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How the Affordable Care Act Benefits Seniors

Affordable Care Act

This week marks the first anniversary of the Affordable Care Act - a law that ensures all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care and significantly reduces long-term health care costs.  The Affordable Care Act benefits seniors by:

Reducing prescription drug costs for seniors.  More than 3.5 million seniors who entered the Medicare Part D ‘donut hole' coverage gap in 2010 have received $250 rebate checks.  Beginning on January 1, 2011, seniors who enter the ‘donut hole' are receiving even greater savings - a 50% discount on brand-name drugs.  Reform completely closes the ‘donut hole' by 2020.  These seniors, on average, will save more than $500 in 2011 and more than $3,000 in 2020 on their drug costs. 

Providing a free annual wellness visit under Medicare, for the first time, beginning on January 1, 2011.  

Providing free Medicare coverage of key preventive services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, beginning on January 1, 2011.

Strengthening Medicare and extending the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund by 12 years
- from 2017 to 2029.  These reforms strengthen solvency by squeezing waste out of the system and making it more efficient, without reducing benefits. 

Providing new tools to crack down on fraud in Medicare, and in 2010, a DOJ-HHS anti-Medicare fraud task force recovered a record $4 billion on behalf of taxpayers.  In passing H.R. 1, House Republicans have voted to weaken these anti-fraud efforts, with a deep cut in funds used by HHS to detect and prevent fraud. 

Helping seniors remain at home and stay out of nursing homes, with the new Community First Choice Option, allowing states to offer home-based services to disabled individuals through Medicaid rather than institutional care, beginning on October 1, 2011.

Providing nursing home residents with more protections from abuse and making more information available about nursing homes so consumers are better informed.