doctorWhat does the Affordable Care Act mean for the health care and quality of life for Fort Olgethorpe, Georgia seniors?

The ACA, which some refer to as Obamacare, does not change the benefits you receive as a Medicare beneficiary, but it is already saving seniors money and fundamentally altering a program that has historically grown at a faster rate than the US economy.

The law strengthens the financial health of Medicare and extends the life of it by nine years by fighting abuse, waste and fraud.

Harmful and unnecessary admissions to the hospital are eliminated by reforming how payments are made. The focus shifts from providing more care to providing better care.

Seniors, collectively, are saving billions on their prescription drugs by reducing their out-of-pocket costs. Important screenings that once required a 20 percent copay are now done without this cost on preventive health services that can allow doctors to find and treat disease early, saving costs later.

Before the Affordable Care Act, a senior with Medicare could pay as much as $160 in cost-sharing for a colorectal cancer screening.

In the first 11 months of 2013, 7o percent of Original Medicare Part B enrollees in Georgia received all free services, while 115,587 participated in annual wellness screenings.

Because of the law, doctors and hospitals are now working in closer coordination to provide services to their patients and seeing more effective transitional care following discharge from the hospital.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in December more than 25.4 million seniors (and others covered by Original Medicare) received at least one preventive service at no cost to them during the first 11 months of 2013 because of Obamacare.

The law isn’t perfect, but it has reduced costs for America’s seniors and put Medicare on track to longevity.

These are just some of the ways the law is helping Georgia seniors live longer, healthier lives.