Today’s news headlines are filled with the words “Affordable Care Act” or “Obamacare.” While these names are being drilled into our minds, most of us remain uncertain about what the new health care law means, especially for Medicare beneficiaries.  The good news is Medicare is not going anywhere and is largely unaffected by the Affordable Health Care Act. Here are some answers to some Frequently Asked Questions:

Q:  If I am already covered by Medicare, do I have to replace my coverage or buy additional coverage under the Affordable Care Act?

Affordable-Care-ActA:  No. If you are already insured by Medicare, your coverage is protected and you will not be required to pay any penalty fees under the Affordable Care Act. That means, you do not have to replace or buy additional coverage in the health insurance marketplace.

Q:  Will the Affordable Care Act increase the costs of my medication?

A: For most people – No. Seniors who earn less than $85,000 ($170,000 for married couples) annually will not have to pay more for their prescription medication under Medicare Part D. Moreover, Medicare beneficiaries who fall into the “donut hole”—prescription drug costs totaling over $2,700 but under $6,154—will receive a 50% discount on brand name prescription medications covered under Part D which will be automatically applied at your pharmacy. Only seniors who earn more than $85,000 ($170,000 for married couples) annually will have to pay a slightly higher cost for medication under Medicare Part D.

Q:  Does the Affordable Care Act require me to re-enroll or to get a new Medicare card?

A:  No. The Affordable Care Act DOES NOT require you to re-enroll or to get a new Medicare card. There have already been numerous reports of scammers calling seniors to get personal information to open accounts in their names. DO NOT accept any calls from anyone speaking on behalf of the government about your Medicare coverage.

Q:  What benefits does the Affordable Care Act have on Medicare beneficiaries?

A:  The Affordable Care Act extends Medicare coverage for additional preventative services like cancer screenings, vaccines and colonoscopies without additional charges. You will also be eligible for a yearly “Wellness Visit.” The Medicare Trust fund has also been extended until 2029, guaranteeing your Medicare coverage will be protected for the next 16 years.

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