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Julie Carter

Senior Federal Policy Associate

Ways to Expand Access to Dental Coverage for People with Medicare

Currently, Medicare does not cover most dental services. The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a non-partisan, non-profit focused on national health issues, recently released an issue brief discussing various options to increase access to dental coverage for people with Medicare. According to the brief, nearly two out of every three Medicare beneficiaries have no dental coverage, leading many to go without necessary care.

Lawsuit Seeks to Improve Medicare Beneficiary Access to Nursing Facilities

Currently, people with Medicare cannot appeal the decision to classify them outpatients, but a court case—Alexander v. Azar—may change that. In 2011, seven plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit to try to gain the right to appeal the decision to classify them as outpatients in observation stay instead of as inpatients who would potentially be eligible for SNF coverage. After many twists and turns, the case has finally made it to trial this week in a Connecticut court. If successful, the lawsuit would ensure that beneficiaries can appeal decisions made by hospitals that reduce their eligibility for Medicare coverage of SNF care.

Trump Administration Proposes ACA Changes That Would Weaken Nondiscrimination Protections

On June 14, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a proposed rule that would significantly weaken the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) nondiscrimination protections. Section 1557 of the ACA makes it illegal for providers that receive federal funding to discriminate in the provision of health care on the basis of race, color, national origin (including language access), age, disability or sex. HHS is now seeking to limit those protections, changes that would put many already vulnerable populations—including older adults, people with disabilities, people with limited English proficiency, and LGBTQ individuals—at risk of losing access to care.

GAO Report Finds Medicare Plan Finder Needs Significant Improvements

Medicare Plan Finder (MPF) is a primary way for people with Medicare to understand and compare their coverage choices. MPF should allow beneficiaries, caregivers, and unbiased counselors to find the coverage that best serves the needs of the individual. A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) agrees with previous research on MPF that the tool has significant problems that interfere with its usefulness.