Supplemental Benefits in Medicare Advantage: What’s Changing in 2019 and What’s Not

Medicare Advantage (MA)—Medicare’s private plan option that now covers a third of all Medicare beneficiaries—has long offered extra benefits in addition to those covered by traditional Medicare. Known as supplemental benefits, these services have commonly included dental, vision, and hearing coverage. Now MA plans have new flexibility to offer more supplemental benefits in the coming years—a consequence of new rules and a recent law. The result? People shopping for Medicare coverage could see offers for a wider range of supplemental …

Court Challenge to Health Care Law a Major Threat for Older Adults and People with Preexisting Health Conditions

Efforts to repeal the new health law continue. A new threat has emerged in the form of a court challenge, Texas v. United States, asserting the law is unconstitutional and should be struck down. With support from a recent brief filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ), this challenge pierces the heart of the law’s core protections that were put in place to ensure older adults and people with preexisting conditions have access to comprehensive and affordable health care. The …

Warning: Short-Term Health Plans = Higher Premiums for Older Adults

You might have thought that efforts to unravel the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were over, but newly proposed regulations and legislation are once again threatening to have similar harmful effects for older adults ages 50-64 who rely on individual market coverage. On February 21, 2018, the Trump Administration proposed new federal rules calling for significant expansion of a category of insurance products known as “short-term limited duration” insurance plans. More recently, Congress is considering legislation that would block states, who …

Health Provision in New Tax Bill: Higher Premiums and Loss of Health Coverage for Older Adults

Thought the debate over the health law was over? Not quite. Yes, Congress has shifted its focus from health care to tax reform over the past couple months. But health care faces new threats under the latest proposed tax legislation. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as reported by the Senate Finance Committee on Nov. 16, 2017 includes a new provision that would both reduce health care coverage and increase costs for millions of Americans. Older adults ages 50-64 would …

Ending Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments Will Hurt Older Adults

Federal subsidies, known as cost-sharing reductions (CSRs), have been critical to ensuring that over 2 million lower-income adults ages 50 to 64 who purchase coverage through health insurance Marketplaces can afford health care.[1] Despite the subsidies’ crucial role, the Administration announced yesterday that it will terminate payments for CSRs. The announcement—which comes less than 3 weeks before millions of Americans who buy insurance on the individual market start shopping for 2018 health coverage— is bad news for older adults and people …

MacArthur Amendment to AHCA Would Mean Higher Premiums for Age and Preexisting Conditions

We already know that health insurance legislation known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is a bad deal for older Americans ages 50-64. For people who purchase coverage on their own in the individual (nongroup) market and are not yet eligible for Medicare, the bill would significantly increase premiums for all older adults and spike costs dramatically for lower- and moderate-income older adults. Now a bad bill just got worse. The House is considering a new amendment introduced by …