Friday, March 26, 2010

Question for the weekend (by Suzie)

How will the new Affordable Health Care for America Act affect you personally?

I'll go first. Because I pay for Medicare Part D drug coverage, I'm happy that there will be rebates and discounts for those who fall into the doughnut hole, where we have to pay for everything ourselves. I usually fall into it in November or December. The hole will be closed in 10 years.

(Keep in mind that we aren't getting free drugs. I paid $2,000 last year in premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.)

Some of you may be surprised to hear that 16 percent of Medicare recipients are younger than 65, but qualify because of a disability. A lot of people discuss Medicare as if it only affected elders. (For the stats, go to CMS and click on "populations.")

As of 2014, insurance companies cannot discriminate against adults because of pre‐existing conditions and health status. I wonder how that will work in regard to Medigap. Those of us with regular Medicare have to pay a deductible and 20 percent of costs unless we have a private Medigap policy to pick up those expenses. When I got mine in 2004, only one company in my state would write a Medigap policy for someone under 65. No one asked me about my health status, but that wasn't necessary. They already knew that I had to have a serious diagnosis to qualify for Social Security Disability and thus, Medicare.

People under 65 with disabilities are treated differently than seniors. We have to wait two years from the date that we were entitled to Social Security before we get Medicare. For me, that meant two years in a very expensive state risk pool.

I've followed the discussion of health-care reform in regard to gender. But now, I'd like to hear how the whole enchilada will impact you.