Historical Milestones

Medicare Rights Founded

 0
 0
Share
The Medicare Rights Center is founded as "The Medicare Beneficiaries Defense Fund" in June 1989 by Diane Archer. To this day, the organization works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities.

The Early 1990s

 0
 0
Share
Throughout the early 1990s, Medicare Rights pushes for protections from some doctors who were overcharging their Medicare patients beyond the price that Medicare set for a particular service.

Spring 1994

 0
 0
Share
An article published in the Journal of Long-Term Home Health Care outlines eight issues facing people with Medicare based on counseling provided on the helpline at the time. Medicare Rights still has its ear to the ground, pinpointing the various issues as told by the thousands of beneficiaries we speak to every year. Read about today’s issues in our latest report, Medicare Trends and Recommendations.

Rebrand and New Name

 0
 0
Share
The organization takes on a new look and becomes the Medicare Rights Center. Today, Medicare Rights is synonymous with ensuring that older adults and people with disabilities have access to high quality, affordable health care.

“HMO Flash”

 0
 0
Share
Medicare Rights releases its first national education initiative called “HMO Flash.” The definitive reference guide of the recently created Medicare HMOs (now called Medicare Advantage), this resource consisted of 28 tip sheets explaining what HMOs are, how to choose and enroll in a plan, and how to appeal denials of coverage. Much of the information can still be found on Medicare Interactive.

Website Launches

 0
 0
Share
The Medicare Rights Center jumps on the internet wave and launches its first website. Beneficiaries and professionals come to the site to get Medicare information, sign up for newsletters, and purchase educational publications. Today the website is a key tool to broadcast the organization’s work.

Seniors Out Speaking (SOS)

 0
 0
Share
Seniors Out Speaking on Medicare (SOS Medicare) begins in Westchester, NY. This peer-to-peer educational program builds camaraderie, strengthens community-based organizations, and empowers older adults to navigate the health care system themselves. SOS eventually expands nationally and is now known as “Medicare Minute®.”

New York State Medicare Savings Coalition

 0
 0
Share
The New York State Medicare Savings Coalition is launched to help remove systemic barriers to Medicare Savings Program access. Today, the coalition continues its work to help New Yorkers with Medicare enroll in valuable cost-saving programs.

Medicare Interactive

 0
 0
Share
Medicare Interactive launches with support from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and others.

Medicare Minute®

 0
 0
Share
Medicare Minute® expands to a dozen states beyond New York with support from the Atlantic Philanthropies, the Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation, the Public Welfare Foundation, and others.

Getting Medicare Right

 0
 0
Share
Medicare Rights begins its current chapter with a new look. The tagline, Getting Medicare right, is a promise to the millions of people with Medicare, their caregivers, and the health care professionals who serve them.

Partnership with the Food Bank for New York City

 0
 0
Share
With an historic joint grant of $1 million from the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Medicare Rights launches a partnership with the Food Bank for New York City to enroll as many New Yorkers as possible in low-income benefits. The two-year project results in the successful submission of 8,934 benefits and a total two-year value of $18.5 million.

Local Promise

 0
 0
Share
Thanks to a paper released in 2010, Medicare Rights leads the charge to increase eligibility for and expand enrollment in an array of low-income Medicare programs, including Medicare Savings Programs and the Extra Help subsidy of the Part D drug benefit. Medicare Rights’ advocacy, catalyzing elimination of the asset test for these programs in New York State, continues to serve as a national model.

Coalition to Protect the Rights of New York’s Dually Eligible

 0
 0
Share
With support from the New York State Health Foundation and later support from Community Catalyst, Medicare Rights forges the Coalition to Protect the Rights of New York’s Dually Eligible to ensure that some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers—those dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid—are responsibly transitioned to new health insurance plans. Medicare Rights’ experience continues to influence and inform the implementation of duals demonstrations nationwide.

Helpline Trends Report

 0
 0
Share
Medicare Rights starts releasing a regular Helpline Trends Report that documents key issues it sees on its national helpline and ties them to an array of state and national policy solutions.

Medicare: Strong and Built to Last

 0
 0
Share
Medicare Rights spearheads a campaign to protect Medicare from proposals that would undermine its promise to some 50 million Americans. Fact sheets such as "Medicare: Strong and Built to Last" sound a clarion call to galvanize policymakers to preserve the critical program.

SHIP and SMP Partnership

 0
 0
Share
Medicare Rights wins two subgrants through the U.S. Administration for Community Living to serve as a partner in the National State Health Insurance Assistance Program Technical Assistance Center (SHIP TA Center) and the National Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) Resource Center. Through these subgrants, the organization now provides training and certification for Medicare counselors nationwide, as well as monthly Medicare Minute programming that is used in communities across the country.

Planning for the Future

 0
 0
Share
Medicare Rights began a formal strategic planning process, and is currently pursuing objectives contained in the organization's second three-year plan. Key objectives in the current plan include expanding services to caregivers and people dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, improving access to behavioral health care for people with Medicare, strengthening earned income and individual giving as sources of organizational revenue, and introducing new technologies to increase organizational efficiency and partner satisfaction.

New and Improved Medicare Interactive (MI) and MI Pro

 0
 0
Share
Medicare Rights launches a new and improved Medicare Interactive (MI) and MI Pro online curriculum. MI Pro currently allows financial planners, social workers, insurance brokers, caregivers, and others to learn everything about Medicare anytime, anywhere, and at their own pace.

GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency

 0
 0
Share
Medicare Rights receives a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

MI Pro Continuing Education

 0
 0
Share
Medicare Rights begins offering continuing education (CE) credits to professionals seeking Medicare training. This same year, the organization is named a CE Quality Partner by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.

Three Million Visits to
Medicare Interactive

 0
 0
Share
Medicare Interactive receives more than three million visits for the first time, demonstrating the wide usage of this comprehensive Medicare tool.

Present Day

 0
 0
Share
In addition to its national counseling and education work, Medicare Rights has been focused on protecting Medicare from a variety of policy threats and working to improve the program for the future, for instance through support of legislative proposals, administrative fixes, and other beneficiary-oriented policies.

Make Prescription Drugs More Affordable

Medicare Rights supports efforts to meaningfully reduce drug prices and lower costs for both people with Medicare and the program as a whole. Potentially effective strategies include allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, increasing pricing transparency and accountability throughout the supply chain, and imposing limits on beneficiary out-of-pocket spending. Changes to the current system must be carefully considered and only adopted if they do not threaten to undermine beneficiary protections or access to medications, such as by weakening the protected classes or introducing additional, inappropriate utilization management strategies.

Allow Open Enrollment, Guaranteed Issue, and Community Rating in Medigap for All People with Medicare

Though Medigaps help a growing number of people with Original Medicare afford needed care, not everyone is eligible to buy the plans, and most are only guaranteed the right to do so during very limited time frames. Congress must ensure that all beneficiaries have access to affordable, high-quality Medigap policies as well as the opportunity to re-evaluate their coverage choices as their needs change. This includes extending the same federal Medigap protections to beneficiaries under 65 as those provided to beneficiaries over 65 and providing for open enrollment, guaranteed issue, and community rating of Medigap for all people with Medicare.

Add a Standard Medicare Out-Of-Pocket Maximum for Beneficiary Cost Sharing

Original Medicare and Part D have no out-of-pocket maximums, exposing beneficiaries to limitless financial risk. While Medicare Advantage (MA) plans do include an out-of-pocket maximum in their benefit packages, this threshold is too high—permitting costs up to $6,700 in 2019. Congress should establish a standardized, affordable, out-of-pocket maximum for Original Medicare, MA, and Part D. To both lower costs for beneficiaries and the system, this change must be coupled with efforts address the underlying problem of high drug prices.

Eliminate the Observation Status Penalty

Medicare beneficiaries who need post-hospital care in a skilled nursing facility (SNF) may be forced to pay out-of-pocket for this care when the hospital chooses to assign them to “observation status” instead of admitting them as an inpatient. Congress should reevaluate the three-day hospital stay requirement, and all days in the hospital should count toward coverage for needed SNF care.

Ease Access to Medicare Low-income Assistance Programs

Medicare’s low-income assistance programs (Medicare Savings Programs and Part D’s Extra Help) were established to help low-income seniors and people with disabilities afford needed medicines. But today, complex, bureaucratic application processes and outdated eligibility thresholds unnecessarily limit participation. These policies must be modernized to reflect financial realities and to align with reforms made elsewhere in the health care system. Accordingly, Congress should ease or eliminate the asset tests for Medicare low-income assistance programs; lower and align eligibility thresholds; and integrate the programs’ application processes, qualifying criteria, and administration.

Address the Medicare Part D “Cliff”

Absent congressional action, an Affordable Care Act provision slowing the growth of the Part D catastrophic coverage threshold will expire after 2019. As a result, Medicare Part D enrollees with high drug costs will have to pay much more out of pocket next year, when the catastrophic coverage threshold increases from $5,100 in 2019 to $6,350 in 2020. Congress must take steps to protect beneficiaries from these higher costs.

View All

 

The amount chosen will be automatically deducted from your account on a monthly basis.

The Medicare Rights Center is a nonprofit organization under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3), federal tax ID #13-3505372. Contributions to Medicare Rights are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable under the law.

To celebrate 30 years of helping millions of older adults and people with disabilities secure the affordable health care they need, please make a donation today. Your generosity makes it possible for Medicare Rights to assist clients who call our National Consumer Helpline; provide educational resources, including Medicare Interactive; and protect and strengthen the Medicare program.  See how your donation makes a difference.

Help us reach our goal!

Right now, your donation will have an even greater impact because the Medicare Rights Center’s Board of Directors is providing a dollar-for-dollar match on all donations up to a total of $10,000.
30%