What the Affordable Care Act means for seniors

Apr 2, 2013

What will happen under California’s new pilot program for “dual eligibles,” senior citizens that are under Medicare and Medical? Credit: David McNew/Getty Images

Call it Obamacare, call it health care reform, call it whatever you want. The overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act just had its third birthday. Some provisions are already in place and by 2014, major parts of the law are supposed to be up and running.

Still, many people are confused as to how the law will impact them personally. Take one group for example: seniors. Reimbursement for Medicare Advantage, which provides care for seniors who opt to get their Medicare benefits through private insurance plans, was supposed to be slashed under health care reform. But the government said on April 1 that it is actually going to raise the program’s payment rate for 2014 as opposed to cutting it. California is among 15 states that will start a pilot program to enroll “dual eligibles” – seniors with both Medicare and Medi-Cal – into a managed care plan this year.

How would health care reform affect seniors? How would proposed cuts to Medicare Advantage impact seniors with Medicare? Is the “dual eligibles” program beneficial for low-income seniors?


Jerry Kominski, Professor at UCLA’s Department of Health Services. And Director of the Health Economics and Evaluation Research Program at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

Avik Roy, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a columnist for Forbes and National Review

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