Repeal of Obamacare, Medicare and the “Donut Hole”

Approximately 57 million senior citizens and disabled Americans are currently enrolled in Medicare. I remind people that Medicare is health insurance for seniors and disabled Americans (as opposed to Medicaid, which is for a different purpose).

There is a great deal of talk that repeal of Obamacare will occur within the first 100 days of the incoming administration. This will have tremendous impact on Medicare.

It is estimated that if Obamacare is totally repealed and nothing is done to replace it, seniors will face higher premiums and deductibles for their Medicare Part B. This may impact those seniors on low and fixed incomes.

In addition, we will see the infamous “donut hole” in prescription drug coverage return. The donut hole is that time period under Medicare Part D in which there is a gap in coverage. During that gap, a senior is responsible for all of his or her prescription drug coverage. Under Obamacare, that “hole” or gap, has been closing.

Before 2010, seniors had to pay the full cost of their prescriptions while in the donut hole but under Obamacare, those costs were reduced so that in 2016, they only had to pay 45% of the cost of name brand drugs and 58% for generics while in the donut hole. In 2017, these copays were set to be 40% and 51% respectively.

According to The Commonwealth Fund, since  2010, 8 million seniors saved over $11.5 billion on prescription drugs due to gradual closing of the donut hole. The effect of the donut hole “growing” again due to the repeal of Obamacare will impact seniors that take a lot of medication and/or expensive medication. Cancer drugs for example are very expensive.

I encourage you to study all you can about how total repeal of Obamacare will affect you or your loved ones and take the appropriate steps to protect yourself or them.