Your Weekly Medicare
Consumer Advocacy Update
Leveraging Low-Income Programs
July 22, 2010
Volume 1, Issue 21
Report Examines Efforts to Increase Enrollment in Low-Income Programs
The Medicare Rights Center released a report this week on statesí strategies to increase enrollment in Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs), which are programs that help people with low incomes pay for their Medicare. The report, Local Promise: Maximizing Enrollment into Low-Income Medicare Programs through State-Based Consumer Advocacy, focuses on efforts in four states—New York, Maine, Kansas and Florida—and points to consumer advocacy as an essential tool in overcoming barriers to enrollment.
While the report analyzes the unique challenges facing each of the four states, it also identifies effective practices that can help inform enrollment strategies across the country. The lessons drawn from these statesí work to improve their benefits programs are also useful in the context of health reform, especially as the federal government and states begin to examine enrollment practices for health programs. In the coming years, effective implementation of new benefits will be the key to ensuring that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act fulfills its original goals.
Read the Medicare Rights Centerís press release.
Read the report.
Addressing the Unique Needs of the Dual-Eligible Population
Dual eligibles, people who have both Medicare and Medicaid, are more likely to suffer from multiple chronic physical and mental health conditions than the general Medicare population, according to a report released by the Kaiser Family Foundation this month. Over 60 percent of dual eligibles suffer from more than one chronic physical condition compared to about 50 percent of all other Medicare consumers. In addition, 19.7 percent of dual eligibles suffer from multiple mental and/or cognitive impairments compared to about 5 percent of all other people with Medicare. Almost 38 percent of dual eligibles have both physical and mental health conditions compared to 17 percent of the remaining Medicare population. While dual eligibles use Medicare to cover hospital and physician services, the population relies more on Medicaid to cover their long-term, community- and home-based care needs.
Due to the complicated health problems of this at-risk population, care coordination and benefits integration are especially relevant to dual eligibles. Health reform contains a number of provisions that directly address these issues, including the expansion of home- and community-based services through Medicaid, investments in new care coordination and chronic disease management models such as medical homes, and the establishment of the Federal Coordinated Health Care Office (FCHCO) within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to specifically examine and improve care for dual eligibles.
Read the full report, Chronic Disease and Co-Morbidity Among Dual Eligibles: Implications for Patterns of Medicaid and Medicare Service Use and Spending.
Itís time for a birthday celebration: Medicare turns 45 this month. The Medicare program provides health care coverage for millions of older Americans and Americans with disabilities, and is the largest provider of health care in the United States.
Join us in wishing Medicare a happy birthday!
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The Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs and public policy initiatives.
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© 2010 by Medicare Rights Center. All rights reserved.
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