Seniors Confused by Health Care Reform

A recent survey by the National Council on Aging suggests that many seniors are perplexed about health care reform — in fact, only 17% of respondents could correctly answer half of the questions related to health reform posed during the study, and only 9% said they felt “very familiar” with the law.roundabout

Despite the attempts of many senior care organizations to dispel popular myths about health care reform and to promote understanding among the senior population, many seniors remain unaware of how certain aspects of the law will impact them. For example, in relation to the widespread myth that Medicare payments will be cut to physicians, only 14% of seniors surveyed knew that was not true. 41% said they did not know the answer, and 45% said they believed the law would cut Medicare payments to physicians.

Only a third of respondents (33%) were aware that the new law would mandate a free, yearly wellness visit to a doctor each year. Closer to half (43%) of respondents knew that health coverage would be expanded to 32 million currently uninsured Americans, and 42% were aware that the Medicare Part D “donut hole” will be phased out.

The National Council on Aging has published a fact sheet entitled “5 Key Facts on the Affordable Health Care Act,” which provides details on the following points:

  1. Medicare benefits won’t be cut under the new law. In fact, some benefits will be improved.
  2. Medicare spending will still grow, but at a slower pace. The budget deficit is projected to decrease as a result of these changes.
  3. Obtaining long-term care at home will be easier and more affordable.
  4. Care for older adults will be improved in other ways, such as advanced training for providers and improved quality standards.
  5. Health insurance coverage for younger Americans who don’t have Medicare will be improved.

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