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Casey Schwarz

Senior Counsel, Education & Federal Policy

Assess Your Medicare Coverage During Fall Open Enrollment

Each year, during Fall Open Enrollment (October 15 through December 7), people with Medicare have the opportunity to make certain changes to their coverage, including switching prescription drug plans or between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage (MA).

Commonwealth Fund Analyzes Medicare Flexibilities Granted During the Public Health Emergency

This week, the Commonwealth Fund released a report that summarizes and analyzes the over 200 temporary legislative and regulatory changes that have been made to Medicare in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. They also looked at the sub-regulatory guidance that the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released to interpret these rules and to provide additional flexibility to providers and Medicare plans.

Tenuous Financial Situation for Older Adults in 2019 Does Not Bode Well for Their Post-Coronavirus Security

The Kaiser Family Foundation recently released a report detailing how financially secure or insecure Medicare beneficiaries were in 2019. Consistent with previous years, the report shows that any stereotype of baby boomers as uniformly affluent is deeply misguided. Instead, half of people with Medicare have incomes below $29,650 and one in four live on less than $17,000. Savings rates are similarly dire. Half of Medicare beneficiaries have below $73,000 in resources, one in four has less than $8,300, and about 1 in 9 has no savings or is in debt. They also face significant out-of-pocket health care expenses in absolute terms and as a percentage of their income.

Trustees Reports Reflect Largely Unchanged and Improved Projections

The Social Security and Medicare Trustees reports were released this week. The reports include short- and long-term projections for the financial situation of the Social Security Retirement and Disability and the Medicare HI (Part A) and SMI (Part B) trust funds. The findings are largely consistent with those from 2019 and confirm the Medicare and Social Security programs are strong and built to last.

Proposed Rule Would Drastically Affect Access to Food Stamp Benefits

This week, the Medicare Rights Center provided comment to the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) in response to a proposed rule that would dramatically affect access to benefits by cutting billions of dollars of funding from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also referred to as food stamps.