2015 White House Conference on Aging Comment Letter

Dear Ms. Super:

On behalf of the Medicare Rights Center (Medicare Rights), I am writing to respond to the policy briefs released as part of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging (2015 WHCOA). We applaud your efforts to provide analysis and to seek input on four topic areas critical to the health and well-being of older Americans, including healthy aging, long-term services and supports, elder justice, and retirement security.

For over 25 years, Medicare Rights has provided individualized counseling to Medicare beneficiaries and their families, developed unbiased, informative educational content on Medicare, and advocated for needed policy change on behalf of older adults and people with disabilities. Our team of professional staff and volunteers has firsthand, on-the-ground experience helping seniors and people with disabilities navigate the Medicare program.

As the primary source of health coverage for older adults, Medicare plays an important role in each of the conference themes. In this historic 50th anniversary year for Medicare, we urge the White House to both celebrate this program’s undeniable successes and to advance solutions to modernize and strengthen Medicare. We are eager to assist your efforts on both fronts, and we urge you to take bold steps to improve access, generate knowledge, and advance the health of people with Medicare.

Each of the 2015 WHCOA policy briefs ends with a series of important questions about how to better support older adults, future retirees, and their families. Through this comment process, we understand that you are soliciting input on executive and regulatory policy recommendations to advance through the 2015 WHCOA. Below we recommend several initiatives, including enhanced notice for people approaching Medicare eligibility, swift implementation of improvements to appeals processes, improved decision-making support for people with Medicare, and expanded coverage for skilled nursing facility and non-routine dental care.

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