Does Obamacare Affect Medicare?

Obamacare, or PPACA, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,  mainly applies to those under 65.  Medicare is a separate government health program.  Obamacare rules apply mostly to individual and group health insurance policies for Americans under 65 and who are not yet eligible for Medicare.

Medicare premiums are also not related to Obamacare.   There has been some discussion and concern that the Part B premium may go up to $247.00 a month in 2014.    Obamacare does not determine Medicare Part B premiums.  The CMS, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, uses a formula that has been in place for years to determine the Part B premiums for the coming year.  The premiums are determined by claims losses from Medicare in the prior year. You could see an increase in Part B premiums if the Medicare spending is higher from one year to the next.  If you income goes up, you might pay more as well.

Seniors are also concerned that they may lose some benefits in their Medicare Advantage Plan.  In 2014, you may see some Medicare Advantage plans reduce benefits because Congress made changes to how Medicare Advantage plans are paid from CMS and must reduce what were considered “overpayments” to private Medicare insurance companies who offer Medicare Advantage plans.  Obamacare does not affect this aspect of Medicare.

Medicare does not provide any coverage to seniors when they travel outside of the U.S.  Seniors need to have a supplemental Medicare plan in order to receive international health care coverage.  These supplemental plans cover traveling seniors up to $50,000.00, for up to 60 days.  If you are outside the country for more than 60 days, you are uncovered.

International health insurance is necessary for seniors that may spend more than 60 days out of the country, such as seniors who own second homes in a foreign country.  The Medigap policies that will cover international travel are C,D,E,F,G,H,I and J.   Under these plans, Medigap policies pay for 80% of the cost of emergency care during the first 60 days of each trip after you pay the $250 deductible.   Foreign Travel Emergency coverage with Medigap policies have a lifetime limit of $50,000.

The national Obamacare program is separate from the Medicare program, and has very little affect on rates or coverage.