How Will the Healthcare Mandate Affect Seniors and the Senior Care franchise Industry?
The Affordable Care Act is a healthcare reform measure that aims to make health insurance more affordable and accessible to Americans.
Among the ways it does this is by barring insurance companies from denying people coverage based on preexisting conditions, requiring that insurance companies cover 10 essential health benefits, including preventive and pediatric services, and subsidizing the cost of coverage for eligible participants.
Impact to Seniors
Seniors on Medicare should not be affected by the Affordable Care Act in terms of losing coverage. In fact, the ACA will extend additional benefits to those on Medicare, including reductions in the cost of prescription drugs and the addition of several free preventive services.
For most people on Medicare, costs will remain the same. For higher income individuals, the monthly cost of Medicare will increase, but this will impact a small number of people of those on Medicare (around five percent), according to webmd.com.
Since senior care services, including assisted living, are most often paid for with private funds, the impact on the senior care industry should be minimal, in terms of payment for services.
Impact to the Senior Care Industry
The impact on assisted living facilities and other senior care services will likely be minimal in terms of changes to patient care. The biggest impact will revolve around employer obligations to provide caregiver staff with health insurance.
Beginning in 2015, employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent (FTE) employees will be required to offer employees health insurance or face a per-employee penalty of
$3,000. Employers with fewer than 50 FTE employees will not be subject to the same requirement. Employers will ultimately need to do a cost assessment to determine whether it is in their best interest to provide employees with health insurance or pay the penalties.
Employees who do not receive health insurance through their employer can purchase coverage via their state’s health insurance exchange (if available) or through the federal exchange. Depending on income level some people may qualify for a subsidy to help pay for coverage.
The Affordable Care Act aims to provide Americans with affordable access to health insurance. The launch of the federal health insurance exchange website has been met with many technical glitches, frustrating consumers.
As time passes, and these issues are addressed and corrected, the full impact of the Affordable Care Act and the healthcare mandate will become more clear.
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