Report on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
More than a year after full implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), this article summarizes the ACA’s fundamental consumer components and covers the state of the law, what has been learned over the last year, and how it affects the Special Needs and Elder Law practice. The ACA changes the way Americans of all ages obtain health insurance and receive health care. Although the new law radically expands health insurance coverage primarily for people under the age of 65, Medicaid and Medicare are also positively impacted by this life-changing legislation. The Medicare program for elders over age 65 and disabled individuals remains largely intact, but with expanded preventive care coverage and a narrowing of the notorious donut hole. The ACA expands Medicaid eligibility for many Americans and through subsidies makes private health insurance a viable choice for many people who once had to rely solely on Medicaid for their health care. Because pre-existing conditions are no longer a barrie to receiving health insurance, the law also will affect Special Needs planning and the use of special needs trusts. However, noticeably absent from the new law are provisions for long-term-care coverage and implementation of protections that could benefit the elder and special needs recipient in the long run. Advocates have new tools and new challenges in assisting health care consumers. Special needs and Elder Law attorneys who gain an early understanding of this life-changing, complex, and controversial law will “insure” their own relevance as the future of health care unfolds.
Read the full report here – Report on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Its Impact on the Special Needs and Elder Law Practice