Affordable health care worthy of celebrationWith cake and statistics, seniors celebrated the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act in Superior Friday.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
With cake and statistics, seniors celebrated the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act in Superior Friday.
There are 8,041 Douglas County seniors enrolled in Medicare, said Doug Hill, director of Know Your Care Wisconsin, before cutting cake to share at the Senior Center. That equals 18 percent of the population or one in every five people. He said 344 of the county’s seniors saved $177,273 on health care last year due to provisions in the 2010 health care act that provided prescription drug savings.
If the act had passed sooner, it would have saved Kathy Monaghan thousands of dollars.
“It certainly would have been a big help,” said Monaghan, a former Superior High School business teacher who now lives in Esko.
Over the past three years, she and her husband Willie spent thousands for his medications when they hit the Medicare Part D “doughnut hole” — the range between $2,900 and $7,600 where individuals have to pay 100 percent of drug costs. Under the Affordable Care Act, they can get up to a 50 percent discount on medications purchased during that coverage gap. But Willie Monaghan, who retired as assistant chief of the Superior Fire Department, passed away in June.
Monaghan has a cousin and friend who are fighting cancer. Both hit their “doughnut hole” after one month this year because of the extreme cost of prescription drugs.
“I think it’s definitely going to be a huge help,” she said.
Bob Beglinger of Wascott doesn’t need Medicare yet. But he’s seen another section of the Affordable Health Care Act at work. When his friend’s daughter in her early 20s returned to college, she was covered under her parents’ health care.
Beglinger calls the act a step in the right direction toward a single-payer system. Monaghan felt the same.
“As far as I’m concerned it doesn’t go far enough,” she said.
Know Your Care Wisconsin, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the American people about the Affordable Care Act, partnered with the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans to hold anniversary celebrations in Superior and three other Wisconsin sites — Eau Claire, Wausau and Green Bay.
“Whether you were supportive when the act passed or not, you’re getting benefits right now,” Hill said.
The organization wants to get the word out on the costs savings available, both for individuals and the government.
“Free preventive care can’t work to reduce health care costs if seniors don’t know they have access to it under Medicare now due to the Affordable Care Act,” Hill said. “We’re pleased to be here celebrating with seniors on the anniversary of this landmark law.”
For more information, visit www.knowyourcare.org.