Seniors have significant political power and will need it to protect their Medicare benefits. Many are unaware that the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could directly impact them. Unless free annual wellness exams, preventive screenings, prescription drug discounts, and discrimination provisions are included in the replacement plan, Medicare beneficiaries stand to lose considerably.
The ACA has provided free annual wellness exams for seniors since 2011, instead of only one free check-up, as well as free preventive screenings and also waived the Medicare deductible for colorectal cancer screening tests.
Prior to the ACA, when beneficiaries fell into the donut hole, seniors paid 100 percent of the costs of their prescription medications. In 2017, the donut hole will be between $3700 and $4950. Under the ACA, those who fall in the Part D drug donut hole will receive a 60 percent discount on brand name drugs and a 49 percent subsidy toward the purchase of generic drugs. By 2020, the donut hole gap would have been closed.
The ACA also prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions, and discrimination by age. Prior to the ACA, insurers often charged seniors five times more than they charged a young person for their health care. The ACA limited what insurers could charge to no more than three times what they charge a young individual.
Seniors will be directly harmed by a repeal of the ACA, unless they work together to educate their representatives in Congress.