AARP, Cooley Help Community Understand ACA


 Three things for seniors to know about the Affordable Care Act

  1. If you have Medicare, you will not lose your benefits. You will gain prevention and wellness services for free. (Previously, you had to pay a copay.)
  2. The window to sign up for healthcare on the federal exchange is from October 1 - March 31. If you want the new plan to kick in by January 1, 2014, you must sign up by December 15.
  3. If you don't have internet access, you can call 1-800-318-2596 and someone can help you sign up for the federal healthcare marketplace.

It's been more than three years since the Affordable Care Act became law, but Andrew Farmer of the AARP says it's hard to find anyone who is educated on the policy.

"I have yet to really get into any room with anyone, any group of people, seniors included, anyone who knows the first thing about any of the law," said Farmer. "They're not finding truthful information, accurate information."

Farmer set out to change that Saturday. He delivered a presentation titled "The Health Care Law: Things You Need to Know," with the purpose of answering the community's questions and separating fact from fiction.

"For a lot of people it's just getting across to them what is in the law," he said. "It usually has nothing to do with what so many politicians and the media [say]."

Farmer says the law extends coverage to tens of millions of previously uninsured Americans. For those that already have coverage or Medicare, in many cases, their benefits expand. People on Medicare will receive free prevention and wellness services where before patients had to pay a copay.

"The majority of this country, the law has no effect on them whatsoever," said Farmer. "This is about 16 percent of the country that has no health coverage is what this law is really about and about strengthening the provisions of what is really already out there for people who do have coverage."

Cooley Law School's Sixty Plus Inc. helped organize the event because it saw a need to help clear things up.

"The law is over 2000 pages long so give that to anyone and what does it mean?" said L. Patricia Mock, an associate professor at Cooley. "There are tangible things that we can point out to say this is a great law and it's the misinformation that we feel is so important to lift the cloud and I think today we were successful in at least addressing some of the major issues and points of mass confusion."

Sixty Plus and the AARP also provided phone numbers and websites for additional resources. Both groups called it a good first step, but say more still needs to be done.

"I think it's going to take more involvement with the community as it goes along," said Travis Terry, a Cooley law student. "But I think it's a great point to start at."


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