Forum covers Medicare, Social Security & Affordable Care ActSubmitted: 08/30/2013
Story By Adam Fox

RHINELANDER - October will be a big month for the Affordable Care Act.

If you don't have insurance, that's when federal exchange plans will be available.

But many Wisconsinites still have questions on how the program will affect them.

That's why seniors met in Rhinelander Friday.The Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans hosted the forum. Billy Feitlinger, executive director of the alliance, discussed Medicare, Social Security and the Affordable Care Act.

His group supports the healthcare reform because it will keep Medicare in the green for an additional nine years.

But some like Gloria Oberneder know people who feel lost in the system.

"Most people who become seniors and are on that low income, if they are not on Medicaid and they do make a little more money, they are always searching for answers for different things and they are confused,"Oberneder said.

Another concern was rising policy cost. A new Rand Corporation study says the reform won't have widespread cost increases for policies.

But experts like Robert Laszewski of the Health Policy & Strategy Associates projected an increase in Wisconsin at a June summit in Wausau.

"Wisconsin is one of the states projected to have the biggest increases," Laszewski said. "That's because the the affordable care act sets very high standards for what package of insurance looks like."

The forum also focused heavily on Social Security. That's because Congress is preparing for another fight over spending cuts and the debt ceiling, and Billy Feitlinger worries Social Security could be targeted.

"There should be some reform to Social Security, but it should not be in the context of the federal deficit or debt ceiling because Social Security hasn't contributed one penny to the federal deficit."

That's because funding for Social Security has always been automatically taken out of our paychecks. But more Baby Boomers are entering the program, and under current obligations the $2.7 trillion fund will run dry by 2033.

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