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By Transamerica / May 6, 2015

The Affordable Care Act & Medicare: An Interview With Nicole Duritz


The Transamerica Center for Health StudiesSM, in association with Baltimore’s WYPR ClearPath – Your Roadmap to Health & Wealth, recently broadcasted an extended edition show, highlighting how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) can affect Medicare. Nicole Duritz, Vice President of AARP’s Health Security Decisions, Education and Outreach, joined the show to share her expertise.

With Medicare approaching its 50th year this July as a health care provider for over 50 million Americans, it was pointed out how well the ACA compliments Medicare, and in the end, is helping to secure itself for future American workers as they approach retirement age.

How the ACA affects Medicare.

Nicole Duritz touched upon the positive changes that are coming to Medicare due to the ACA, noting that preventive benefits, such as flu vaccinations, mammography screenings and colonoscopies, are now free. Those who use Medicare also have access to annual wellness checks, can establish health plans with doctors, and could be responsible for fewer out-of-pocket fees.

Most importantly, according to Duritz, is the fact that the Medicare coverage gap, or “donut hole,” will soon close under the ACA. A coverage gap can leave a recipient responsible for some or all of the cost of their medication.

“A lot of people would stop taking their pills or they’d skip days or they’d try to cut medicines in half, which are not good things,” Duritz stated.

Signing up for Medicare.

After explaining the beneficial influences that the Affordable Care Act can have over Medicare, Duritz gave suggestions as to how people near retirement age should prepare to receive Medicare.

Duritz stated that the seven-month period extends from three months before a person’s 65th birthday, to the month of their 65th birthday, to three months after their 65th birthday.

“I recommend everybody sign up in that first three‑month period before you turn 65,” she said.

But even with this guideline of when a person should sign up, Duritz admits there can still be some confusion during the Medicare process.

“You don’t call Medicare to sign up. You actually sign up through the Social Security Administration.”

Duritz also suggested that as people work beyond retirement age, individuals older than 65 and still working, should find out how their employer’s insurance might interact with Medicare. Additionally, they need to consider how they would like to receive their health services, and whether they prefer traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage.

Medicare is an extremely important health care tool for those in their retirement years. It offers value as it may cover your medical needs as well as help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. And with the Affordable Care Act giving Medicare the ability to offer preventive health measures free of charge, Medicare may be more valuable than ever for those 65 and older. Best of all, thanks to the ACA’s ability to protect your guaranteed medical benefits, in Duritz ‘s words, Medicare is “Here to stay.”

About Transamerica Center for Health StudiesSM.

Transamerica Center for Health StudiesSM (TCHS) is a division of Transamerica InstituteSM (TI), a nonprofit, private foundation. TI is funded by contributions from Transamerica Life Insurance Company and its affiliates and may receive funds from unaffiliated third parties. TCHS and TI and their representatives cannot give ERISA, tax, or legal advice, and TCHS is not an agent of any government agency including, but not limited to, state or federal health benefit exchanges. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as ERISA, tax, or legal advice.  TCHS and its representatives are not registered brokers, navigators, applicant assistors, or promoters.  Although care has been taken in preparing this material and presenting it accurately, TCHS disclaims any express or implied warranty as to the accuracy of any material contained herein and any liability with respect to it.