Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Seniors Confused About Obamacare

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Flickr Creative Commons
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

So many misleading claims and outright lies have been told about the Affordable Care Act that the public awaits the implementation of its meatiest parts with confusion and -- for some -- fear. 

As the Associated Pressreports, many of those who are confused are disabled or over age 65 -- Medicare beneficiaries. The irony is that the Affordable Care Act really doesn't affect them.

They already have coverage, so they already meet the requirement that they have health insurance. And there is no point in going on the Marketplace, the federal online shopping site for the uninsured. The 2014 plans they'll be shopping for -- Medicare Advantage, Medicare supplement policies and prescription-drug plans -- aren't listed there.

They'll be listed as usual at, where enrollment begins Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will be sending out information on this next month.

But that's too late to get ahead of the confusion curve. The political crossfire over the federal Affordable Care Act and the online Marketplace, which will open Oct. 1, has been so dense that it has made many beneficiaries mistakenly think that the Marketplace will replace their site.

Medicare call centers are reporting the confusion. And states that have their own online shopping exchanges already open say they're getting calls from Medicare beneficiaries (Florida does not operate its own exchange). Those states are simply passing the calls along to Medicare hotlines,  the AP reports.

Part of the reason is that the law has many complicated parts and has evolved as the Obama administration comes up with enforcement guidelines and has to make a change because there's a glitch. For example, the "mandate" for large employers -- the requirement to provide adequate coverage to workers -- has been postponed for a year while some IT work goes on.

Carol Gentry, founder and special correspondent of Health News Florida, has four decades of experience covering health finance and policy, with an emphasis on consumer education and protection.