Friday, January 2, 2015

Obamacare Approaches 5th Anniversary - Changes & Challenges Approaching For 2015 That May Impact You

By Coleen Elkins

On March 1st 2015 The Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare will begin it's 5th year.

For those of you on Medicare your doctors may be sending you letters letting you know they may no longer participate in Medicare and this is why. Doctors and hospitals have been encouraged to participate in "meaningful use" of e-records and e-prescribing systems. This very expensive addition to a practice is meant to make the doctors office more efficient and cut down on communication errors that can harm patients. The cost average cost for a physicians office to implement this change is about $165,000.00 for a five person practice in just the first year.

You may have seen some dramatic changes in your Medicare provider network or received a letter from your doctor telling you that you will need to find a new doctor. More than 270,000 doctors and 200 hospitals nationwide will experience funding cuts from Medicare for failing to meet new government requirements. Some have just decided to no longer contract with Medicare and change the focus of their practice. This causing a very angry reaction amongst the Medicare community of those that have been impacted.

The employer mandate takes effect for the first time this year. Employers with 100 or more employees must provide health insurance to their workers. Next year the mandate will be impacting employers of 50 and more employees. Many employers are restructuring or relocating to other countries and cutting workers hours to avoid the mandate.
If you are under age 65 and did not purchase health insurance in 2014 and expecting a refund get ready. Each person without insurance will pay $95 or a one percent income penalty which ever is greater. That amount will increase to 2 percent for 2015. The cash strapped IRS is the appointed watch dog to collect the penalties and monitor insurance status of businesses under the employer mandate. 

Primary care doctors will face pay cuts in 2015. The funding given to states by the Federal Government to encourage them to beef up their Medicaid programs will be decreasing by an average of 43 percent beginning this month. Doctors will have no choice but to turn away patients because of the high cost of treating Medicaid patients coupled with the reduced pay.
Finally CHIP a funding program for children on Medicaid is reauthorized until 2019 but only funded through September of next year. Members of Congress although supportive of the program have failed to take steps to fund the program. They are receiving pleas from governors who want to know now if the program will end.

Continue to follow our blog in 2015 to stay on top of the changes that my impact you! 

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