Medicare Seminars Ease ACA Anxiety - NBC 7 San Diego
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Medicare Seminars Ease ACA Anxiety

Seminar organizers say there is confusion about Medicare and ACA, specifically deadlines and enrollment periods



    The promotion for the Affordable Care Act and Covered California has created some confusion for senior citizens covered by Medicare.

    Special Section: Affordable Care Act

    Sharp Healthcare’s Manager of Senior Services Alicia Flynn stood in the front of a movie theatre in San Diego Wednesday along with an audience of nearly 80 senior citizens to talk about Medicare.

    San Diegan Bill Radatz was one of those attending the free seminar. He said he was hoping for, “concrete information about the plan next year if there’s going to be any chances and a reassurance of confidence that it’s going to function much like it did before.”

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    Sharp Hospital holds the meetings every year but at this meeting there were new concerns regarding the Affordable Care Act.

    Covered California and the ACA, or so-called Obamacare, is not for seniors, Flynn said.

    “If you have Medicare, you’re not eligible to purchase a plan through Covered California,” she said.

    Flynn said there is a common misunderstanding about enrollment deadlines.

    Open enrollment for Medicare ends December 7. While the first deadline for Covered California is December 15 if you want your coverage to start on January first.

    While seniors don't qualify for ACA, some plans may actually be impacted with some costs going up or down in price.

    Some participants have said their Medigap plans are increasing their monthly premium costs or their co-pays for certain services for 2014, Flynn said.

    “That’s why every year at open enrollment it’s really important to reevaluate the plan you’re in – what change has happened and take a look at what’s changing for 2014,” she said.

    Also, ACA is also working to eliminate the “donut hole” – the gap in coverage for prescription drugs.

    The gap will minimize each year with the goal is to completely eliminate it by 2020.

    Medigap plans are not offered through Covered California.

    That's another reason why seminars like the one offered through Sharp, can help seniors get through this confusing time of year.

    “They come in with lots of questions and we get them all answered,” Flynn said. “They leave knowing what they need to do,”

    Sharp Healthcare is offering more seminars throughout the county this month and next. Kaiser Permanente has several scheduled and available on their website.

    For complete coverage of the Affordable Care Act implementation as well as tools, calculators, state-by-state information and a detailed FAQ, visit our ACA section.