Thinking of Medicare under the ACA
By Martha C. Rivera, Director of Strategy and Insights
With the support of Nicha Ruchirawat, Junior Executive
Medicare-related provisions are important components of the Health Care Law that will surely have a strong impact on multicultural segments. The ACA includes new rules that strengthen the Medicare program. Figures show that the multicultural group makes up a significant portion of Medicare participants who will be affected by this reform. Currently, approximately 16% of Hispanics and 23% of African Americans are enrolled in this federal insurance program, who will benefit from the ACA provisions aimed to decrease costs and ensure better protection to enrollees:
1. Closing the doughnut hole: Those who have Prescription Drug Coverage on their Medicare plan will get 50% discount on brand-name drugs and 14% discount on generic prescription drugs if they fall into the coverage gap. The coverage gap will narrow by year until it disappears in 2020.
2. Increased preventive care coverage: Cost-free preventive care services that were not part of the Medicare package before ACA, such as yearly wellness tests and screenings for diabetes, will be provided. Today, approximately 34 million Americans in traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans have received at least one preventive service.
3. Improved access to primary care doctors: Primary care doctors and nurses receive bonus payments if they provide quality care, or provide primary care in areas with doctor shortages.
4. Ensure future protection: Life of Medicare Trust fund extended to at least 2029, which is a 12-year extension.
Although the Medicare component of the ACA has received less media attention than some controversial issues of the law, it has already started its implementation process. For instance, by 2013, more than 1,550 hospitals were rewarded as the establishment of Medicare value-based purchasing program for incentivizing providers moves forward.
Source: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010: May 2013 Progress Report. Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.