Arkansas Work Requirement Leaves Thousands Without Health Insurance Coverage

Earlier this year, Arkansas became the first state to implement a  policy that—with some exemptions, including for people age 50 and older—requires adult Medicaid enrollees to work 80 hours every month at the state’s minimum wage. The policy has serious implementation problems, and is quickly ncreasing the number of uninsured in the state. In Compliance or Not—That is the Question Much of the issue stems around exemptions, compliance, and reporting requirements. In addition to working 80 hours every month, enrollees …

Hearing Aid Prices are Coming Down: Is Now the Time to Consider Getting One?

When my parents got into their 80s, sometimes I thought they were arguing because they were shouting. Then I realized they were just having trouble hearing each other. Unfortunately, this went on for some time because they did not have hearing aids. They said hearing aids were too expensive. Expense may soon become less of an issue for would-be purchasers. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first hearing aid for sale over-the-counter (OTC). Allowing OTC sales of …

‘Short-Term’ Health Plans No Longer Short-Term

On August 1, the Trump Administration released a final rule that will allow insurance companies to offer cheaper “short-term limited duration” health plans for longer periods of time. Short-term plans are cheap for a reason. The plans don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), meaning they aren’t required to cover essential benefits and protect people with preexisting conditions, and they don’t have to adhere to community rating standards. Thus, while short-term plans have been available for years and may …

Social Isolation: Detrimental to Older Adults’ Health and Costly to Medicare

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, …

No, Medicare is Not Going Broke: Understanding the 2018 Medicare Trustees Report

The June 5 release of the Medicare Trustees Report has triggered alarm bell-style media headlines. Dozens of news reports about Medicare’s worsening financial outlook have painted a bleak picture—some bleaker than others, with one boldface headline announcing, “Medicare will go broke three years earlier than expected.” The “go broke” headline was referring to the report’s projection that the trust fund that pays for hospital services, called the Hospital Insurance (or Part A) trust fund, will be depleted in 2026, three …

Even Higher Income-Related Premiums are Bad for Beneficiaries, and Bad for Medicare

The Medicare program requires higher-income individuals to contribute more toward the cost of the program than the general population. When enrolled in Medicare, people with incomes of $85,000 (or $170,000 for couples) pay higher premiums for Medicare Part B (doctors’, other health care professionals’, and outpatient services) and Part D (prescription drugs) coverage, including if they have a Medicare Advantage plan. Over time, the proportion of people with Medicare who pay higher premiums for Medicare Part B and Part D …