Today in Medicare

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For older Americans, the GOP health bills would be nothing short of devastating

BY PHILIP MOELLER: First, older Americans who have not yet reached the normal Medicare eligibility age of 65 would face sharply higher insurance rates on whatever is left of the Obamacare state insurance exchanges. Private health insurers would be able to charge them higher rates than at present. The subsidies now available for Obamacare policies would be sharply smaller for most people, and policy deductibles would be much, much higher.

Second, for the more than 55 million people now on Medicare, the Senate and House measures have less direct but nonetheless ominous impacts. These would be triggered by the repeal of Obamacare’s high-earner taxes on Medicare. Cutting these taxes plays to the Republican base, of course, but to do so at the same time as costs are being increased for lower-income Americans is tone deaf and has little economic rationale. The 400 richest families in the nation, it is estimated, would receive $2.8 billion a year from these tax cuts — an amount equal to the annual Obamacare premium subsidies for nearly 800,000 persons. (read more)

Air pollution is even deadlier than we thought, study on Medicare finds

BY LYDIA O’CONNOR: “In the entire Medicare population, there was significant evidence of adverse effects related to exposure to [fine particulate matter] and ozone at concentrations below current national standards,” the authors of the study wrote.

The pollutants are linked to a variety of deadly medical conditions, including lung diseases and heart attacks(read more)

Round two: Significant telehealth expansion re-proposed in bipartisan Senate bill

BY JDSUPRA: On May 3, 2017, the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies for Health Act of 2017 (S. 1016) (CONNECT Act of 2017) was reintroduced by the same six senators who had initially introduced the legislation in early 2016 and referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. As we previously reported on February 29, 2016, this iteration of the proposed bill also focuses on promoting cost savings and quality care under the Medicare program through the use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring (RPM) services, and incentivizing such digital health technologies by expanding coverage for them under the Medicare program—albeit using different terminology. (read more)

The new Medicare Plus Card saves you up to 75% on things not covered by Medicare

Medicare doesn’t cover everything. Luckily, those on Medicare can now start saving on out of pocket expenses like prescription drugs, dental, vision, hearing, and more. Over 1 million people have already received their free Medicare Plus Card.

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