How the reform bills would affect seniors

March 23, 2010

A new policy brief from the University of California provides a great synopsis of how the health reform bills will affect seniors. I covered some of this in my analysis of the bill Sunday night, but this paper goes into more detail focused just on the elderly population and Medicare and Medi-Cal.

–The prescription drug “doughnut hole.” Currently, Medicare pays 75 percent of the first $2,830 of a person’s prescription drug costs. Then the patient is responsible for 100 percent until their costs reach $6,300. After that Medicare pays 95 percent. Under the health reform legislation, people who exhausted the first limit would get a $250 one-time rebate. This rebate would go to about a half million Californians. The legislation also creates a 50 percent discount for brand name drugs for people who are in the “doughnut hole” where they are responsible for 100 percent of their drug costs.

–Improved access to care. The bill grants a 10 percent bonus to primary care doctors who take Medicare patients. In California, only 16 counties have enough primary care docs for their population. The legislation also eliminates co-insurance payments and cost sharing for preventive services, such as cancer screening and diabetes diagnostic tests.

–Long-term care. The legislation provides $10 million a year for four years to increase funding for aging and disability resource center, which help seniors and disabled people find services they need. The bill also provides up to $3 billion to help transition people out of nursing homes and back into their own homes using community-based services. The bill also creates a new national long-term care insurance program to provide resources to care for people in their homes.

To download the full report in PDF form, click here: Health reform impact on seniors.

Photo: From the White House.

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