With a new Republican-majority house, senate, and executive branch, it is clear that there will be many changes to current healthcare laws, practices, and regulations as they currently exist. While the Republican congress’s secondary effort to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – also known as Obamacare – has passed the house, there still remain many likely revisions once it goes through to the senate.
While specifics are still a bit murky, the Republican overhaul will affect healthcare for every demographic- especially seniors. Experts have presented some possible scenarios and discussed their impact on senior care. A few key possible impacts are listed here:
Bigger premiums for seniors: According to CNN, one possible scenario of a Republican-backed plan would involve “many older consumers would face huge premium hikes under the GOP bill because its tax credits are not as generous as Obamacare’s subsidies for lower-income enrollees in their 50s and early 60s.” This could result in premiums being up to 25% higher for younger seniors in coming years.
Lower medical deductions requirement: Currently, under Obamacare, taxpayers can only deduct medical expenses if they exceed 10% of their adjusted gross income. Under one Republican-proposed measure, taxpayers could deduct medical expenses above 5.8% of their adjusted gross income.
Provide income credits for older, lower and middle-class Americans: The Republican plan proposes issuing advanceable refundable tax credits based on one’s age that would make coverage on the individual market more affordable. The credits would roughly range from $2,000 for people in their twenties to $4,000 for those in their early 60s. However, there would be an income cap as credits would phase out for individuals making over $75,000.
Make health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts more attractive: The Republican proposals aim to raise annual contribution limits and flexible spending accounts, meaning that senior individuals and families could put away more annually to be used towards their health care at a later time.
Changes sooner rather than later: Some republicans have proposed expediting changes that are not proposed to take place until 2018 or later to being implemented in 2017. However, this would be contingent on a measure passing through the three branches of government.
With seniors younger seniors (those in their 50’s and 60’s) paying more for premiums, but also potentially putting more away for future use, this will likely impact the long-term post-acute care (LPTAC) in coming years- especially as Americans are living longer and longer than ever before.
Our next article will feature how the Republican healthcare plan could affect the LTPAC industry.