One Year Later, Health Care Reform Law Improving Older Americans’ Health

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Hiring Elder Law Attorney Can Help Seniors Navigate Red Tape

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The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) marks the one year anniversary of President Barack Obama signing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While some parts of the ACA have not yet taken effect and Congress may make additional changes, it is important to highlight a few sections of the ACA that have already taken effect and are providing senior citizens with a higher quality of health care.

In 2010, seniors who reached the $2,700 annual limit for prescription drug coverage and fell into the “doughnut hole,” received a $250 rebate. In 2011, the Medicare Part D “doughnut hole” will begin shrinking and by 2020 Medicare Part D participants will be responsible for 25 percent of their total prescription drug cost.

Additionally, starting in 2011, seniors will receive an annual wellness checkup from their doctor at no charge, and deductibles and coinsurance are eliminated for certain preventive services. The ACA will also expand Medicaid in order to help more people obtain quality, affordable care.

These are but a few highlights of provisions contained in the ACA. If seniors are feeling overwhelmed by the new health care law and the changes to Medicare, an Elder Law attorney can help them make informed decisions. Concerns about long-term care options can also be discussed with an Elder Law attorney who can help them navigate through the red tape and explain all of their options.

A listing of Elder Law attorneys who are members of NAELA can be found at

Established in 1987, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations, and others. Members of NAELA are attorneys who are experienced and trained in working with the legal problems of aging Americans and individuals of all ages with disabilities. The mission of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys is to establish NAELA members as the premier providers of legal advocacy, guidance, and services to enhance the lives of people with special needs and people as they age. NAELA currently has more than 4,000 members across the United States. For more information, visit

Elder and Special Needs Law is a specialized area of law that involves representing, counseling and assisting seniors, people with disabilities and their families in connection with a variety of legal issues, with a primary emphasis on promoting the highest quality of life for individuals. Typically, Elder and Special Needs Law address the convergence of legal needs with the social, psychological, medical, and financial needs of individuals. The Elder and Special Needs Law practitioner handles estate planning and counsels clients about planning for incapacity with health care decision making documents. The attorney also assists clients in planning for possible long‐term care needs, including at‐home care, assisted living or nursing home care. Locating the appropriate type of care, coordinating public and private resources to finance the cost of care, settling up special needs trusts, and working to ensure the client's right to quality care are all part of the Elder and Special Needs Law practice.


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Nick Baker
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
703-942-5711 220
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