BY WENDY CONNICK: The period starting three months before your 65th birthday, continuing throughout the month during which your birthday occurs, and ending three months after that, is your initial Medicare open-enrollment window. Miss that opportunity to enroll and you could end up paying for your tardiness in higher premiums. So before you even reach the open-enrollment period, it’s a good idea to know exactly what you’re going to do about the many important decisions involved in signing up for Medicare. (read more)
BY MARY R. GREALY: In the 11-plus years since the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit was implemented, at least two facts have remained inarguable. One is that the program has worked extremely well in making medications affordable and accessible for millions of Medicare beneficiaries, and the other is that there was, is, and will continue to be a political push to make people believe Part D is somehow lacking because the federal government doesn’t have a sufficiently heavy hand in it. (read more)
BY PHILLIP MOELLER: Medicare and Medicaid are the two safety-net programs we now have to provide the care we will need. Unless you’ve been living in an unwired biosphere, you might have noticed that these programs are the subject of many Republican proposals that would dramatically change them. The common theme of these proposals is a big cut in funding, and thus care, in comparison with current program rules and government spending commitments.
If you scratch the surface, you will not find much knowledge in many of these proposals about the realities of an aging population’s future health care needs.
But to be fair, Republicans are admitting one very compelling point that many Democrats have been politically hampered from acknowledging: As things presently stand, we cannot afford to pay for all the care that older Americans will need. Budgets at the federal and state levels will not be able to foot this health care bill, and Lord knows that nearly all of us can’t afford to pay for it out of our own pockets. (read more)