Protecting Medicaid’s Promise

With the start of the new Congress and new Administration, health care policy is on the front burner in Washington. The future is very uncertain, and the stakes are high. Health care touches all of us and affects nearly 20% of the U.S. economy. AARP is very focused on making sure any health care reforms protect older Americans and their families, particularly from rising costs that push many to the brink. We are especially concerned about plans for Medicaid, which …

New Uptick in Government Scams Post-Election

Donald Trump won’t be the only one to shake things up. With a new president in the White House, scammers have fresh and convincing opportunities to take aim. Some schemes related to Trump policy and promises that you should expect, especially in coming weeks: Grant scams. Whenever there’s a change in government leadership, there’s an increase in government aid scams. Reports to our Fraud Watch Network Helpline (877-908-3360 toll-free) have increased noticeably since the Nov. 8 election, says Amy Nofziger of AARP …

Addressing Disparities in Diabetes Prevalence Among Older Adults

Did you know? Diabetes rates are significantly higher among Americans age 65 and older than in any other age group. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of Americans 65 and older reported having diagnosed diabetes in 2015, according to a recent AARP Public Policy Institute analysis. Diabetes, a chronic condition in which the body is unable to produce or use insulin efficiently, leads to higher-than-normal blood sugar levels and is associated with higher risk for obesity and cardiovascular disease. Long-term complications …

Closing the ‘Doughnut Hole’ Has Protected Millions of Medicare Beneficiaries From High Drug Costs

Since 2006, Medicare beneficiaries have had access to outpatient prescription drug coverage through Medicare Part D. The standard benefit under Part D includes an annual deductible, an initial coverage period when enrollees pay 25 percent of their drug costs, and catastrophic coverage that limits enrollees’ spending to roughly 5 percent of their drug costs. One of the more striking characteristics of the Medicare Part D benefit is its “doughnut hole,” or coverage gap, where enrollees are required to pay the full …

The Ban on Preexisting Condition Exclusions Helps Older Adults

Most Americans get their health insurance through their employer or through government-sponsored programs like Medicare or Medicaid. People who do not have access to those forms of coverage — for instance, because they are between jobs or are self-employed — typically buy health insurance directly from private insurers on the individual market. Since 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has provided a critical protection for individuals who seek insurance in this market: It bans insurance companies from considering people’s health …

Stars for Hospital Quality, Help for Consumers

  There’s good news for consumers interested in taking more control of their health care. On Wednesday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released quality star ratings for U.S. hospitals, an online resource for consumers. With this release, consumers and family caregivers will have an easy-to-use, easy-to-understand tool to help them evaluate the quality of hospitals. The star rating provides a summary of a hospital’s performance on over 60 quality measures reported on CMS’ Hospital Compare website, in …