Are Medicare Supplement Plans Affected by Obamacare?

In recent posts we’ve tried to clear up some of the uncertainty many Americans seem to have about the connection between Obamacare and Medicare.

You may recall we pointed out that the Obamacare Open Enrollment Period and the Oct. 15-Dec. 7 Medicare Open Enrollment Period are not the same. Obamacare Open Enrollment does not apply in any way to people enrolled in Medicare. Medicare Open Enrollment, however, is an excellent opportunity for Medicare recipients to assess their current Medicare coverage and make certain changes for 2014.

We also pointed out recently that Medicare supplement plans are not available on the Obamacare Health Insurance Marketplace, or healthcare exchange. Anyone choosing to purchase a Medigap plan during Medicare Open Enrollment or at any other time still needs to do so through a reputable private agency or insurance company.


Obamacare and Medicare

While Obamacare Open Enrollment has nothing to do with Medicare, the same cannot be said for Obamacare itself. Obamacare refers to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, which does address certain aspects of Medicare. Specifically, the ACA calls for improvements in Medicare preventive services, and millions of Medicare recipients have already benefited greatly from improved, and often free, Medicare preventive services introduced as a result of the ACA.

The Affordable Care Act also calls for reduction in the amount of money Medicare drug plans can charge individuals for drugs when their coverage lapses in the donut hole, the period where drug costs are paid out-of-pocket. This reduction has already saved Medicare consumers money, and is expected to continue doing so in coming years. The donut hole is scheduled to be closed completely by 2020.

Medicare Supplement Plans and Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act does address Medicare supplement plans. Section 3210 (see page 342) of the ACA discusses, in very vague terms, Development of New Standards for Certain Medigap Plans. Under Section 3210 of the Affordable Care Act, “nominal cost sharing to encourage the use of appropriate physicians’ services under Part B” may apply to two Medigap plans—Plans C and F—beginning Jan. 1, 2015.

It is too early to determine whether this will be a real concern to holders of Plan C and Plan F. But other than possible developments relating to Section 3210 of the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare has little direct effect on Medicare supplement plans—and, remember, Obamacare Open Enrollment has no connection with Medicare recipients or Medicare plans.

For help assessing your Medigap options during the Oct. 15-Dec. 7 Medicare Open Enrollment Period, contact a MedicareMall Medicare plans representative today!

What is your reaction to Section 3210 of the Affordable Care Act? Leave a comment below!

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