Congress Approves Bill Bolstering Medicare Patients’ Hospital Rights

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation Monday night requiring hospitals across the nation to tell Medicare patients when they receive observation care but have not been admitted to the hospital. It’s a distinction that’s easy to miss until patients are hit with big medical bills after a short stay. The vote follows overwhelming approval in the U. S. House of Representatives in March. The legislation is expected to be signed into law by President Barack Obama, said its House sponsor, …

Celebrating Medicare: Strengthening the Program for the Next 50 Years

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicare program into law. Today, we celebrate 50 years of Medicare providing affordable, guaranteed health care to millions of Americans — but we also look toward its future. We must recommit ourselves to keeping this vital lifeline strong for current and future generations. It’s easy to forget what life was like for older Americans before Medicare was enacted. Back in 1965, only about 1 in 4 Americans over age 65 …

2016 Social Security COLA? Don’t Bet on It

Nearly 60 million Social Security recipients will probably not get a cost-of-living increase next year, according to projections in the 2015 Social Security and Medicare trustees reports. This would be the third time Social Security beneficiaries have gone without a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) since 1975, when automatic raises were put into place. The COLA this year was 1.7 percent, making the average monthly check for retired workers $1,334 as of May. Increases in benefits are tied to the third-quarter average …

El invaluable valor de los cuidadores familiares

La labor de asistencia que cumplen los cuidadores familiares en EE.UU. representa un asombroso valor anual, no remunerado, de $470 mil millones, según un nuevo estudio de AARP Public Policy Institute. Gráfico: Cómo valuar lo invaluable, el precio del cuidado familiar. El informe, titulado ‘Valuing the Invaluable: 2015 Update’ (Valorar lo invaluable, Actualización del 2015 – en inglés), revela además que los cuidadores familiares en EE.UU. ofrecieron 37.000 millones de horas de atención a sus padres, cónyuges, parejas y otros …

What Every Caregiver Needs to Know About Medicare

As Medicare celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, I’m grateful it has been there to help my grandparents, parents and sister. We couldn’t have coped without it. Even so, Medicare can be complicated for a caregiver to understand and manage. Other caregivers often tell me their biggest challenge in managing a loved one’s finances is dealing with health insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid. For example, when my parents’ primary care doctor of more than 20 years decided not to accept their …

Take Advantage of Medicare’s Free Preventive Services

Being able to treat a medical problem is good, but dodging the problem altogether is even better. That seems obvious, yet Medicare has only recently expanded coverage for services that help prevent or stave off some of the diseases that make people very ill and — not coincidentally — cost Medicare mountains of money. Many of these preventive tests, screenings and counseling sessions are now available for free, with no copays or deductibles, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. More …