FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 13, 2015
2015 White House Conference on Aging Announces Enhanced Support for People New to Medicare
–Interagency Initiatives Underway to Improve Medicare Education and Notice–
Washington, DC—Today, at the 2015 White House Conference on Aging, the Administration announced an interagency effort to improve notice and education for seniors and people with disabilities new to the Medicare program. Working together, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Social Security Administration are collaborating to strengthen educational content and notice for people newly eligible for Medicare.
Joe Baker, President of the Medicare Rights Center, said, “Today’s announcement represents a major step forward in supporting the 10,000 Baby Boomers aging into Medicare each day. All too often, older adults and people with disabilities are unaware or misinformed about complex enrollment rules and timelines. Honest mistakes can result in lifetime premium penalties, gaps in health coverage, higher health care costs, and delayed access to needed health care.”
Heeding calls to action from leading consumer advocates and health care leaders on Capitol Hill, the White House unveiled an updated annual Social Security statement that will now prominently feature content on Medicare enrollment. Also announced were critical updates to agency websites, 1-800-MEDICARE call scripts, beneficiary notices, and more. Importantly, the White House committed to creating new tools for employers. Employers are often on the front line of these issues, shouldering the responsibility of communicating Medicare enrollment rules to their employees and retirees.
Baker continued, “With enrollment missteps becoming increasingly common, we applaud the White House for stepping in front of this important issue. These improvements to existing resources are sorely needed, but information gaps remain. No federal agency is responsible for providing a notice about the need to enroll in Medicare to those not automatically enrolled. As a next step, we encourage the Administration to develop a new and specific notice about enrollment rules and policies for all people approaching Medicare eligibility.”
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Providing a federal notice to all people approaching Medicare eligibility is wish #8 in our campaign counting down to Medicare’s 50th anniversary with one wish a day for Medicare’s future. Follow along at www.medicarerights.org/50wishes and #50Medicarewishes.
Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs, and public policy initiatives.
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