Senior Care: How the American Health Care Act Might Impact Your Coverage
What is the American Health Care Act?
The American Health Care Act (AHCA) is a federal bill that will repeal the pieces of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, within the scope of the federal budget. The ACA passed the Senate and was signed into law March 23rd, 2010; since then, the bill has been responsible for providing millions of Americans with healthcare they would otherwise be without (estimates placed the number at 20-24 million in 2016). The AHCA is a federal budget reconciliation bill and has already been passed by the House of Representatives and forwarded to Senate for review as of May 4th, 2017. This bill, if passed into law, will hold major implications for many recipients of Medicaid, and countless more who received care under the ACA. Although not a detriment to all, as the AHCA will repeal taxes for households making $250 000 per year or more, this bill will leave millions without the coverage they rely on, and that is the focus of this article.
Reductions in Medical Coverage for the Most in Need
The AHCA will make it advantageous to enroll younger individuals before older individuals for Medicaid, due to the difference in spending amounts each will require. There are some requirements that will force states to provide coverage to seniors, such as those who receive coverage under the Supplementary Security Income program, which assists persons who are disabled, elderly, or blind and have low incomes. People who are enrolled in the Supplementary Security Income program will be given Medicaid status regardless of their eligibility otherwise. This provision still will not cover many elderly and/or disabled individuals in nursing homes or care facilities, leaving activists to fight on their behalf. Due to this loss of coverage, some people will lose the benefits they need to stay in their homes and to live independently.
How the Block Grant Could Change State Requirements for Medicaid
States may choose to forego the per capita spending in favor of a single “block grant”, which pays a fixed lump sum yearly instead of the matched spending of the per capita system discussed above, further reducing the amount the state will receive. This alternative will allow states that adopt this provision to decide for themselves, without the regular requirements and restrictions placed on policy and coverage decisions of Medicaid. Deciding who receives coverage becomes the state’s responsibility, meaning a state could impose enrollment caps, waiting lists, or charge unlimited deductibles, premiums, and copayments. This will all depend on what the state you reside in decides to take, the per capita spending option, or the block grant option described here.
Whether you are currently on Medicaid or not, the AHCA will rewrite the coverage policies dictating who receives benefits, and to what extent. These changes will mean a massive reduction in government spending on the health care of countless Americans. Preparing for these changes may be impossible for some who depend on this coverage to lead their normal lives, but it is important to understand the proposed legislation before it is passed into law and ultimately changes the coverage you receive.
For a detailed summary of the American Health Care Act and its provision, please visit the Kaiser Family. Reach out to your friends at Always Best Care for services that fit your lifestyle at 310-792-8666!