The recent Supreme Court ruling of the constitutionality of the new health care reforms has many seniors breathing a sigh of relief. The ruling has ensured that, at least for the time being, senior citizens will continue to receive their currently existing benefits from programs such as Medicaid and Medicare; but the ruling also paves the way for changes—some good and some not so good—in the way various home-based and long term care services are paid for and provided.
This article in Forbes explains some of the ways that the ruling on the Affordable Care Act will impact senior citizens or adults with disabilities:
According to the article, Medicaid (called Medi-Cal in California) “currently funds nearly half of all paid long-term care services.” This current coverage will continue under the 2010 health law, but states can refuse to provide new coverage to individuals if they choose.
The Medicare program is currently under some considerable financial strain, and the Affordable Care Act “includes a small increase in the payroll tax that is aimed at increasing revenues for Medicare.” This should be a great help to the program, and a relief to seniors who receive benefits from Medicare.
For seniors and adults who require long-term care services and have been frustrated by numerous roadblocks to getting that care at home instead of in a nursing facility, good news is on the horizon; the ACA “includes important new incentives for states to expand Medicaid long-term care services for people living at home.” However, it remains to be seen whether the states will accept these incentives and expand coverage. As of this writing, Republican Governors in a number of states have announced that they do NOT intend to accept the incentives and expand coverage. We find such positions to be unfortunate for the many seniors and uninsured persons who would thereby lose the opportunity for health care coverage.
And finally, the law is giving more attention to seniors and adults with chronic and long-term illnesses. The ACA “creates a new office to coordinate the health and long-term care of people who receive both Medicare and Medicaid. . . It also includes important incentives to encourage hospitals, nursing homes, doctors, and other providers to work together to improve care for people with chronic disease.”