Breaking It Down: The Health Care Law and Seniors

Ed Note:  This was originally posted on, a website by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

The President's health law gives hard working, middle-class families the security they deserve. The Affordable Care Act forces insurance companies to play by the rules, prohibiting them from dropping your coverage if you get sick, billing you into bankruptcy through annual or lifetime limits, and, soon, discriminating against anyone with a pre-existing condition.

For seniors, the new health care law, the Affordable Care Act, not only means more time with their doctor and important new benefits like free preventive services like cancer screenings and annual wellness visits, but it also means more money in their pocket. The new health care law strengthens Medicare. Already, more than 5.1 million seniors and people with disabilities saved over $3.2 billion in drug costs. That comes to an average savings of $635 per person for seniors caught in the coverage gap known as the donut hole. And, 32.5 million people with Medicare have received preventive service without a deductible or copay, thanks to the new law.

Here are more ways the law helps seniors:

  1. You get free preventive services. Medicare now covers certain preventive services, like mammograms or colonoscopies, with no cost sharing. You also can get a free annual wellness visit.
  2. You get cheaper prescription drugs. If you’re in the donut hole, you will receive a 50 percent discount when buying brand-name prescription drugs covered by Medicare Part D. The discount is applied automatically when you fill your prescription—you don’t have to do anything to get it. These changes are already saving seniors billions of dollars. And by 2020, the donut hole will be closed. 
  3. Your doctors are supported to better coordinate your care.  Many doctors, hospitals, and other providers are taking advantage of new programs to help them work better as teams to provide you the highest quality care possible. They are working to get you the care you need at the time you need it. 
  4. The law fights fraud and strengthens Medicare. The Affordable Care Act builds on our efforts to combat fraud and abuse. These efforts are saving billions of dollars in money that was being stolen from people with Medicare. And thanks to these efforts and other improvements, the life of the Medicare Trust fund has been extended.
  5. Your Medicare coverage is protected. Under the new health care law, your existing Medicare-covered benefits won’t be reduced or taken away. As always, you will be able to choose your own doctors.

Visit to learn more.

Take a minute to hear Helen's story. She is a senior from Philadelphia who says that health care reform has given her peace of mind

Helen Care

You can also access a print-ready, one pager (PDF- 11 MB) with these points, and there is a brochure available with more details about the preventive services (PDF - 1.22 MB).

Chris Stenrud is the HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs