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Annual Trends Report on Medicare Helpline Inquiries and Online Reference Tool Searches Released by the Medicare Rights Center

May 24, 2022  
•  Press Releases
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— COVID-19 Pandemic Adds New Gravity to Perennial Issues and Brings Focus to Inequities and Disparities People with Medicare Face —

New York, NY—Today, the Medicare Rights Center released its annual helpline trends report, which outlines the top ongoing challenges facing people with Medicare. The report’s findings are based on thousands of calls to the Medicare Rights’ national helpline and millions of visits to Medicare Interactive, the online Medicare reference tool developed by Medicare Rights.

The Medicare Rights Center, a national nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities, produces this report annually so that advocates, policymakers at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA), elected officials, and other stakeholders can better understand the needs of people with Medicare and work toward greater accessibility and affordability in Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage.

The report, Medicare Trends and Recommendations: An Analysis of 2020-2021 Call Data from the Medicare Rights Center’s National Helpline, examines the top issues heard on Medicare Rights’ helpline and the most searched for answers on Medicare Interactive. Each issue is demonstrated through stories heard on the helpline and seeks to put a face on the Medicare population today and the top issues facing people with Medicare and their families.

Out of nearly 42,000 issues addressed through the Medicare Rights’ national helpline and professional email channel in 2021 and 2022, and millions of visits to Medicare Interactive, a variety of themes stand out, including:

  • mitigating COVID-19’s impact on Medicare enrollment and affordability;
  • appealing Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D denials of care;
  • accessing and affording prescription drugs; and
  • the need for a Medicare dental benefit.

Medicare Rights’ 2020-2021 helpline data provide insight into the challenges people with Medicare faced to a unique degree during the year that COVID-19 emerged and spread globally. While the pandemic intensified the urgency and gravity of questions, counseling themes remained consistent with previous years, illustrating that work remains to improve Medicare for all beneficiaries.

This report provides actionable policy recommendations to simplify the Medicare enrollment process, increase Medicare affordability, decrease the complexity and challenges of navigating denials, make prescription drugs more affordable, and add dental coverage as a core benefit to the Medicare program.

The Medicare Trends and Recommendations: An Analysis of 2020-2021 Call Data from the Medicare Rights Center’s National Helplineis available at: https://www.medicarerights.org/policy-documents/2020-2021-medicare-trends-and-recommendations

To contact Medicare Rights’ national helpline, call 800-333-4114. For more information about Medicare, visit www.medicareinteractive.org.

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About Medicare Rights
The Medicare Rights Center, a national nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities.

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