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Monthly Archives: October 2017

The Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act Would Lower Costs and Preserve Care

This week, members of both chambers of Congress introduced a bill that aims to bring down rising drug costs. Representatives Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), Lloyd Doggett (D-Tx.), and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) joined with Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to introduce The Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2017, which would use several mechanisms to lower drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries while maintaining patient access to needed medications.

a roll of bills from which spill out pills of many colors
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Medicare Rights Urges CMS to Keep Ombudsman Program for Cancelled Demonstration Project

In December, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a demonstration program that will test new ways for Medicare to pay hospitals that perform heart or hip surgeries, but more recently, CMS has withdrawn that rule and cancelled the project. As part of the demonstration announcement, CMS also announced the creation of an ombudsman to serve people with Medicare in this model and other similar programs—a move applauded by Medicare Rights.

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Protecting Our Health Care – Ann and Ti’s Story

Ann is a caregiver to her partner Ti, and their story is one of love and caring but also one filled with advocacy on Ann’s part to preserve the Medicaid program, without which she and Ti could not survive. We helped Ann and thousands of others raise their voices against Medicaid cuts, so their voices could be joined with millions of others. It is stories like this one that will help us continue to protect the care of older adults now and in the future.

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Medicare Enrollment Opportunity Extended for Marketplace Enrollees

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced a year-long extension, through September 30, 2018, of a critical exception for certain Marketplace enrollees who delayed or declined Medicare enrollment. This process—known as time-limited equitable relief—lifts the burden of lifetime late enrollment penalties and gaps in health coverage for people with Marketplace plans who mistakenly missed signing up for Medicare.

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Medicare Rights Urges Congress to Support the CHIP Program without Penalizing People with Medicare

Today, the Medicare Rights Center sent a letter to leaders of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce voicing opposition to legislation that would shifts costs to people with Medicare. Importantly, the “Helping Ensure Access for Little Ones, Toddlers, and Hopeful Youth by Keeping Insurance Delivery Stable Act of 2017” (HEALTHY KIDS Act), would provide needed funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Unfortunately, however, the bill pays for this funding, in part, by requiring some higher-income people with Medicare to pay more than they already do for Medicare coverage.

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Medicare Fall Open Enrollment Begins October 15

Medicare Fall Open Enrollment occurs from October 15 to December 7 of every year and is the time of year when people with Medicare can make unrestricted changes to their coverage options. To assist people with Medicare, their caregivers, and the professionals who help them during this time of year, the Medicare Rights Center has developed the 2017 Guide to Fall Open Enrollment.

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The BENES Act Receives Bipartisan Support in the Senate

Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Todd Young (R-IN) recently reintroduced the bipartisan Beneficiary Enrollment Notice and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act (S. 1909)—an act strongly supported by Medicare Rights. The BENES Act simplifies Part B enrollment periods and requires the federal government to provide advance notification to people approaching Medicare eligibility about enrollment rules and how Medicare works with other coverage.

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