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ACA At 11: Affordable Health Care For Older Adults

By March 16, 2021No Comments

Protect Our Care Is Marking the 11th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act With 11 Days Celebrating the Success of the Health Care Law

Eleven years ago, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became the law of the land and millions of seniors gained coverage and critical protections as a result. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) ensures critical protections for seniors and older adults nationwide. Between lowering prescription drug costs and limiting the amount insurers can charge, the ACA expanded access to affordable health care for individuals aged 50 and older. According to AARP, before ACA’s protections, discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions, age rating, and annual and lifetime caps made accessing health care out of reach for older adults.

After four long years of Republican efforts to repeal and sabotage the law, President Biden and Democrats in Congress are now working to build on the strong foundation of the ACA to expand coverage, lower costs, and reduce racial disparities in health care. On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, historic legislation that includes the most significant health care expansion in a decade. Older adults could save thousands on health care thanks to the American Rescue Plan; for example, the average 60-year-old couple with a household income of $75,000 will save $1,389 in monthly premiums on marketplace coverage. Making health insurance more affordable and accessible is essential as older adults have suffered the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis. 

Thanks To The ACA: 

  • People Over The Age Of 50 Save Thousands On Premiums. The Affordable Care Act limited the amount older people could be charged to three times more than younger people. If insurers were to charge five times more, as was proposed in the Republican repeal bills, that would add an average “age tax” of $4,124 for a 60-year-old in the individual market, according to AARP.
  • Seniors Are Guaranteed Free Preventive Services And Annual Check-Ups. 60 million people with Medicare have access to free preventive services because of the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, Medicare beneficiaries likely see lower premiums thanks to the cost-saving measures implemented under the ACA.
  • 8.9 million Medicare Beneficiaries Are Benefiting From Higher Quality, More Coordinated Care. Provisions in the ACA encouraged groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers to come together to provide coordinated high-quality care to the Medicare patients they serve. 
  • 32 Million Older Adults With Pre-Existing Conditions Gained Protections. Thanks to the ACA, people with pre-existing conditions like asthma and diabetes cannot be charged more or denied coverage by their insurers. Nationwide, 135 million Americans have a pre-existing condition, including 32 million people aged 55-64. And now, millions of Americans who have contracted the coronavirus are also protected from discrimination by their insurance companies. 

A Closer Look At How The Affordable Care Act Is Working For Seniors Across The Country:

Seniors Saved Thousands On Prescription Drug Costs Thanks To The ACA. From 2010 to 2016, “More than 11.8 million Medicare beneficiaries have received discounts over $26.8 billion on prescription drugs – an average of $2,272 per beneficiary,” according to a January 2017 Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services report.

The ACA’s Medicaid Expansion Saved The Lives Of At Least 19,200 Older Adults. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Medicaid expansion saved the lives of 19,200 older adults aged 55 to 64 between 2014 and 2017. At the same time,15,600 older adults died prematurely as a result of their states’ decision not to expand the program.