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Newsletter Issue 26

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Medicare Rights Advocacy

Medicare Rights urges New York to expand Medicare Savings Program eligibility 

Medicare Rights, in coalition with Medicaid Matters New York, New York Legal Assistance Group, StateWide Senior Action Council, and others, advocates for the inclusion of S8228/A9245 in one-house budget bills and the final 2022-2023 New York State Budget. S8228/A9245 are proposals to expand eligibility for New York’s Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs), thereby creating millions of dollars of savings for New York State by maximizing federal dollars.

MSPs help low-income Medicare beneficiaries by paying their Part B premiums and automatically enrolling them in “Extra Help,” the federal prescription drug subsidy program. Proposed legislation may help up to an additional 100,000 New Yorkers afford their Part B premium, saving each $170.10 a month ($2,041.20 annually) in 2022. 

Several organizations have signed on in support of proposed legislation. Organizations that would like to endorse the proposals can use this link to access the sign-on letter. 

Governor Hochul expands Medicaid eligibility in New York State budget

Governor Hochul recently released the 2022 NYS Executive Budget. Medicare Rights applauds the Hochul administration’s Medicaid expansion bill, which equalizes Medicaid eligibility for all New Yorkers by increasing the income limit for seniors and people with disabilities to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)–the same limit used for individuals eligible for MAGI Medicaid through the Marketplace–and by eliminating the asset test. This increase ensures that people do not face the “Medicaid cliff” as they reach Medicare eligibility. Repeal of the asset limit is essential to eliminating racial disparities in health care access. By doing this and increasing Medicaid income limits, more New Yorkers will have access to crucial and necessary care. 

Medicare Rights is also pleased to report that the Managed Care Consumer Assistance Program (MCCAP) and the Community Health Advocates (CHA) program received continued funding.

Read Medicare Right’s full budget testimony.

Medicare Rights to offer webinar on navigating Medicare’s coverage of durable medical equipment

On March 10, Medicare Rights will host a webinar to educate professionals on the hurdles faced by beneficiaries trying to access durable medical equipment (DME). Medicare Rights staff will explain Medicare’s coverage rules and troubleshoot challenges related to DME access. There will also be an opportunity for Q&A.

Sign up for the webinar

New York State and Federal Government Updates

Medicare beneficiaries win right to appeal observation status

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a ruling that Medicare must provide appeal rights to beneficiaries who are admitted to the hospital as “inpatients” and subsequently reclassified as “outpatients” receiving “observation services.” This decision will help people with Medicare pursue coverage for vital post-hospital nursing home care that might otherwise be unaffordable.

Medicare Rights applauds this ruling and our partners—the Center for Medicare Advocacy and Justice in Aging—for their tireless work and advocacy. We frequently hear from older adults and people with disabilities who are caught in the reclassification trap and for whom needed post-acute care is out of reach.

For more information about the ruling, please visit Medicare Rights’ blog

Senators introduce bipartisan BENES 2.0 Act to further simplify Medicare enrollment

Medicare Rights welcomes the recent introduction of the Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) 2.0 Act (S. 3675) in the U.S. Senate. This act would help prevent costly enrollment errors by ensuring that people approaching Medicare eligibility receive clear and timely information about Medicare Part B enrollment rules.

Increased education around Part B enrollment would advance the goals of the original BENES Act. As passed by Congress in December 2020, that bill modernized transitions to Medicare by eliminating needless breaks in coverage, updating administrative enrollment flexibilities, and informing future policymaking on enrollment period alignment. The BENES 2.0 Act seeks to build upon those successes to further improve the health, wellbeing, and economic security of current and future beneficiaries.

For more information about the BENES 2.0 Act, please visit Medicare Rights’ blog.

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