Government Shutdown Threatens Programs for Older Adults and People with Disabilities

Lindsey CopelandMedicare Watch0 Comments

US Capitol Caution Tape
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As the government shutdown continues, so do its impacts on older adults, people with disabilities, and their families. While Medicare and Medicaid are fully funded for the year, other critical programs—like affordable housing, food assistance, and transportation services—are not. This threatens the health and economic security of millions of Americans. Read More...

New Enrollment Period Now Available for People with Medicare Advantage

Mitchell ClarkMedicare Watch0 Comments

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Older adults and people with disabilities who are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan have until March 31 to switch to another MA plan or to Original Medicare with or without a stand-alone prescription drug plan (Part D) during the new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP). The MA OEP occurs each year from January 1 through March 31, and it is only available to people who have a Medicare Advantage plan. One change can be made during this period, which will take effect the first of the month following the month you enroll. For example, if you switch to a new Medicare Advantage Plan in February, your new coverage begins March 1. Read More...

Proposed Marketplace Changes Could Harm People with Medicare

Lindsey CopelandMedicare Watch0 Comments

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In November, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposed regulatory changes to the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplaces. We submitted comments this week, in which we raise concerns with several aspects of the proposed rule that could have negative implications for people with Medicare. CMS indicates it is proposing this rule in part to ensure that people are in the “most appropriate type of coverage.” While Medicare Rights supports this goal, we disagree with the agency’s proposal to achieve it by automatically terminating Marketplace coverage for people who are eligible for or enrolled in Medicare Part A. Read More...

Medicaid Changes Likely in 2019

Julie CarterMedicare Watch0 Comments

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As 2019 gets underway, the Medicaid program continues to be in the spotlight. This week, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) released an issue brief that highlights some of the major program changes that states, the Administration, and Congress may pursue in 2019. Over 66 million people receive their health coverage through Medicaid, including older adults, people with disabilities, children, low-income parents, and other adults. Any changes to the program, therefore, have the potential to affect millions of families. Read More...

Administrative Proposal to Lower Medicare Drug Prices Shows Promise but Risks Remain

Julie CarterMedicare Watch0 Comments

In November, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)—the agency that oversees the Medicare program—announced new proposals that could potentially lower prices for some of the drugs covered by Medicare Part B but could threaten access to medications for people with Medicare. CMS invited comment on their proposals and, last month, Medicare Rights responded. Health care affordability is a top issue on our national helpline each year, and the high cost of prescription drug coverage is one major component of this. Most of the medications people with Medicare take are covered under Part D. Part B only accounts for a small percentage of Medicare-covered drugs, but they are some of the most expensive. It is clear that Part B medications can drive significant out-of-pocket costs for people with Medicare with life-altering conditions like cancer, end-stage renal disease, or rheumatoid arthritis. Read More...