Medicare’s annual Fall Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is a busy time for beneficiaries and advocates alike. From October 15 to December 7 each year, people with Medicare can make changes to their coverage, such as switching Part D prescription drug plans, or between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage. Each fall, Medicare Rights provides both counseling and education to help people with Medicare weigh their options.
Medicare Rights helpline volunteer Amy Friedner is an accountant by training, but later went back to school to get her degree in nutrition and became a registered dietitian. Her interest in health didn’t stop there, though. After moving back to New York City from the suburbs five years ago, Amy was looking for volunteer opportunities in the health care field.
Staff from the Medicare Rights Center presented on the opioid crisis and Medicare coverage of substance use disorder treatment at the 2019 Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) and State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) National Conference. SMPs and SHIPs are state-based agencies that assist people with Medicare and their caregivers. SMPs empower people with Medicare to prevent, detect, and report health care fraud, while SHIPs provide local and unbiased Medicare counseling. As a partner of the SHIP Technical Assistance Center, Medicare Rights provides ongoing technical assistance and training for SHIP counselors throughout the nation.
This week, Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) introduced a House companion to the Medicare Extra Rx HELP Act (S. 691/H.R. 4583). Championed in the Senate by Bob Casey (D-PA), this bill would make improvements to the Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy (LIS), commonly known as Extra Help, to better reflect current needs.
Currently, Medicare does not cover most dental services. The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a non-partisan, non-profit focused on national health issues, recently released an issue brief discussing various options to increase access to dental coverage for people with Medicare. According to the brief, nearly two out of every three Medicare beneficiaries have no dental coverage, leading many to go without necessary care.