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February 2016
Schlein
Washington Watch

Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand on Social Security and Medicare?

Both Republicans and Democrats count on seniors as reliable voting blocs in their primary nominations contests and seniors can be counted on to turn out for the November election.

January 2016
Schlein
Washington Watch

The Health Care Changes That Mean More Dollars out of Seniors’ Pockets

Another factor has been the historically low growth in the nation’s health care spending, which has meant stability for Medicare beneficiaries. Privately-insured working families have not had the same experience during the Obama years because employers have continued to keep passing on a bigger share of health care costs to their workers.

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Studies have shown that screening only slightly reduces the risk of death from prostate cancer, because most grow so slowly they effectively are harmless. Yet many men diagnosed with prostate cancer undergo surgery and radiation, which can have lifelong side effects.

December 2015
Schlein
Washington Watch

House Speaker Paul Ryan, Social Security and Medicare — Big Changes, Little Tweaks or...?

Unable to reach a “grand bargain” on the budget with President Obama, Boehner pushed through smaller limited changes to Medicare as part of a larger deal on government spending. Ryan is likely to try the same strategy. But he has clearly laid out a larger vision for changing Medicare and Social Security.

November 2015
Schlein
Washington Watch

Medicare Open Enrollment: Time to Re-evaluate Your Plan and Help Prevent Scams

The law is clear. Under Medicare’s rules, insurance agents are prohibited from knocking on doors, making cold calls or sending unsolicited emails. Many manage to work around that by handing out business cards to get us to call them or getting your information at health fairs and other events by offering incentives like lunches, prizes etc.

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Medicare will never call you and ask for your personal information – NEVER. Nor will Medicare email you or visit your home unannounced to collect data. For the record, the federal government has no plans to issue new Medicare cards and lost or stolen card can be replaced at www.ssa.gov or by calling 1-800-772-1213.

October 2015
Ambord
Dollar Sense

Ready to Make Your Medicare Choices During Medicare Open Enrollment?

If you drop Medicare to take a Qualified Health Plan, there’s no guarantee that plan will pay for your medical costs. In many cases, a Qualified Health Plan has the right to refuse to pay costs for someone eligible for Medicare, and that means you’ll be left with no coverage at all.

Schlein
Washington Watch

Good, Bad and Worse News about Medicare

The sharp increase might prompt some seniors to consider traditional Medicare too expensive and they could look to Medicare Advantage as a potential alternative. Medicare Advantage, which is managed care, offers lower costs but also restricts which providers they can use.

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Many seniors are still getting billed for their hospital stay because they are observation care patients, not inpatients.  Observation care hurts seniors in two ways: It keeps Medicare’s more comprehensive hospitalization coverage from kicking in, and it means they may not get Medicare’s limited nursing home benefit if they need care in a facility after being in a hospital.

September 2015
Schlein
Washington Watch

Dying at What Cost – And in Peace or in Pain?

“The patient will get cut open, perforated with tubes, hooked up to machines, and assaulted with drugs. All of this occurs in the Intensive Care Unit at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars a day. What it buys is misery we would not inflict on a terrorist,” Murray argued.

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But opening this up to the roughly 55 million Medicare beneficiaries could make such talks far more common and hopefully far more useful. About three-quarters of the people who die each year in the U.S. are 65 and older, making Medicare the largest insurer at the end of life, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

August 2015
Schlein
Washington Watch

Far Too Many Seniors Are Going Hungry: Only a Few Programs Are Stepping Up to the Empty Plate

About 30 percent of seniors who are food insecure have incomes between 100 and 200 percent of the poverty level. That means that many, if not most of these folks, are also struggling to eat on a regular basis but are not quite eligible for federal assistance.

July 2015
Ambord
Dollar Sense

You Might be Participating in Medicare Fraud

For some people, the pursuit of the American Dream has been replaced by the pursuit of the next way to steal. As noted earlier, Medicare scammers have prospered enough that some may be advertising to bring in new victims to inadvertently help with Medicare fraud. And their fraud is endangering the future of Medicare. 

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The rolling lab scam usually sets up in a senior center, a retirement home, a shopping mall, a health club, or other location, maybe even a church. They offer free or low cost tests which may be totally unnecessary and possibly fake.

Schlein
Washington Watch

Government’s Medical Billing Comes under Scrutiny

The alleged fraud, first revealed by whistle-blowers and recent news reports by the non-profit investigative reporting group, the Center for Public Integrity, documented how these private plans have added on billions of dollars in overcharges and other suspect billings based on inflated assessments of how sick patients are.

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