enrolled in Medicare Part A (Hospitalization), it‘s not necessary for you to sign up in any health insurance exchange to meet any of Onamacare’s insurance coverage mandates. In fact, it could be illegal.
One little wrinkle
However, if you will turn 65 during 2014, there is one wrinkle you need to be aware of. You are required to sign up for coverage that will take effect Jan. 1, 2014 so you won’t be hit with the penalty for not getting insurance. However, if you are now getting Social Security, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B and should receive your Medicare card about three months before turning 65. On the other hand, if you are not on Social Security you will need to sign up three months before your 65th birthday and then do to the traditional Medicare thing – signing up for Medicare Part B, a drug plan or an Advantage plan. Then, when you are sure you know when your Medicare coverage will start, you can arrange for termination of the coverage you got through a health insurance exchange for that date.
The prescription drug plans
The reason why you need to re-shop your Part D coverage annually is due to the fact that while prices are expected to rise an average of just 5.1%, half of the 10 plans that are most popular are raising their premiums dramatically. In addition, the coverage for drugs can change from year to year and even if your plan lists a drug as covered, you need to study the detailed "formulary" to understand the specific coverage rules. The good news is that the "donut hole" will decrease by $80 next year.