Obamacare Confusion: What Medicare Recipients Must Do Now

For millions, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has been extremely difficult to understand. Now, Medicare recipients run the risk of missing out on making an important choice about their coverage if they don't act soon, in large part because of confusion about how Obamacare affects them.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, discusses how, unlike the later deadline for Obamacare enrollment, open enrollment for Medicare actually closes on December 7. As Dan notes, that leaves only a short time before Medicare recipients have to make decisions about Plan D prescription drug coverage plans for 2014. He points out that making the right choice can cut your overall medical expenses, as sometimes choosing a higher-premium plan provides enough savings on prescription drugs and other services to offset the extra cost.

Dan goes through some of the companies that provide Medicare prescription-drug plan coverage. In addition to traditional insurers UnitedHealth (NYSE: UNH  ) and Humana (NYSE: HUM  ) , he notes that Express Scripts (NASDAQ: ESRX  ) and Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD  ) are also involved in the Plan D marketplace as well.

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On November 28, 2013, at 6:10 PM, Gman wrote:

    Obama when do you plan on telling the American Public about this? “While appearing on Newsmax TV's "Steve Malzberg Show" on Monday, November 26, 2013 . Time magazine’s senior political analyst Mark Halpern admitted that death panel are built into Obamacare and will be the mechanism used to control costs, Halperin went so far as to say that rationing is "going to be a huge issue," Stating it is "something else about which the President was not fully forthcoming and straightforward." With this clause in Obama Care the Government has taken the Life or Death decision out of the hands of the patient or family and put it squarely in the hands of the Government. This clause potentially exposes the patient or their families to hundreds of thousands of Dollars of “Life Ending Care Expenses”

  • Report this Comment On November 28, 2013, at 7:09 PM, Dayo2 wrote:

    It is time to allow all nations hospitals and medical leaders to purchase hospitals and bring their medical personal to come into the United States to give us a choice on where we can get medical treatment with better medical and much cheaper. Seeing we are allowing 90% of Americans purchases from China's Christmas sales from their country, we should allow all nations hospitals to come to the U.S also.

  • Report this Comment On November 28, 2013, at 7:12 PM, Oilvet wrote:

    Maybe the author of this article should explain it to the Kenyan and his herd of bureaucrats who are charged with getting this monstrosity to work they surely have no idea how,

  • Report this Comment On November 28, 2013, at 8:29 PM, SRQT wrote:

    Medicare recipients are not the only ones confused! Dan Caplinger demonstrates his own confusion by consistently referring to PART D, the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, as PLAN D. PART D and PLAN D are two entirely different entities! PART D is the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. PLAN D is one of several Supplemental Medicare policies, each of which is referred to as a PLAN, followed by a letter of the alphabet. (These PLANS are sometimes referred to as Medigap policies.) Also, in addition to the Part D and Medicare Advantage Plan changes that Medicare recipients may wish to make, are these supplemental PLANs which many people have in lieu of a Medicare Advantage Plan. Each PLAN has distinct coverages and it is wise to review the options this time each year, especially since, except in special circumstances, no changes can be made mid-year.

  • Report this Comment On November 28, 2013, at 8:43 PM, natashalegalaid wrote:

    For thinking Americans, the only way to escape this nation-killer scheme is to insist our Congressmen perform their Constitutional duty and impeach, arrest and deport the enemy of our nation masquerading as our "president".

  • Report this Comment On November 28, 2013, at 9:55 PM, TMFGalagan wrote:

    @SRQT - You're right about my having gotten the nomenclature wrong. I meant to refer to part D, which is often the choice that can make the most difference for Medicare recipients. But you're correct that some will also want to consider changes in their Medicare Advantage or Medigap policies.


    dan (TMF Galagan)

  • Report this Comment On November 28, 2013, at 11:40 PM, GetDown2 wrote:

    The pharmacy company CVS (which is assigned by the company which I have group-rate health insurance with) sent us a mail earlier this month (November) and in it stated - "Beginning January 1,2014, you will need to try one or two of the generic drugs listed below, even if you have been taking the brand-name drug for a period of time. If the Step Therapy guideline for the brand-name drug requires that you try two generics, it will be noted by an asterisk." Sure enough, the brand-name medication that my wife currently taking daily has an asterisk next to it. The thing bothers me is my wife had tried a generic drug one time awhile back and right after she took it (the generic drug), she developed constantly coughing symptom - so she contacted her doctor right away to re-prescribe back to her brand-name medication and she was fine ever since. The CVS' letter continued - "The brand medication(s) listed below will no longer be covered, so you will have to pay the full cost unless the generic(s) has been tried and proven to be ineffective...If your doctor does not feel this program is right for you, ask him or her to call CVS Caremark at xxx-xxx-xxxx to request prior authorization, if you have a unique medical situation that requires you to keep taking the brand-name medication." To me as her hubby, she already suffered once for taking one generic drug and this time with that asterisk, CVS requires her to try two generics and I say to her "Enough is enough, you are not going to become their two-time guinea pig and you need to tell your doctor to prescribe the brand-name medication even if we have to pay the full cost." I had it and I have to put my foot down...Oh, to add insult to injury, CVS listed in addition to 8 generic drug names followed by stating "other generic ACE or ARB as appropriate" under the heading "First-step generic medication(s)".

  • Report this Comment On November 29, 2013, at 3:12 AM, markhw2002 wrote:

    "For thinking Americans, the only way to escape this nation-killer scheme is to insist our Congressmen perform their Constitutional duty and impeach, arrest and deport the enemy of our nation masquerading as our 'president'." Thinking Americans need to actually read the 5,400 or so words of our Constitution and, first, understand that the Affordable Healthcare Act was duly passed by Congress and signed into law by our now twice elected President Obama. Second, twice elected, our President is not "masquerading." He was not handed the election by our Supreme Court, which halted the electoral process and put Bush II into office in 2000. Lastly, will the tired old trope of "death panels" and the decisions of end of life care being taken away from patients, families, and doctors ever die? It is NOT in the Act. This is an outright lie.

  • Report this Comment On November 29, 2013, at 3:20 AM, markhw2002 wrote:

    It seems that many of those who have posted are more "confused" by their ill-informed hatred for our President (the "kenyan"--please) than the legitimately passed Affordable Healthcare Act. Has anyone, in their blanket condemnation of this product of compromise, cited the Act itself to support their position? If not, why?

  • Report this Comment On November 29, 2013, at 9:57 AM, cicimcgoo wrote:

    It figures..... yahoo who has been blasted by the public for their lying in bed with Obama and the Cabal has very few articles out regarding Obamacare. If we don't repeal and push back against Obamas big brother agenda we will lose our country. We also need to fight back against chemtrails, Harp, his use of drones and his expansion of the patriot act. I find it appalling the left would support any of his agendas since they snuff out our freedom.

  • Report this Comment On November 29, 2013, at 9:58 AM, cicimcgoo wrote:

    Where is the article about the ration board or death panels. I would like to see that!

  • Report this Comment On November 29, 2013, at 10:03 AM, cicimcgoo wrote:

    Obamacare is proof that democrats never read the constitution. Apparently Justice Roberts also did not read our constitution.

  • Report this Comment On November 29, 2013, at 6:34 PM, johnestromjr wrote:

    We're not confused. The Democrats LIED and Obama LIED and MOST hate ObamaCare. Over 70% liked their health care but the Democrats decided to change it - regardless. So less than 30% didn't like their health care. Who cares. That includes those with pre-exisiting conditions [is that my fault?] and illegals who will ALWAYS get free health care and will NEVER pay for it. Screw the corrupt Democrats and their lies.

  • Report this Comment On November 29, 2013, at 6:35 PM, johnestromjr wrote:

    Chief Justice Roberts is ALSO to blame. The stupid law should be re-named Obama-RobertsCare. No use leaving THAT scumbag out

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2013, at 8:06 AM, gwsjr425 wrote:

    There is no confusion. You will have less care, less choice and less money. Period.

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