Health care is full of confusing jargon. It includes terms like fee-for-service, accountable care organization, dual eligibles, and bundled payments—to name only a few.
Medicare has been slow to adopt telehealth services such as videoconferencing with a physician, remote patient monitoring, or the sharing of digital medical images with a specialist located miles away. But that’s about to change for some 20 million Medicare beneficiaries who are enrolled in the program’s private plans, known as Medicare Advantage (MA) plans.
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.
July is Social Isolation Month at AARP. This month, we are calling attention to the millions of older adults across the nation who lack meaningful social contacts with family members, friends or neighbors. Why the focus on isolation? Because social isolation is associated with bad health consequences: For example, socially isolated older adults are more likely to have heart disease, infections, depression, and premature cognitive decline. What’s more, it significantly increases the risk of death among older adults. In fact, one study has likened the detrimental health effects of isolation to those associated with smoking up to 15 cigarettes every day.
Elizabeth “Izzy” Barnett, 80, is a full-time caregiver for her husband, Bob, who has dementia. They have no children or family to help and Izzy has lost contact with friends because she is busy taking care of Bob. Izzy’s is not alone in this situation. Millions of older adults are socially isolated—in other words, they lack meaningful relationships with family and friends. Life circumstances—losing a spouse, friends, and loved ones, or retirement—put older adults at increased risk for isolation.
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.  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 of all ages.
The revised American Health Care Act (AHCA) threatens to do away with the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) protections for people with preexisting health conditions. These protections prevent insurance companies from denying these individuals coverage or charging them higher rates based on their health.
The recently enacted 21st Century Cures Act will mean welcome changes to electronic health records (EHRs) as we know them. In short, the EHR piece of the Cures Act is good news for consumers. Here’s why.
Search AARP Blogs