Dr. Mor's Column - May
What's In It for the Elderly
By Eva Mor PhD
Author of "Making the Golden Years Golden"

Now that the bill has passed and been signed into law, a historic event of great proportions, the public is left to figure out how it will affect them. From the point of view of the seniors the whole process was extremely unsettling. With all of the contradictory interpretations, it was hard to discern the truth from the fairytales. Here are some points that will translate into fairly quick benefit to the senior:

The "Doughnut Hole" which to some seniors was more of a pit than a hole is set to be eliminated by 2020.until then the seniors will receive a $250 rebate starting this year upon reaching the so called doughnut hole, which is a cause of great hardship to millions of seniors. As of 2011 seniors will receive a 50 percent discount on all brand name drugs. Free annual exams as well as free preventive care will also be added.

The reforms are projected to cost $940 billion dollars over the next 10 years, but will be paid for by reining in abuse, waste and fraud, which cost the Medicare program many billions. With cuts in subsidies to private Medicare Advantage plans that the government had provided, and some taxes on high end health plans, the Congressional Budget Office has projected that the reform will trim the federal deficit by $138 billion in the next 10 years.

As for the rest of Americans the following benefits will affect us under the health reforms.

32 million Americans who cannot afford health insurance will be provided with it.

In six months the insurance companies will no longer be allowed to place a lifetime limit on medical coverage. They will also be prohibited from canceling the policies of members that become ill.

Children with pre-existing conditions will not be denied coverage.

Children up to the age of 26 will be able to stay on their parentís policy.

As of 2014 all people with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied health insurance.

The Medicaid program will be expanded to include families with incomes of less than $30,000 a year.

It is still an open question as to how the final product will evolve, and what the bottom line cost will be. But it seems that the seniors among others will see an immediate benefit..