On Oct. 1, open enrollment begins for the Affordable Care Act, the government law mandating health care coverage. One of the biggest concerns about the new law comes from seniors: how will it affect Medicare?
Nearly 50 million people are enrolled in Medicare, the federal insurance program for people who are 65 or older or have disabilities. The Affordable Care Act does make some changes to Medicare, but not in one key area:
"If you had original Medicare, which is Medicare parts A and Be or you have Medicare Advantage, which is part C," said Renard Murray, D.M., southeast regional director for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. "October 1 you really don't need to do anything at all because your coverage will remain intact. Nothing is changing about that."
The new law actually adds some benefits for Medicare. It gives seniors additional preventive care services like mammograms, colorectal screenings and a free yearly wellness visit. There are also some added savings on prescription drugs.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio is one of the biggest opponents of Obamacare in Congress. He has invoked the example of his mother -- who has a Medicare Advantage plan -- from the Senate floor.
"They actually will pick her up from home, because she can't and doesn't drive, and take her to her doctors' appointments," Rubio said back in August. "These are the kinds of benefits that Medicare Advantage offers. Here's the problem: Obamacare cuts about $156 billion out of Medicare Advantage."
"Some of the benefits like that -- which are very, very rich -- that would be nice up here. But it's just not available," said Tom White, an independent insurance agent. "Some things may be cut along the way. But then when you look at what's happened to healthcare overall, that's happened in everything."
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