Older Americans Comment on Health Care Reform
Readers had plenty to say about my previous column, which described the many benefits to older Americans contained in the new health reform law.
I received several notes from people who opposed health care reform, but are beginning to change their minds. Then, of course, several people called me a liar, a socialist or worse. To coin a phrase: People, can we all get along?
Here's a sampling of your questions, comments and rants on health care reform:
Q: I feel that you are not being honest with your readers when you make light of the serious cuts to
At the same time, it's true that the payment reforms you mention are taking place. Some are linked to the new health care law, but they are part of a larger movement to reform how health care is delivered and how it is paid for. Many of these changes pre-date the new health reform law. For example, the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003--a Republican-sponsored bill that was signed by President
Q: I'm one of those people who has been opposed to the healthcare reform legislation recently passed and have to admit that the more I read, the less threatened I feel. I am 68 and currently enrolled in a
Let me point out one aspect of a government bureaucracy's involvement in my healthcare that leaves me suspicious and concerned (albeit perhaps irrationally). In your article, you mention doctors receiving incentives for joining "accountable care organizations." I would love it if you could allay my concerns that a disconnected organization, manned by bureaucrats, will always operate strictly with the benefit of the patients as their main objective. Who will staff these organizations and who will proffer their objectives and guidelines? -- J.G., via the Internet
A: It's not mandatory for doctors to join ACOs under the new law, and the intent is to create a patient-centered program. This is an experiment; the law establishes some basic requirements for an organization to be considered an ACO, but details remain to be ironed out. The idea here is to prevent adverse health events that may occur because in the current system there is no incentive for follow-up care. The hope is that having better coordination of care will help people avoid incidents such as re-hospitalizations.
Q: It was my understanding that health insurance companies couldn't turn away applicants for a pre-existing condition starting in 2014, except for children, which would take effect in six months. You wrote that it starts this year. Which is correct? -- D.M., via the Internet
A: You are correct--only children will be protected this year (six months from the date the bill was signed). Everyone else will have to wait until 2014 for this important protection to kick in.
Q: I have a 19-year-old adopted son. I'm 67 and have a Medicare Advantage Plan. Does the new health care reform law allow for my son to be covered by my plan until he reaches age 26? Currently, his insurance ends
A: The new law allows parents with private insurance plans to keep their children on their plans until age 26.
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Personal Finance - Older Americans Comment on Health Care Reform
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