Medicare Rights Center in the News
Our experts, services and resources are often featured in the news. Here are some recent examples that have appeared in prominent media outlets:
Medicare, Medigap cuts may make you sick
MarketWatch, May 15, 2013, by Elizabeth O'Brien
"The most comprehensive Medigap plans cover most or all of holders' out-of-pocket costs. Beneficiaries who choose them, who are often living on fixed incomes, like the predictability of their monthly Medigap premiums versus the uncertain cost burden that a prolonged illness could bring under traditional Medicare, experts say. "You can budget for a premium, but you can't budget for that really high hospital bill," said Stacy Sanders, federal policy director of the Medicare Rights Center. Changes in Medigap, then, could have a big impact on the out-of-pocket costs faced by retirees." Read the article.
Five Ways The President's Budget Would Change Medicare
Kaiser Health News, April 15, 2013, by Mary Agnes Carey
"Beginning in 2017, new beneficiaries who purchase supplemental insurance, known as Medigap, with particularly low cost-sharing requirements -- such as "first-dollar" coverage -- will face a surcharge equivalent to approximately 15 percent of the average Medigap premium. The thought is that more generous Medigap plans encourage overuse of services, but seniors rely on these generous plans to shield them from unanticipated costs.
Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, said that Medicare proposals that "increase deductibles and co-pays, and tax Medigap plans that ensure financial security, must be rejected." Read the article.
Ryan plan to reinvent Medicare, in 2024
MarketWatch, March 12, 2013, by Matthew Heimer
"Those stated intentions are undoubtedly laudable, but they raise the question: If Medicare remains committed to footing the bill for the poorest and sickest, how much money will it actually save? After all according to the Medicare Rights Center, an advocacy group, "half of all people with Medicare - almost 25 million Americans - live on annual incomes of $22,000 or less." Read the article.
8 Ways the New Tax Law Helps Older Americans
U.S. News & World Report, January 3, 2013 by Philip Moeller
The Medicare Rights Center hails the new law's one-year extension of several Medicare assistance payments for lower-income seniors. Programs extended include help paying Medicare premiums (known as the qualifying individual program) and exceptions to payment caps for certain physical, occupational, and speech therapies. Funding for counseling and service help to disabled Medicare beneficiaries was also included, the Center said. "Given that less than one-half of those eligible for these benefits are enrolled," Center President Joe Baker says, "extension of this funding represents a critical step forward in building health and economic security for some of the most vulnerable beneficiaries." Read the story.
Medicare May Be Silent Killer in Budget Battles
The Fiscal Times, December 20, 2012 by Josh Boak
"From what we see, the government does have that concentrated buying power and it needs to use that in purchasing prescription drugs and durable medical devices," said Joe Baker, president of the independent Medicare Rights Center. "We're spending too much for prescription drugs in Medicare." Read the story.
Medicare Silver Bullets: What's The Best Way To Control Costs?
Kaiser Health News, December 12, 2012
Any change to Medicare should produce cost savings for the federal government without shifting costs to people with Medicare. Allowing the federal government to directly negotiate drug rebates is an option that would considerably control costs in Medicare. This is a practice that already exists in the Medicaid program, and if it were applied to low-income Medicare beneficiaries, including those dually eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare, an estimated $135 billion in federal savings could be achieved over 10 years. Allowing the government to negotiate rebates for all Medicare beneficiaries with a prescription drug plan could save up to $156 billion in federal spending over the same period of time. At the same time, people with Medicare could save up $27 billion. This is the type of change we need for Medicare—a cost saver, not a cost shifter. Read the story.
How to appeal when Medicare won't pay
Reuters, November 13, 2012, by Mark Miller
Medicare processed 906 billion outpatient insurance claims in 2010 - and refused to pay 10 percent of them. But if you're a senior on Medicare with a denied claim, your odds of turning that around are surprisingly good if you appeal. Read the story.
Medicare Eligibility Age In Fiscal Cliff Negotiations Puts Older Americans In The Crosshairs
Huffington Post, November 12, 2012, by Jeffrey Young
"Two more years would have been, I would say, devastating," said Weintraub, who works part time counseling older people on their benefits at the Medicare Rights Center in New York. "It would've made a major difference, not only monetarily, just in my health," he said. He put off a blood test he needed for months waiting for his Medicare benefits to kick in because he couldn't afford it, he said. Read the story.
Shopping for Medicare
Wall Street Journal, October 13, 2012, by Anna Wilde Mathews
Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, says beneficiaries should also watch out for restrictions such as prior approval, which requires that the insurer sign off on a medication before it's covered. Another limit: only allowing beneficiaries to get a month's supply of a drug at a time, so they get hit by the copayment each time. The nonprofit has gotten more calls about such limits lately, Mr. Baker says. Read the story.
For Families Of Medicare Recipients, Insurance Choices Are Tricky
NPR, October 8, 2012, by Sarah Varney
"Medicare doesn't cover dependents," says Baker. "However, if you're a dependent of someone who is losing coverage because they're retiring and going into Medicare, you can continue your coverage for three years under COBRA." Read the story.
Business scores the debate for Romney
Crain's New York, October 4, 2012, by Andrew J. Hawkins
Pundits and commentators were quick to declare Mitt Romney the winner of Wednesday night's debate in Denver, but according those with an up close view of America's economic recovery, the result was more complicated and nuanced. Interviews with people from a wide variety of industries—finance, construction, advertising, technology, media and others—found that business people gave Mr. Romney an edge on the president, but lambasted both candidates for failing to offer specifics on how to improve the economy. Read the story.
Medicare Far Better Than Ryan's Prescription
Hartford Courant, September 21, 2012, by Joe Baker and Judith A. Stein
Congressman Paul Ryan's Medicare plan has absorbed countless hours of media attention since he was announced as the Republican candidate for vice president. Mr. Ryan's candidacy has also stimulated extensive discussions about Medicare's future — a topic worthy of attention. Unfortunately, the facts and real-life experiences of the 49 million people and their families who rely on Medicare are often missing from the conversations. Read the op-ed.
Medicare Truths Elude Both Sides
The Palm Beach Post, August 24, 2012, by Laura Green
The barrage of negative Medicare ads and claims — known as Mediscare — is cranking up this presidential campaign. And yet Florida seniors trying to choose a candidate based on them will be lucky to hear a mostly true word. Both sides are distorting their opponent’s position, making it difficult for voters to make an informed choice. Read the story.
Supreme Court Ruling Sets Stage for Full Rollout of Health-Care Reform Law
HealthDay, June 29, 2012, by Amanda Gardner
The U.S. Supreme Court's long-awaited ruling Thursday upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act means that changes to the American health care system will roll out largely as planned when the bill was signed into law two years ago, experts say. Read the story.
Some Good News in Scary Part A Report
Newsday, June 7, 2012, by Peter King
At first glance, the conclusions in the 2012 Medicare Trustees Report sound scary. The financial overseers of the program estimate that Medicare Part A, which covers hospital costs, will become insolvent in 2024 and that the program "is not adequately financed over the next 10 years."
But the dire-sounding predictions also included some better news. The trustees said Medicare Part A's expenditures in 2011 were lower than they previously estimated. However, trustees also recognize that the projected date of insolvency is "highly uncertain." Read the story.
Health Care Court Ruling Could Paralyze Medicare
Reuters, June 5, 2012, by Mark Miller
The ACA, a cornerstone of President Obama's health care plan, would extend health insurance to an additional 23 million Americans by 2019. But it's run into significant roadblocks as opponents argue that key components are un-Constitutional. Read the story.
Survive the Medicare Enrollment Maze
Kiplinger's Retirement Report, May 22, 2012, by Susan B. Garland
Enrolling in Medicare for the first time is a cinch for most seniors. Several months before your 65th birthday, the federal government sends you a "You're Eligible!" notice. You're automatically enrolled if you're getting Social Security benefits. Otherwise, you send in your application by the due date. Mission accomplished! But for a growing number of seniors, Medicare enrollment is a mission to bureaucratic hell. Read the story.
Health 411: Will Medicare cover wife when husband retires?
Los Angeles Times, March 22, 2012, by Lisa Zamosky
My wife does not work and is covered by my employer's health insurance plan. I am 60, she is 53. If I retire in five or seven years and go on Medicare, what does that mean for my wife? At most, she will be only 60. Do we have to purchase private insurance (which I suspect will be very expensive)? Or is there some kind of Medicare coverage for dependent spouses? Read the story.
Preventive Tests Covered by Medicare
The Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2012, by Anne Tergesen
Medicare is getting into the screening business in a bigger way. And that's good news for beneficiaries. Thanks to the health-care law, Medicare now covers the full cost of an expanding list of preventive services. On Jan. 1, the private, federally subsidized Medicare Advantage plans that cover 25% of those in the federal health-care program began offering the same coverage. Read the story.
Check Hospital Tab
The Wall Street Journal, February 5, 2012, by Anna Wilde Matthews
Some Medicare beneficiaries who visit the hospital are getting surprised by big bills because their stays weren't considered inpatient services.The issue arises when a Medicare beneficiary who comes to a hospital is placed in a status called "observation care." This is supposed to mean that patient is being watched while doctors decide if she can be discharged, or if she is ill enough to be admitted as a true inpatient. Observation is typically supposed to last 48 hours or less. Read the story.
Aging Groups Say Health Reform Provisions Affecting Seniors Should Not Be Tied to Supreme Court's Ruling on Individual Mandate
The Boston Globe, January 31, 2012, by National Senior Citizens Law Center via PR Newswire
Six national aging groups filed a friend of the court brief with the Supreme Court last Friday saying that there are extensive provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that are of "vital importance to the health and well-being of people 65 and older" and that Congress did not intend for any of them to be contingent on whether or not the minimum coverage provision (also called the individual mandate) was constitutional. Read the story.
Big penalties await those who delay Medicare filing
Reuters, January 20, 2012, by Mark Miller
Failing to sign up for Medicare at the right time can cost you - big time. The monthly Part B premium jumps 10 percent for each full 12-month period that a senior could have had coverage but didn't sign up. A mistake can be costly; someone who fails to enroll for five years would face a 50 percent Part B penalty - 10 percent for each year of delay. That penalty is permanent, and can translate into thousands of dollars in unnecessary lifetime penalty expenses; a headache no one needs on top of already soaring healthcare costs. Read the story.
Medicare Changes Every Boomer Needs to Know About for 2012
Fox Business News, January 19, 2012, by Casey Dowd
It seems as if the Medicare program is always changing, and it can be hard for baby boomers to keep up with the modifications and deadlines. Every year more than 1.5 million baby boomer enroll in the government-sponsored health insurance program, and the big problem right now is that the number of people receiving Medicare benefits is substantially higher than the number of people paying into the system. Read the story.
How to Trim Spending on Medicare Letters to the Editor
The New York Times, December 22, 2011, by Joe Baker
“Working With Medicare” got it mostly right — relentlessly rising costs in the health sector over all are the problem, not Medicare. But that is exactly why proposals that simply shift costs away from the federal government and onto Medicare beneficiaries, like increased cost sharing, means-tested premiums or increasing the eligibility age to 67, are ineffective and dangerous. Read the story.