Celebrating 35 years of making Medicare more accessible, affordable, and equitable!

Anna Szilagyi

Outreach & Program Development Coordinator

CHAMP Makes Behavioral Health Services Accessible

People with Medicare who need help accessing mental health care and addiction services can look to the Community Health Access to Addiction and Mental Healthcare Project (CHAMP) as a new source of support. The Medicare Rights Center is participating in CHAMP, a new ombudsman program launched to help New Yorkers access insurance coverage for behavioral health services and understand their rights and options.

Client Services Counsels Take on Complex Medicare Cases

The staff and volunteer counselors on the Medicare Rights Center’s National Consumer Helpline answer Medicare questions from consumers, caregivers, and professionals every day. Yet there are times when a counselor will come across a complex situation where a client needs more assistance than a helpline call can provide. That’s when Medicare Rights’ lawyers step in with their expert knowledge of Medicare rules and regulations.

Donor Spotlight: Trish Sneddon

Trish Sneddon is a financial services representative and certified senior advisor at a faith-based nonprofit organization. Since she started this work in 2001, Trish has been an avid user of the Medicare Rights Center’s educational resources and has also become a monthly donor.

Webinars Provide In-Depth Training on Popular Medicare Topics

The Medicare Rights Center’s educational resources include an annual series of webinars which are available to everyone through Medicare Interactive (MI), but typically attended by professionals to help them better assist their clients, patients, employees, retirees, and others navigate Medicare. The 2018 webinar series dives into specific Medicare topics, including how Medicare covers people with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and how Medicare coordinates with job-based insurance.

In a Client’s Words: Letter to Medicare Rights

Mr. L, a 71-year-old New Yorker, contacted the Medicare Rights Center because he realized he needed Medicare coverage but could not afford it. He did not enroll in Medicare when he became eligible due to the costs. Medicare Rights determined that Mr. L’s low income qualified him for a Medicare Savings Program that would pay both his Part A and B premiums; eliminate his late enrollment penalty; and pay his Medicare deductibles, coinsurances, and co-pays, providing him with the affordable coverage he needs.

Highlighting Medicare Rights’ National Helpline Trends

In March, the Medicare Rights Center released its annual helpline trends report outlining ongoing challenges facing people with Medicare, heard through nearly 17,000 calls to the National Consumer Helpline. The report, Medicare Trends and Recommendations: An Analysis of 2016 Call Data from the Medicare Rights Center National Helpline, re-examines the top three recurring issues heard on the helpline in prior years.

Part B enrollment confusion, Medicare Advantage plan denials, and prescription drug costs continue to pose problems for people with Medicare. Samantha Morales, associate director of client services, and Julie Carter, federal policy associate, who authored the report, illustrate these trends with client stories. The stories and data highlight how helpline counseling informs Medicare Rights’ work with partners, policymakers, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to address persistent issues and create change.

Q&A with Medicare Rights Board Member Curtis Cole, M.D.

Dr. Cole is the Chief Information Officer for Weill Cornell Medicine. He practices Internal Medicine at Weill Cornell and NYP. He is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine and Healthcare Policy & Research. As CIO, he is responsible for the Wood Library, core IT infrastructure, software and web development groups, the user support organization, telephony, and enterprise applications including ERP and EMR. Dr. Cole recently participated in the following Q&A with Medicare Rights: 

Medicare Rights’ Educational Programs and Partnerships

The Medicare Rights Center’s education department is building a community of “Medicare smart” students. Through Medicare Interactive (MI) Pro online courses and Medicare Minute presentations, professionals and other community members can become go-to resources for people navigating Medicare. To fortify more people with Medicare knowledge, Medicare Rights partners with professional associations, unions, businesses, and other groups. From social workers to financial planners, in libraries and conference rooms, Medicare Rights’ educational programming ensures everyone who helps older adults and people with disabilities has clear,
up-to-date Medicare information.

Matching Donor Spotlight: Beth and Ray Abbott

Now a helpline volunteer and a donor, Beth Abbott started her engagement with the Medicare Rights Center through a summer internship while pursuing a graduate degree in health advocacy from Sarah Lawrence College. After she finished her degree, she continued with Medicare Rights as a helpline counselor. While dedicating volunteer hours to answering Medicare questions, Beth learned about a matching donation program through Bank of America, her husband Ray Abbott’s employer.



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