Health Care Reform: Questions and Answers
How can I afford to buy health insurance if I am currently uninsured? continued...
"The bottom line is there is help to pay for out-of-pocket costs and help to pay for premiums," says Mila Kofman, JD, a research professor at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute.
In addition, the law expands the number of people who qualify for Medicaid, the state and federal health insurance program for people with low incomes. That means millions of people who don't qualify for Medicaid today will in 2014. An individual that makes less than $14,856 or a family of four that earns less than $30,657 will be eligible.
I thought the Supreme Court changed something about the Medicaid expansion rules.
It did. The Supreme Court's decision now gives states the freedom to decide for themselves whether they want to expand their Medicaid program. "They don't have to," Kofman says.
People who live in states that choose not to participate may find themselves without insurance coverage in 2014. However, Kofman says, states will likely be under pressure from hospitals and insurance companies that rely on that money to expand their Medicaid programs to include more people.
Will procedures for seniors be limited? Is it up to a panel? Will they limit some procedures for those over 65?
No. There is absolutely nothing written into the law that aims to limit medical care for seniors. In fact, the law expands services to people over the age of 65 who have Medicare coverage.
Since the law first took effect in 2010, more than 5 million seniors who entered the gap in Part D prescription drug coverage known as the "donut hole" have saved $3.7 million on prescription drugs. The donut hole is scheduled to close completely by 2020 as a result of the law.
In addition, the law has given millions of people on Medicare access to preventive medical services, such as annual wellness visits, cholesterol, and other heart disease screenings, as well as cancer screenings including mammography and colonoscopies with no annual deductibles, co-pays, or coinsurance for these services.