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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Retiring couples see costs go down

Erin Kelly

Staff Writer

Health reform has failed to be the “Armageddon” that conservatives predicted, and not a single “death panel” has appeared. Since the passage of health reform, we’ve seen that not only have these predictions not come true, but things are looking better than ever for grandma and her friends.

According to a new analysis by Fidelity Investments, retiring couples will now need to save $230,000 on average to cover their health care costs throughout retirement. While that figure may sound big, consider this: This estimate is down 8 percent since last year – the first decline since Fidelity started this analysis 10 years ago.

So, as you can see, the plug hasn’t been pulled on grandma. In fact, you could say that grandma has been given a life preserver.

According the Washington Post,

Fidelity cites President Obama’s year-old health care overhaul, which will reduce many seniors’ out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries in the doughnut hole are now receiving a 50 percent discount on brand-name prescriptions and other discounts on generic drugs. These discounts will increase in the coming years until the doughnut hole is closed completely by 2020.

Additionally, most preventive services are now offered free-of-charge to seniors and people with disabilities who are on Medicare. This means that annual colonoscopies are free; vaccines to help prevent the flu every year are free; and your grandmother, great aunt, or mother can get a mammogram absolutely free – meaning if there’s a lump in the breast, it can be caught early.

By discounting prescription drugs and providing free preventive services, we can nip health problems in the bud, saving Medicare money in the long-term and saving people with Medicare money today.