Today in Medicare

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AARP calls on lawmakers to reject ‘harmful’ Senate healthcare bill

BY OLIVIA BEAVERS: The AARP on Thursday slammed the Senate GOP healthcare draft bill, calling efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare “harmful” and denouncing what it calls an “Age Tax” affecting the nation’s senior citizens.

The lobbying group for seniors accused Senate GOP leaders of crafting legislation in “secrecy” that “would hit millions of Americans with higher costs and result in less coverage for them.” (read more)

Column: Big Social Security COLA will be offset by Medicare premiums

BY MARK MILLER: Retirees can look forward to the largest Social Security cost-of-living adjustment next year since 2012 – but don’t break out the champagne just yet. For many, higher Medicare premiums will take a big bite out of their raise.

The 2018 Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will not be announced until October, but inflation trends point toward an increase of about 2 percent, according to a recent forecast by the Senior Citizens League. That would be a welcome change compared with the 0.3 percent bump in 2017, and 2016 when no COLA was made. (read more)

In defense of Medicare’s annual wellness exam

BY MARA SCHONBERG: In my work as a primary care physician, time is a precious commodity. I rarely have enough of it in office visits with my patients. That’s one reason I’m all in favor of Medicare’s free annual wellness visits, though I know that other physicians feel differently about them.

The Medicare annual wellness exam gives me time to discuss and individualize the benefits and risks of screening for breast, colon, prostate, and lung cancer based on the patient’s risk, life expectancy, and preferences. The visit also gives me time to provide individualized recommendations about the use of aspirin and statin medications for primary prevention of heart disease. Without the annual wellness visit, I would have limited opportunity to engage my older patients in these preference-based decisions.

To be sure, Medicare’s free annual wellness visits should be evaluated in order to learn which parts of them work and which don’t. That way we can improve these visits and design systems to support them. Equally important, we should find ways to increase awareness about them among patients and physicians so more older adults have a chance to experience these visits and receive the best care possible. (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.

Get your Free Card Here

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