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Alison Hamburger

Advocating in the Capital

The Medicare Rights Center is hard at work in our nation’s capital advocating for policies that protect and strengthen Medicare for older adults and people with disabilities.
We are currently working to prevent lawmakers from using the increased federal deficit that resulted from the Tax Cut bill as an excuse to cut or restructure Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security. While Congress approved legislation preventing automatic cuts, there is still a gaping revenue shortfall of $1.5 trillion or more, putting these programs directly in the cross-hairs of policy-makers seeking to pay for the tax cuts.

Lindsey Copeland Heads Up Federal Policy Team

Lindsey Copeland joined the Medicare Rights Center as the Federal Policy Director this past December. Based in the Washington, DC office, Lindsey is responsible for formulating, directing, and implementing Medicare Rights’ federal policy and advocacy agenda. She informs policymakers, stakeholders, and the press about the challenges facing people with Medicare, as well as the administrative and legislative solutions that Medicare Rights supports to address these issues.

Fall Open Enrollment on the Helpline

This past fall, the Medicare Rights Center’s national consumer helpline staff and volunteers were hard at work assisting people with their Medicare coverage options. Fall Open Enrollment is the time of year when people with Medicare can change their coverage, and it is Medicare Rights’ busiest season. During this time—which takes place from October 15 through December 7 every year—Medicare Rights answered more than 3,000 questions for older adults and people with disabilities. Helpline counselors and staff assisted clients with reviewing their current coverage, comparing their Medicare Part D plan and Medicare Advantage plan options, and discussing the benefits of Original Medicare versus Medicare Advantage.

Donor Spotlight: Mary-Ann Etiebet, Former Staff Member

The Medicare Rights Center recently spoke with former staff member Mary-Ann Etiebet, M.D., who is currently the executive director at Merck for Mothers, about her time at Medicare Rights and what made her become a generous donor to the organization. Mary-Ann has more than two decades of experience improving health care outcomes for vulnerable populations, and her work began when she was hired at Medicare Rights as a health advocacy fellow in 1996, and she continued on as an education associate the following year. She remembers how Medicare Rights grew during her time there, with only five full-time staff members when she started and about a dozen when she left, as well as an increased operating budget.

Medicare Rights Serves New York Communities with Expert Medicare Presentations

With an estimated 10,000 people aging into Medicare every day— and more than 56 million currently enrolled in the program—the need for clear, accurate, and accessible Medicare information grows unabated. The Medicare Rights Center works diligently to address this need nationally through its counseling, education, and advocacy programs, and especially serves the communities surrounding its home base in New York City with dozens of Medicare presentations each year.

Highly Trained Volunteers Expand Medicare Rights’ Reach

At the Medicare Rights Center, we count on our 60 highly trained volunteer helpline counselors to help us answer thousands of questions for people with Medicare, their families and caregivers, and the professionals who serve them. To ensure that our volunteers provide expert counseling and assistance, we provide numerous training sessions throughout the year to keep them informed and up to date about the complexities of Medicare.

Infographic: Trusted Medicare Resources

The “Trusted Medicare Resources” infographic makes it easier to identify the national, state, and community Medicare resources that help you navigate Medicare.

Part B Enrollment Mistakes: One Client’s Story

Knowing when and how to enroll in Part B, the part of Medicare that covers outpatient services like doctor visits, can be a confusing endeavor. This was true for Sandra Durant—and, regrettably, for the Social Security employee who misinformed her about when to sign up.