Medicare Vs. Obamacare - Here’s How They’re Different

By: Agnus Smith
Published: Friday, January 04 2019
Last Updated: 3 years ago

In 2010, President Barack Obama changed the face of US healthcare with a monumental piece of legislation known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). You may be more familiar with the popular nickname for the ACA, dubbed simply as Obamacare by those who opposed it, although the new name was eventually adopted by everyone. The purpose of Obamacare was to provide affordable health coverage to everyone in the US, while simultaneously making changes to healthcare plans already in place.

If you’ve ever tuned into the news over the last decade or so, then you are probably already aware of how controversial the Affordable Care Act proved to be. Democrats hailed it as nothing short of a victory, while Republicans attempted to appeal the law, claiming pieces of the legislation were unconstitutional.

Throughout the process, there still seemed to be a bit of confusion surrounding exactly how this new law differed from current government-sponsored health insurance programs. Specifically, there was an uptick in search traffic to answer the question, Medicare vs. Obamacare, what’s the difference? Well, that’s exactly what we’re here to help you decipher.

The Differences Between Medicare And Obamacare

Before we discuss the differences, it’s important to start with what each program is. To get an understanding of Medicare, we need to travel back to 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson established the healthcare program for American seniors who were having trouble getting the coverage they needed. Obamacare, on the other hand, was established much more recently by President Obama. The purpose was to help provide American individuals and families of any age, size, or income level, find affordable coverage. This was done as a reaction to the growing cost of medical services across the country.

So, in short, Medicare is a subsidized health insurance program for the elderly, while Obamacare is a subsidized program for everyone. One of the other major differences in the Medicare vs. Obamacare debate is how the program is paid for. With Obamacare, prices and plans vary by state, income level, family size, and a few other factors. However, with Medicare, there is a set price, although top earners may pay a little more depending on their income for Medicare Part B.

Where The Two Overlap

While Medicare and the ACA are different in many ways, including where they pull their funding from, there are surprising similarities between the two programs. For starters, both programs offer guaranteed coverage for individuals, regardless of pre-existing conditions or disabilities. Secondly, Medicare and Obamacare were both created and designed to help provide affordable medical insurance options for some of the most vulnerable people in the country, including seniors and low-income individuals.

Which Plan Is Right For You?

No matter what, any plan you can attain is strongly recommended. When considering Medicare vs. Obamacare, the debate is fairly mute. For those under 65, the ACA is a great place to search for and purchase medical coverage before the age of 65 and onward. Obamacare plans are even available after you turn 65 years old, for those seeking eligibility.

Since the 2 plans overlap due to the ACA impact on Medicare, this just about ensures adequate coverage for those seeking it no matter their age or income levels. Ultimately, this was the primary goal of such programs in the first place. No matter what, it is highly advised for one to be enrolled in one or the other.

Can You Be Enrolled In Both Plans?

Yes, both programs overlap and are surprisingly seamless in this regard alone. There are still tons of resources online that can provide you information on how to get yourself enrolled in both plans. FirstQuote Medicare is a great place to start because we have experienced agents standing by to take your call and help guide you through the process. Enter your zip code, or give us a call to get started and enrolled.

How Did The ACA Impact Current Coverages?

When looking even further into Medicare vs. Obamacare, one can see how the latter has affected the way the medical field has changed and continues to do so today, particularly with Medicare. Now, hospitals and physicians are required to report to each other and share medical histories up to this very day due to the regulations put in place by Obamacare.

Part D Coverage Gap

The Affordable Care Act didn’t have as large of an impact on Medicare beneficiaries as it did in traditional health insurance, but there was a key change to the Medicare Part D coverage gap. The coverage gap, known by many as the donut hole, is reached when both insurers and beneficiaries spend a predetermined amount on prescriptions. Once in the donut hole, beneficiaries were required to pay for 100% of the costs of their drugs.

Thankfully, Obamacare decided that this is too much of a hardship, and made some changes. Through the Affordable Care Act, prescription drug costs through for people in the coverage gap are being reduced each year. In 2020, the donut hole will be closed for good, meaning no more expensive prescription drug bills for beneficiaries.

Preventive Services

When it came to preventive services, Obamacare didn’t only make it a requirement for health insurance plans, but expanded preventive services for Medicare as well. While Medicare’s preventive services were fairly comprehensive, the following services may now be covered as well:

Alcohol misuse screenings Alcohol counseling Cardiovascular disease screenings Cervical and vaginal cancer screenings HIV screenings Depression Screenings Nutritional counseling Annual wellness visits