Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Affordable Care Act: Improving Health Care for Older Women & Strengthening Medicare

Wisconsin women are winning with the Affordable Care Act (ACA)!  The health care law is making it easier for women to get services we need to stay healthy at all stages of life.  By making the Medicare program stronger and better, the ACA is helping older women deal with the barriers to quality, affordable care that they are more likely to face just because we are women.

Older women often need more health care than older men do because they live longer and are more likely to suffer from chronic conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis.  Older women also have lower Social Security and pension benefits than men do, on average, so we have been spending more of their income on out-of-pocket health care expenses.  The health care law is helping to change that with its emphasis on making primary and preventive care more affordable.  In 2011, nearly 24.7 million women with Medicare got preventive health care without financial barriers.

Thanks to the ACA, Medicare is already covering preventive services without co-pays:
  •       An annual wellness exam for you and your doctor can create a personalized prevention plan to help you stay healthy
  •       mammograms    
  •       colorectal cancer screenings
  •       vaccinations
  •       blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol testing
  •       counseling about quitting smoking, losing weight, choosing healthy foods, treating depression
  •       flu shot, pneumonia shot and hepatitis B shot
For women 65 and older - Important Ways That the ACA is Making Medicare Stronger & Better:
  • Making prescription drugs more affordable with 50% discounts on brand name drugs if your expenses are so high that you fall into the non-reimbursed "donut hole."
  • Improving access to primary care for older women, thanks to new bonus payments that give primary care providers a greater financial incentive to see Medicare patients.
  • Streaming Medicare enrollment, making it easier to get the full range of benefits you are entitled to and giving you the time you need to consider your choices.
  • Reducing bureaucratic hurdles that make it hard for low-income seniors who are enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid to get the benefits they're to which they are entitled. 
  • Rewarding Medicare providers who meet measurable goals for improving the quality of care so older women will be less likely to experience preventable health problems.
  •  Making more affordable prescription plans available for senior women living on low, fixed incomes including $0 premiums for women with the most limited financial resources.
  • Improving access to affordable home- and community-based services so women on Medicare are not forced into nursing homes or other institutions if they can safely stay in their homes with support from qualified home health programs.
  • Making sure the Medicare program is financially sound so that it will be there for the women who rely on it.
The Affordable Care Act is helping all Wisconsin women get AFFORDABLE PREVENTIVE health care! Download a copy of our fact sheet here                   

For more information, use AARP's online tool at: www.aarp.org/healthlawguide.   And if you need to sort out Medicare Fact or Fiction, visit the Center for Medicare Advocacy's chart at www.medicareadvocacy.org/medicare-facts-fiction-quick-lessons-to-combat-medicare-spin/. 

To learn more about what's at stake for Wisconsin women and girls with the Supreme Court decision, visit our Raising Wisconsin Women's Voices site at www.raisingwiwomensvoices.org or our blog atrwwv.wordpress.com.
Thank you for continuing to support Wisconisn Women's Health, Greetings!

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