The short answer to this question is “no”. There is nothing in the Obamacare law (aka, the Affordable Care Act) that requires you to purchase supplemental Medicare insurance. However, many changes in the new healthcare law make a Medicare supplement a good idea (financially prudent).
A large portion of the funding for Obamacare comes from budget cuts in Medicare. While the budget cuts do not officially reduce Medicare benefits, they do reduce reimbursements to providers. The whip controlling reimbursements is quality. As a result, healthcare providers, hospitals in particular, are being very careful about Medicare charges and how they code patients. At the same time, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is implementing a new medical coding system that gives Medicare far more granularity in regards to billing information.
All of these changes are starting to add up to a new Medicare Coverage Gap that will fall back on seniors. This is the number one reason that Medigap plan premiums have shot up in recent months.
So, while Obamacare does not mandate or require seniors to have supplemental insurance — regardless of your income status — it’s prudent that you do. The last thing you want is to have a stay in the hospital, followed by convalescing in a skilled nursing facility, only to come home and discover the hospital never admitted you, and your nursing home stay is not covered. Scenarios like the one just described are playing out all over as hospitals scramble to fly under the Medicare quality radar.
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