KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

The Health Law And Older Americans

A pair of stories examine the health law and Medicare's prescription drug "doughnut hole" as well as what might change for people who are near retirement age, but not yet eligible for Medicare.

The Wall Street Journal: Obamacare Aims To Close Medicare 'Doughnut Hole'
There's a Medicare prescription-drug coverage abyss that is playfully referred to as the "doughnut hole," though there is nothing sweet or amusing about it. But thanks to the Affordable Care Act, which had a rocky launch last week, Medicare beneficiaries will see that gap shrink again in 2014 and in each year until 2020, according to Medicare.gov. The doughnut hole is the temporary limit on what Medicare drug plans pay after certain dollar thresholds for drugs have been met (Waters, 10/6).

The Wall Street Journal: How Obamacare Benefits Older Workers
For those 65 years or older and on Medicare, the health-care reform law doesn't require doing anything different. It will lead to slightly expanded coverage, but won't dramatically change the landscape. It's a different story for those in the years approaching retirement who don't already have health insurance. For that group, the ACA could provide an opportunity to get more-affordable insurance than in the past and make it possible to get coverage for those who might otherwise be denied insurance or find it too costly. And it's a particular plus for those considering early retirement (Lauricella, 10/6).

Related KHN story: FAQ: Seniors On Medicare Don’t Need To Apply To The Health Law Marketplaces (Carey, 9/23).

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