Retired Persons and their Health Benefits after Health Reform

Retirement benefits for most people have been compromised becasue of the new health reform laws. Their pension plans at work may have been stopped or they may not even have jobs. It is The controversial health care reform package,  which  recently was signed into US law, is not immediately being seen as a sweeping change, but will incrementally take effect. By the year 2020,  most of its effects will be seen.  So far, it has produced much controversy and has aroused much fear that health care will no longer be what it once was.

Of course, in some sense that is true. But one thing is clear, reducing the cost of health care, especially for retirees, was and is necessary. Health care in the United States is the costliest in the whole world, and of course much of the reform is about reducing these costs. Retirees of course have Medicare as a backup, government sponsored, health care plan. This altruistic approach for caring for the elderly and the disabled  has been quite successful and, correspondingly, even more expensive than was originally planned.

What effect will the reform have on medicare and those who retire with no other means of health insurance? At present, those who have slipped into the ‘dough-nut hole’ that black area where Part D, the prescription drug part of medicare have overspent their allowance and are temporarily uncovered and must foot their own bill, will be compensated $250 dollars for their drugs. In 2011, a 50% discount has been added and this, as well as possibly other savings will be ongoing until it finally ends in 2020.

Also, according to Medicare and the New Health Care Law: What it Means for You, by Kathleen Sebelius, The Affordable Care Act law by 2011, by its preventative care services, cancer screenings, annual checkups and other means of keeping retirees healthy and in need of lesser expensive care for longer periods, will be in place and working.

Another improvement to retirees who are naturally eligible for retirees at age sixty-five, will be alterations in the way the overly priced Advantage Health Care plans will be allowed to do business. It has been discovered, according to the newsletter Kathleen Sebelius, US Secretary of Health and Human Services, that “on an average, this type of insurance,  costs the government $1,000 more per person over Original Medicare.” The health care reform law will reduce, or limit these additional costs.

What are the advantages to the retirees who may still have years before they become eligible for Medicare? It is debatable whether the health reform law will do much to help those who elect to retire early. Most of these will probably find other jobs, or for those who have planned well and still have viable retirement insurance from their companies, they will rely on this until Medicare –  and approaching old age – kicks in to help with their health care costs.

Most of the help for those will be the laws that limit what private insurance companies can do and cannot do for the new and presently insured. They cannot change their mind and cut off those with diseases that are too costly for the company; by 2014, insurance companies must accept all who apply;  and those  with illnesses that formerly were eliminated will have coverage.   

Amidst the present concern about the new changes, there are those who still oppose the laws and for good reason. The ever present debate – and outrage – over the abortion debate continues. Should or should not the law permit government funding for abortions? Are there hidden clauses that permit an ever widening abuse as seen by pro-lifers? And on and on, the fight continues. Each of course must vote their conscience and be aware of what is going on in Congress that will undoubtedly affect their future and the future of their children.