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Pequa Seniors Brush Up On Care

Senior citizens living at The Bristal in Massapequa, 400 Country Line Rd., were recently treated to a very important health care program presented by the Melville-based Genser Dubow Genser & Cona (GDGC), elder law and estate planning firm.   

The program, aimed to eliminate the confusion as to how Obamacare affects senior citizens, was attended by more than 50 seniors and some professionals. Melissa Negrin-Wiener, Esq., partner, GDGC, answered numerous questions but reassured the seniors that there will be little change for them with the Affordable Care Act — especially if they are on traditional Medicare.

Negrin-Wiener explained that any seniors on traditional Medicare will remain in good shape in terms of their coverage, as the new Obamacare parameters will not affect them adversely. However, Negrin-Wiener noted that anyone over the age of 65 can choose a Medicare Advantage plan as an alternative from a private carrier. With the Affordable Care Act, she warned that many of the Advantage plans are cutting benefits, as the plans are subsidized by the Federal government, and some doctors who currently participate will be dropped.

“Therefore, it’s wise to investigate and evaluate your existing plan,” she said.

Bill Freda, a retiree of GE and Wantagh resident, noted that this is the most complicated piece of legislation. Negrin-Wiener explained to Freda that receiving the right information makes all the difference.  

“Without the right information, many people may think they should drop their Medicare or their Medigap policies and look to buy a policy on the Exchange,” she said. “If you’re getting social security, you’re automatically covered under Medicare Part A. However, if you’re not collecting social security, or pay a premium for Medicare, you can get insurance through the Exchange.”

Another attendee Heinz Nestler, a health insurance agent in Patchogue, came to help his senior clients.  

“One of my concerns is what to tell clients who are not covered under a group insurance plan especially for those who don’t qualify for Medicare if they are under 65,” he said.  

GDGC told seniors that they will get new benefits, such as preventive care. For example, free screenings will be offered including colorectal screenings and mammograms along with free wellness doctor visits, smoking cessation and high cholesterol counseling.  

There will also be discounts on prescription drugs. Once an individual spends $2,970 on medication and are in the “donut hole,” they will pay approximately 50 percent less for brand name drugs. But the full amount is calculated as an out of pocket expense. The period in the gap will be shorter combined with cost savings.  

Seniors were warned to be careful about con artists now that much of the Affordable Care Act has gone into effect. Seniors were told that these scammers are trying to gain personal information, such as social security numbers and bank account information in order to steal identities. Officials said that before they become a victim, it is important to know that there is no new insurance cared.  

Also, imposters are now posing as “navigators” and calling or emailing unsuspecting individuals. Officials warned attendees that no one from the government will try to contact them. And lastly, the scammers are also creating false websites to get victims to sign up for insurance on them. However, the only legitimate website is www.healthcare.gov.