On December 19, the Medicare Rights Center joined over 70 organizations in asking House and Senate leaders to pass the Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act (S. 1909; HR 2575) by year’s end.
Currently, far too many people with Medicare are irreversibly harmed due to the cumbersome and confusing Part B enrollment system. The consequences of these missteps can be significant—often leading to a lifetime of higher premiums, substantial out-of-pocket health care costs, gaps in coverage, and barriers to accessing needed services.
On December 20, Congress passed its tax overhaul package. As expected, the legislation will add $1.5 trillion to the debt over ten years, creating short- and long-term financing challenges for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security—and putting those who rely on these programs at risk.
Over the past few weeks, House and Senate Republicans have been meeting to work out the differences between their two tax bills. Recent reports indicate they have reached a deal on the final bill and plan to vote next week. If this timeline holds, the bill could be signed into law before Christmas. Legislative text has yet to be released, but here’s what we know so far about the final bill.
In the past several years, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), part of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), has designed and implemented demonstration projects and models to try new ways of paying providers to deliver health care to people with Medicare. These tests of new designs attempt to see if there are ways providers can be paid that will increase the quality of care people receive while either keeping costs stable or, ideally, lowering them.
I think I need a power wheelchair to get around my home. How do I get one, and how do I get Medicare to cover it?
– Jacob (Concord, NH)
A bipartisan bill reintroduced in Congress—the Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act—would improve the Part B enrollment process. Through better notice, eliminating gaps in coverage during enrollment periods, and more, the BENES Act modernizes enrollment rules written when Medicare was created more than 50 years ago.
Medicare Rights strongly supports the BENES Act. Help us support this bill by writing to your members of Congress. Urge them to cosponsor the BENES Act and simplify the complicated and outdated Part B enrollment process.
This week, the Senate and the House are frantically working out the differences between the tax bill previously passed in the House and the Senate’s version that passed late last week.
Both bills would add over $1 trillion to the debt, putting our nation’s bedrock programs—Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security—in the cross-hairs of lawmakers who plan to use rising deficits as an excuse to “restructure” or “reform” these programs by gutting them.
Take action today. Write to your members of Congress, and tell them to put a stop to this deeply unpopular tax bill.