Affordable Care Act: No matter what age, everyone gets care

Is it true that the Affordable Care Act does not cover anyone past age 76 for cancer treatments?

Fact Finder

Dear Fact Finder,

This is not true.  The Affordable Care Act does not set rules connecting a patient’s age to his covered treatment.  The ACA relies upon private health insurance to cover people at their jobs, or at the new exchange/marketplace.  At the exchange, the rates charged to people can vary by age (within limits) but the covered services are identical for all customers in the same plan.

There is nothing in the Affordable Care Act that sets up a group of people to make decisions about which patients get what care.  Insurers can have utilization review functions, which do make decisions about what the plan will pay for.  The “death panel” idea was a fiction.

As a practical matter, the vast majority of 76-year-olds are covered by Medicare.  Medicare’s covered services were not changed in any significant way by the Affordable Care Act.

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.