In an age when budget woes and service cuts are a common reality, many of the recent changes to Medicare are a welcomed relief. Due in part to the Affordable Care Act, seniors are expected to save on their prescriptions and gain access to a variety of preventative services.
Since 2006, if you were in what’s referred to as the coverage gap, you were required to pay 100 percent of drug costs. Only when recipients reached catastrophic levels, as defined by individual plans, did recipients exit the gap and regain coverage. With the new law, Medicare beneficiaries will automatically receive a 50 percent discount on brand name prescriptions when they hit the gap, which will slowly grow to 75 percent in 2020. Additionally, the catastrophic coverage limit will be lowered between the years 2014 and 2019 to provide additional support for those with relatively high prescription costs.
More preventative services are covered under the new health reform. Medicare beneficiaries will qualify for a yearly wellness visit in addition to other preventative exams and screenings. Covered services include yearly breast cancer screenings, diabetes screenings, flu shots, glaucoma testing, and many others. If you have not already done so, schedule your wellness visits today!
Making informed decisions is the first step to healthy aging. It is important to understand your insurance options, recent updates and how each aspect will impact you. Call Council on Aging Silicon Valley at (408)350-3200, option 1 for answers to your questions on health insurance.
Mark your calendars! Don’t miss the new Open Enrollment periods. Medicare open enrollment for Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug Coverage is October 15 through December 7. Call our Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) counselors at (408)350-3200 today.