Lt. Governor Elizabeth H. Roberts, Chair of the RI Healthcare Reform Commission, and Catherine Taylor, Director of the Division of Elderly Affairs (DEA), joined forces to raise awareness of the benefits available to seniors under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Wednesday with a visit to Woonsocket Senior Services.
Roberts and Taylor led a series of informal discussions with seniors, engaging with them to answer questions about new benefits under the ACA and changes in Medicare.
One popular cost savings benefit for seniors involves Medicare prescription drug coverage. Under the new law, over 15,000 Rhode Island seniors who had to pay for drugs in the coverage gap or "donut hole" received a one-time, tax-free $250 rebate from Medicare to help pay for their prescriptions — just one of the savings under this coverage benefit.
Roberts and Taylor also encouraged increased participation in free Wellness Visits available to seniors under the health reform law, one of the law's lesser known benefits.
“The Affordable Care Act continues to provide thousands in Rhode Island with insurance protections, preventive benefits, and resources to improve their care,” said Lt. Governor Roberts. “It’s important that we provide seniors the opportunity to learn about and ask important questions about benefits--such as Medicare prescription drug coverage - that can make a real difference in their quality of life,” Roberts said.
“The annual Wellness Visit, provided at no cost to seniors under the Affordable Care Act, is an invaluable preventive tool for seniors to meet with their doctor, review their current care regimen, and to make a plan together to ensure future health maintenance,” said Director Taylor. “We want to make sure this benefit is being utilized to its fullest potential to support DEA's goal of helping seniors live healthy, independent lives in the community,” she said.
During discussions with seniors, Roberts and Taylor also cover the top things for seniors to know about the Affordable Care Act and changes to Medicare-including Medicare prescription drug coverage, what’s included in an annual Wellness Visit, and what seniors should bring to make the most of their visit.