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Mitchell Clark

Director of Digital Strategy & Communications

Medicare Fall Open Enrollment Begins October 15

Medicare Fall Open Enrollment occurs from October 15 to December 7 of every year and is the time of year when people with Medicare can make unrestricted changes to their coverage options. To assist people with Medicare, their caregivers, and the professionals who help them during this time of year, the Medicare Rights Center has developed the 2017 Guide to Fall Open Enrollment.

Medicare Rights Center Highlights Ways to Improve Access to Medicare Savings Programs for People with Low Incomes in New York

This week, the Medicare Rights Center released a new brief, Medicare Snapshot: Stories from the Helpline: Improving New York State Access to Medicare Savings Programs, which spotlights ways to improve access to Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) in New York. MSPs can help Medicare beneficiaries with low-incomes save thousands of dollars in health care costs each year, however, they are consistently under-enrolled and under-utilized. Drawing on its experiences in New York and other states, Medicare Rights identifies a series of actions that state and local agencies could take to further improve access to MSPs and related benefits in New York.

CMS Projects Continued Stability of Part D Premiums in 2018

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that the average basic premium for a Part D prescription drug plan is estimated to be $33.50 per month in 2018. This projected average premium is a slight decrease from the average monthly premium in 2017 ($34.70) and represents the continued relative stability of Part D premiums. It is important to note that while the average, basic premium is lower in 2018, beneficiary premiums will vary—some increasing and some decreasing next year.

After 52 Years, Medicare Remains a Bright Spot in Our Nation’s Health Care System

Last week, Medicare celebrated 52 years since it was signed into law. In those 52 years, Medicare has provided guaranteed health benefits to millions of older adults and people with disabilities. Today, 57 million Americans and their families rely on Medicare for basic health and economic security and the program remains on solid footing.

It’s Not Over Yet. Senate Will Soon Vote to Advance Affordable Care Act Repeal.

In a shocking twist, Senate leadership decided this week that they will no longer advance the Better Care Reconciliation Act, a bill that would have slashed Medicaid, spiked costs for older adults, and yanked coverage away from 22 million Americans. This news would be welcome, if not for reports that the Senate is now rumored to turn to an already discredited scheme to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a meaningful and simultaneous replacement.

Medicare Rights Offers Ways to Improve Affordable Care Act Regulations

The Medicare Rights Center recently submitted comments responding to a federal request for information titled “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Reducing Regulatory Burdens and Improving Health Care Choices to Empower Patients.” The comments provide detailed suggestions about how the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) can improve the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulatory landscape to empower patients and promote choice; stabilize the individual, small group, and other health insurance markets; enhance affordability; and affirm the traditional regulatory authority of the states.

Paying More for Less: American Health Care Act

Senate leaders are reportedly rushing forward to vote on their health plan, and reports indicate that the plan will be essentially the same as the American Health Care Act (AHCA)–the destructive bill passed by a narrow margin in the House of Representatives last month. Since Senate leaders are keeping their backroom dealings out of the public’s view, we can only assume that their bill will have the same impact as the AHCA. Our new resource, Paying More for Less: American Health Care Act, highlights the devastating effects of the AHCA.

BENES Act Reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives

Congressmen Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA.) and Patrick Meehan (R-PA) recently reintroduced the bipartisan Beneficiary Enrollment Notice and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act (H.R. 2575)—an act applauded by Medicare Rights. The BENES Act simplifies Part B enrollment periods and requires the federal government to provide advance notification to people approaching Medicare eligibility about enrollment rules and how Medicare works with other coverage.