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September 22, 2010
For Immediate Release
Contact: Judith Stein, (860) 456-7790
jstein@medicareadvocacy.org

Vicki Gottlich, (202) 293-5760
vgottlich@medicareadvocacy.org

The Affordable Care Act has already helped millions. For example, over one million Medicare beneficiaries have already received rebate checks during the Donut Hole gap in coverage, helping them pay for necessary medications.

Next year, more low-income older people and people with disabilities will be able to remain in their current prescription drug plan in 2011 because of changes made by health reform. And, contrary to claims by opponents of health reform, Medicare Advantage benefits and protections improve as a result of the law. All plans will have a maximum out-of-pocket limit, and plans won’t be able to charge higher cost-sharing than traditional Medicare for certain key benefits. Furthermore, Medicare Advantage premiums will generally be lower in 2011 than in 2010 and access to Medicare Advantage will be robust – 99.7% of beneficiaries will have access to a Medicare Advantage plan in 2011.

Going forward all Americans will benefit from health care reform as older and disabled people have benefited from Medicare.

Indeed, protections from the Affordable Care Act’s Patient’s Bill of Rights regulations start tomorrow! As of September 23, 2010 the health care reform’s Patients Bill of Rights will ensure that:

  • Children under 19 cannot be denied health care for a pre-existing condition.
  • Insurance companies cannot retroactively cancel policies when people get sick.
  • Lifetime coverage limits are no longer allowed.
  • Annual coverage limits are restricted.

“We are pleased that younger people are beginning to benefit from health care reform as so many older people and their families have benefited from Medicare,” says Center for Medicare Advocacy Attorney Vicki Gottlich. “Opponents would have you believe that the health reform law cut Medicare benefits, particularly from Medicare Advantage plans. That just isn’t true.”

“Any Medicare Advantage company that cuts Medicare benefits or leaves the program is doing so by choice, not because of the new law” adds Center for Medicare Advocacy executive director, Judith Stein. “That choice is driven by profit motives, not by the law or by what’s best for people or the economy.”

Both Ms. Stein and Ms. Gottlich are available for comment.

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