Julie Carter

Senior Federal Policy Associate

School Reopening Policy Must Consider Risks to Older Adults

Fall is quickly approaching, meaning more and more schools and parents must decide whether to resume in-person classes amid the continued COVID-19 public health emergency. Importantly, because these choices will have implications for students, school employees, families, and communities, they will require a careful balancing of factors.

Move to Help Medicare Beneficiaries Afford Insulin Does Not Go Far Enough

This week, the Trump administration announced a new two-year demonstration program that will reduce insulin costs for some people with Medicare drug coverage. The lower costs will no doubt be welcomed by the 1.3 million enrollees who stand to benefit, and we applaud this help. However, we are disappointed that this initiative will not offer relief to all who need it or address larger issues around prescription drug access and affordability.

Updated Guidance for Medicare Advantage and Part D Plans Increases Access to Care

Last month, the Medicare Rights Center highlighted guidance that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, Part D plans, and certain Medicare-Medicaid plans. This guidance described both the options and requirements such plans have for providing Medicare coverage for COVID-19 (also called coronavirus) testing, treatments, and prevention. This week, CMS amended the guidance to reflect additional information and flexibilities. Some of these changes are a result of legislation, while others are decisions made by the agency.

How Coronavirus Might Change Future Health Costs

The coronavirus public health emergency is likely to have a sweeping impact on the entire American health care system, including costs and affordability. This week, the Peterson Center on Healthcare and KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) released a brief discussing possible changes to health care costs, including within the Medicare and Medicaid programs, moving forward.

Enrolling in Medicare During the Coronavirus Emergency

During the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus, Social Security Administration (SSA) offices across the country closed their physical doors and moved all operations to online and telephone platforms. SSA created a new resource page to keep the public updated and explain how to access services amid the office closures. Anything affecting access to SSA has an impact on people applying for Medicare coverage, as SSA is the agency that handles enrollment. Importantly, Medicare enrollment continues, though people may encounter some delays.