Confusion over Affordable Care's affect on seniors

By Rachel McNeill - Anchor

HOUSTON - Open enrollment for Affordable Health Care begins on October 1. Soon after, Medicare enrollment begins for seniors which may be causing some confusion over how this is all going to affect those over 65 years old.

Houston Medicare advocate and consultant Toni King said since changes were announced for health care reform this year, the attendance at her Medicare workshops has changed.

"The mood in the workshop has changed," King told Local 2. "I'm seeing a younger group coming, people that are 62 (years old), 63, turning 65, a younger group and someone that you wouldn't think are going to Medicare workshops because they're confused."

First and foremost, experts say health care reform should not negatively impact Medicare recipients.

"Medicare is not going anywhere," King said. "That's the first thing I tell people in my workshops. Medicare is here for you."

In fact, experts say there will be more benefits for seniors including free preventative services like flu shots, screenings and annual wellness visits.

UTHealth Professor Dr. Charles Begley said seniors can also expect to see lower prescription drug costs.

"For those people who reach the "donut hole" in their Medicare Part D drug coverage and had to pay out-of-pocket for their medications, under the Affordable Care Act, they get a 50 percent discount on the brand name drugs that they purchase," Dr. Begley explained.

Keep in mind, Medicare enrollment begins on October 15 and runs through December 7.

King recommends reviewing all your options with your doctor and making your family aware of the choices you've made.

"Talk to the case manager at a hospital and ask what they think," King said. "Your health care providers know this better than anybody else."

Copyright 2013 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.