Medicare Trends and Recommendations:
In 2013, the Medicare Rights Center’s (Medicare Rights) national helpline fielded more than 15,000 questions from Medicare beneficiaries, caregivers, and professionals across the country. Callers were geographically and socioeconomically diverse, and needed help with a wide array of problems.
This report outlines the most common and pressing concerns for Medicare Rights’ callers. Top themes include Medicare denials of coverage and the appeals process (34 percent), problems transitioning into Medicare (22 percent), and difficulties affording health care costs (19 percent). Other questions involved billing issues (15 percent), coordination of benefits (4 percent), and other issues (6 percent), such as problems with Medicaid.
Despite the longstanding nature of these problems, which were also the most frequent reasons people called Medicare Rights’ helpline in 2012, meaningful improvements are possible through counseling, education, and policy reforms. The solutions explored in this report would serve to reduce the prevalence and severity of the common challenges heard daily by Medicare Rights’ staff and volunteers.