Health Care Reform

How the Affordable Care Act Affects Seniors and their Families

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, Public Law 111-148, into law. The Affordable Care Act protects existing guaranteed Medicare benefits and adds new benefits. The new law strengthens Medicare, reduces fraud, and closes the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage known as the ‘donut hole.’ The Affordable Care Act also takes a number of steps that improve health care for people with Medicare.

  • The life of the Medicare Trust fund will be extended to at least 2029, a 12-year extension as a result of reducing waste, fraud and abuse, and slowing cost growth in Medicare. This will provide you with future cost savings on your premiums and coinsurance.
  • Medicare will take strong action to reduce payment errors, waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare. The President has made a commitment to reduce Medicare fraud 50 percent by 2012. The Affordable Care Act makes an historic, ten-year, $350 million investment to prevent, detect and fight fraud in Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program—including criminal efforts to exploit the new law. Visit Stop Medicare Fraud for more information.
  • In 2011, if you hit the prescription drug donut hole, you will get a 50% discount on brand-name drugs. Every year after, you will pay less for your prescription drugs in the donut hole until there’s complete coverage of the donut hole in 2020. Between now and then, you will get continuous Medicare coverage for your prescription drugs.
  • The coordination of care between doctors and the overall quality of care will improve so that you will be less likely to experience preventable and harmful re-admissions to the hospital for the same condition.
  • Hospitals will have new, strong incentives to improve your quality of care.
  • Starting in 2014, the Affordable Care Act offers additional protections for Medicare Advantage Plan members by taking strong steps that limit the amount these plans spend on administrative costs, insurance company profits, and things other than health care.

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