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The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will not reduce Medicaid or Medicare benefits for people with mental illness, according to The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati.

Medicare now covers 100 percent of the cost of certain preventive services, such as depression screening. The “donut hole,” or time when you have to pay 100 percent of your drug costs, will be phased out. In 2012, while you are in this gap you will get 50 percent off brand-name drugs and 14 percent off generic drugs. Your drug discounts will increase each year until 2020, when you will get 75 percent off all drugs. Beginning in 2014, Medicare will cover more drugs to help you be healthier, such as smoking cessation drugs.

If you have Medicaid, the “Money Follows the Person” program is extended through 2016. This program helps disabled Medicaid recipients move out of nursing homes or state hospitals and into their own house or apartment. The money that paid for the nursing home will now pay for long-term home care.

Beginning in 2014, if you make 133 percent or less of the Federal Poverty Level (in 2012, $14,856 for a single person), are younger than 65 and your state implements the Medicaid expansion, you will be able to get Medicaid. Eligibility will be based only on income and not on whether you are pregnant or disabled. As a result, Medicaid will be more available.

To find out more about public insurance and mental illness under the ACA, visit The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati’s website.

Funding for Join Together is provided in part by an unrestricted educational grant from The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati.

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