U.S. seniors on Medicare do not need to apply for 'Obamacare'

Sept. 25, 2013 at 6:11 PM
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AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Seniors in some states are being told that they have to buy Affordable Care Act Exchange or Marketplace coverage, but this is untrue, a U.S. expert says.

Professor Monica Navarro, who teaches Health Law at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Mich., said in many states, there is little or no support for the Federally Facilitated Exchange -- or Health Insurance Marketplace -- www. HealthCare.gov.

In Florida, Missouri and Georgia it appears that there are active campaigns to confuse consumers to assure that the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as "Obamacare," fails," Navarro said in a statement.

As a result, consumers are confused, including seniors who are being told through misinformation campaigns they must buy Exchange coverage. That is not true for those who are Medicare eligible, but Navarro said "there will be an unfortunate overlap of the open enrollment periods for the two programs -- adding to their confusion."

Seniors on Medicare have from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 to evaluate, compare and change Medicare Part D prescription drug plans -- a similar same open enrollment period for others who do not have employer-provided health insurance.

Only those who are currently uninsured or those who buy health insurance themselves because their employer does not provided health insurance will be able to apply for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act Exchange or Marketplace.

People on Medicare or who are provided health insurance by their employers are not involved in the Affordable Care Act -- about 80 percent of the U.S. population.

"Additionally, in at least 17 states, new state laws -- ostensibly to protect insurance agents and brokers -- limit consumer education, outreach and enrollment guidance through Navigators, Certified Application Counselors, agents and brokers, as otherwise specified under the Affordable Care Act," Navarro said.

"In these states, consumers will be working exclusively with insurance agents. From an accountability perspective, that may be preferable since state insurance regulators retain control over licensed agents. On the other hand, the agents are likely to be influenced by commissions as well as the anti-exchange sentiments within their respective states."

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