Medicare Not Helping the Poor
Walls in the Medicare system have blocked more than 3 million low income seniors from enrolling in the benefits system. Experts testified Wednesday before a panel that several hurdles in the system need to be removed in order to allow easier access to low income seniors.
According to Insurance News Net, “more than 400,000 seniors who automatically qualified for Medicare Part D's low-income subsidy in 2006 have been dis-enrolled and have yet to reapply, though they may still be eligible.”
“You can have a great program ... but unless (we reach) those who don't know about these programs, we're making a big mistake,” said Sen. Robert Casey.
Recently, much of the debate focus of Medicare has been diverted by the argument that Medicare should be allowed to negotiate its prices with the large drug companies. This has left out the fact that low income seniors are falling through coverage gaps and being left behind by Medicare without coverage.
The new changes that are being proposed would allow seniors that at or below a 150% percent of the poverty line to receive coverage for almost no out of pocket cost for seniors and would cover through the current gap in coverage known as the “Doughnut Hole”.
Changes also need to be made on the application process. According to the article, “The benefit is so complex and arcane that it has overwhelmed the system ... created to implement the program.”
Simplification of the application process and along with a re-tooling of the current Medicare system to help the poor, under covered elderly, would be a good step in the right direction for our current system.
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