With the Affordable Care Act bringing a broad spectrum of changes to healthcare in the United States– the first major overhaul we’ve seen in decades– senior healthcare, in particular, is seeing some significant changes and improvements.
The Affordable Care Act – or Obamacare, as it’s known colloquially – sets in place a slew of changes that directly affect Medicare, the federal health care program for people who are 65 years old or older. These changes, applied at the national level, have already started to cascade to state and local health care apparatuses in a variety of important ways.
But what are these changes, and how will they directly affect Cincinnati retirement communities?
What Are Changes That Seniors Should Be Aware Of?
The Affordable Care Act expands Medicare benefits in some important ways.
Lower drug and medication costs, more preventive care, and spending reductions will all average out to more than $5,000 in savings for each senior over the next 10 years. In the 4 years since the Affordable Care Act was introduced and enacted, it’s estimated that the new benefits have already saved enrollees almost $10 billion dollars in prescription drug costs.
- Prevention and Wellness. In addition to annual wellness visits in which elderly patients can discuss health issues and concerns with their primary care physician, seniors are also offered many preventive services that have no out-of-pocket costs, like flu shots, assistance in helping to quit smoking, and screenings for cancer, diabetes, and many other chronic diseases
- Lower Costs. With Medicare becoming more efficient, overall health care costs are reduced, keeping Medicare Part B premiums from rising. In addition to these reductions, prescription drug prices have also been lowered, with more discounts and the closing of coverage gaps accounting for large portion of the reduction of costs.
- Keeping a Closer Eye on Fraud, Waste, and Abuse. Because of the Affordable Care Act, new resources and tools have been put in to place to help uncover, and recover, billions of dollars lost to fraud. Medicare payments are now under more scrutiny, and individuals and companies who are caught abusing the law and will face stricter penalties.
The direct affect the new legislation will have on Cincinnati retirement communities is yet to be seen, but the Cincinnati healthcare system as a whole, though, is already seeing the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.
Charting the Changing Healthcare Landscape in Cincinnati
With the sweeping changes and tighter oversight of medical spending and the care received, newer, more modern facilities becomes more of a necessity.
And in Greater Cincinnati, newer, more modern and efficient medical offices and facilities are already under construction, giving substance and reality to some of the Affordable Care Act’s most important undertakings
One of the most visible changes is the ground breaking for the TriHealth Rehabilitation Hospital.
TriHealth, which currently operates 4 hospitals in Cincinnati, plans to build a fifth this year, to be opened in 2015, that will provide “inpatient care for people with acute medical issues such as spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, stroke, amputation, neurological disorders, and musculoskeletal and orthopedic conditions.”
Much like the Affordable Care Act aims to simplify the process of receiving medical care and maintaining health, the 60-bed TriHealth Rehabilitation will take the place of other, smaller rehabilitation programs at other local hospitals, centralizing rehabilitation care in the area into a single high-tech facility that would better serve patients.
And as more plans for new facilities like these taking shape, offering better, more efficient care options— including the oversight needed to keep health care costs from expanding— the Affordable Care Act is changing the face of health care, one city at a time.