Lynda Flowers is an AARP Public Policy Institute expert on Medicaid, health disparities and prevention/public health.

It’s a Shame: Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries Continue to Be Plagued With Balance Billing

Federal law prohibits traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage providers and suppliers from billing people who are qualified Medicare beneficiaries (QMBs) for Medicare deductibles, coinsurance and copayments — a practice known as balance billing. Qualified Medicare beneficiaries (QMBs) are people with Medicare who have incomes at or below 100 percent of the federal poverty level — or a higher level set by their state — and very few resources. In spite of the prohibition, many QMBs are receiving and, out of …

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Financial Access to Dental Care among Medicare Beneficiaries: Something to Chew On

Good oral health is a vital part of general health and overall well-being. However, it requires the regular use of dental services. Yet many older adults are unable to afford the care they need to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Moreover, there are significant disparities in financial access to dental services among older adults. In 2014, twice as many older adults of color were unable to afford dental care in the past 12 months than their white counterparts (Chart). Multiple …

Health Reform 2.0: Improving Health Literacy of Older Americans

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) increases access to health insurance coverage, establishes a minimum benefit package, makes coverage more affordable, and eliminates most cost sharing for recommended preventive services. Now it’s time to empower consumers to take advantage of these improvements. One way to achieve this goal is to increase basic health literacy. What is health literacy? Health literacy is the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services in order to make appropriate health decisions. Why …

Keep Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries From Falling Through the Cracks

The Affordable Care Act allows states to offer Medicaid to low-income adults who would not have qualified under previous law. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia offer this expanded coverage. Those who qualify will face higher cost-sharing requirements when they transition from Medicaid expansion coverage to Medicare, but some may be eligible for traditional Medicaid benefits or Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) that will help reduce their costs. >> Get your questions about the health law answered here. Medicare beneficiaries …

La importancia de servir en otros idiomas en los centros de cuidado a largo plazo

En inglés | La Oficina del Censo de EE. UU. calcula que 55.4 millones de personas en Estados Unidos hablan un idioma diferente al inglés cuando están en el hogar. Además del español, un número cada vez mayor de personas en EE. UU. habla portugués, ruso, hindi, chino, vietnamita, tagalo, árabe y otros idiomas. Esto representa un salto del 140% desde 1980. La Oficina del Censo también predice que Estados Unidos continuará siendo una nación con diversidad lingí¼í­stica y el …

The Importance of Language Access in Community-Based Long-Term Care Settings

En español | The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 55.4 million Americans speak a language other than English when they are at home. In addition to Spanish, growing numbers of Americans speak Portuguese, Russian, Hindi, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Arabic and other languages. This represents a 140 percent jump since 1980. The Census Bureau also predicts that the United States will continue to be a linguistically diverse nation and home to large numbers of people with limited English proficiency (LEP). This …