Republicans in Congress recently released the American Health Care Act (AHCA) as a way to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. The new bill — subsequently nicknamed Trumpcare — makes several changes to health insurance in the United States. The individual mandate, taxes, subsidies to pay for premiums and health benefits are expected to undergo changes if the proposed bill passes.
The biggest changes to health insurance might be with Medicare. If Trumpcare passes Congress, Medicare funding, benefits and premiums for seniors could be altered.
First, Trumpcare is expected to reduce funding for Medicare. The new bill repeals two major taxes from Obamacare that paid for Medicare. The first tax, a 2.9 percent tax that is paid by employees and employers, is eliminated. The other tax, the 0.9 percent Additional Medicare Tax paid for by high earners, is also gone. Since both taxes help pay for Medicare, that could mean reduced benefits for Medicare recipients and the need for more Medicare supplement plans. According to MyMedigapPlans.com, more and more insurance companies are getting into the Medicare supplement business due to the influx of baby boomers.
In addition to the reduced funds to pay for Medicare, seniors might also have more out of pocket medical expenses thanks to Trumpcare. Under the current Affordable Care Act, insurers can charge older Americans no more than three times as much as younger people. However, according to Vice, Trumpcare removes that cap. As a result, seniors would be charged up to five times as much as younger people. In addition, Trumpcare removes the subsidies from an income based system to an age-based system, which could also hurt some seniors. Since seniors usually require more health care and are more likely to be living on a fixed income, Trumpcare could be costly for them.
After the Republicans in Congress released the details of Trumpcare, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) issues a statement denouncing most of the provisions.
“This bill would weaken Medicare’s fiscal sustainability, dramatically increase health care costs for Americans aged 50-64 and put at risk the health care of millions of children and adults with disabilities, and poor seniors who depend on the Medicaid program for long-term services and supports and other benefits,” wrote Joyce A. Rogers, a senior vice president at AARP, via CNN.
During the election, Donald Trump made two promises regarding Medicare. The first promise he made was to negotiate lower drug prices. However, according to NBC News, this proposal is not part of Trumpcare. Trump also promised that he wouldn’t cut Medicare. But based on the proposals in Trumpcare, it will be very difficult for Medicare to remain the same. Medicare recipients should keep an eye on Trumpcare to see if it passes.