The Affordable Care Act and how it’s impacting the elderly

When it comes to getting older and planning for your retirement, probably one of the biggest concerns on your mind is how much money you will need for health care as you age. As you get older, your chance of developing a serious illness increases. Bills for doctor visits and hospital stays can add up quickly, which is problematic for someone with a fixed income.

While an effective care plan can help elderly people avoid facing financial hardship due to health care costs, some may not have considered these expenses prior to retirement. Though this can usually become problematic later on, it’s worth noting that the passing of the Affordable Care Act may have created a fix some of our California readers may not be aware of.

The first thing the senior community will notice is a growth in more specialized health care units in hospitals and care facilities to accommodate the aging population. With better access to medical treatments, elderly people may also find less of a need to stay in nursing homes or senior living facilities. Because the Medicare program will pick up much of the tab, seniors now have the ability to shop around for options best suited for their needs. This could mean an increased demand for in-home care or assisted living facilities.

An increased demand for medical treatment has led to more doctors and physicians coming into the market too. Increased competition among health service providers will likely lower costs and make medical treatments much more affordable for the elderly. On top of that, seniors will notice that their prescription costs may go down and their deductibles may decrease as well.

Aside from costs though, the Affordable Care Act could be forcing nursing homes and senior facilities to reevaluate the services they provide and whether their facility present a danger to residents or not. Presently, senior living facilities are under harsh scrutiny because of cases of nursing home abuse and neglect.

Other options that do not have this track record are becoming more desirable, meaning an exodus of patients from nursing homes across the country. If nursing home-type facilities do not make the necessary improvements, they may not be able to compete in a market where consumers desire safety above all else.

Source: 

Mlive.com, “How the Affordable Care Act Affects Seniors,” Laura Neiser, May 29, 2014

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