Today’s Hot Topics in Medicare News


Cuts in Social Security and Medicare are inevitable. Delaying reform will make it worse.

BY DAVID SCHOENBROD and BRIAN RIEDL: The debate about the presidency of the President Donald Trump distracts us from other important issues. One such issue on August 14, which marked the 83rd birthday of Social Security, is whether its record of paying full benefits will make it to the 100th birthday. When the first Gen Xers retire in the 2030s, they may well be the first  generation to get fleeced.

The Social Security trust fund is currently in deficit yet will receive enough general revenue transfers (financed annually by your taxes) to pay full benefits until 2034. Medicare’s trust fund will go belly up in 2026. (read more)

Medicare Enrollment Periods And Deadlines: When Should You Sign Up?

BY JUSTIN ADSIT: Timing is everything, and that’s especially true when it comes to enrolling in Medicare. Anyone nearing Medicare eligibility should be aware of the enrollment periods and deadlines and be prepared to sign up for the coverage of their choice.

Initial Enrollment Period

Your entranceway to Medicare begins with the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). This is a seven-month period that begins three months before you turn 65 years old, includes the month you turn 65 and continues for another three months thereafter. If your birthday is in July, for example, your IEP will begin April 1 (three calendar months before your birthday month) and end on October 31 (three calendar months after your birthday month). (read more)

OPINION: Medicare for all’s time has come

BY BERNIE SANDERS: Let’s be clear. The American people are increasingly tired of a health care system that works for Wall Street investors, insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry — but ignores their needs. They want real change, and poll after poll shows that they want to move toward a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system. And for good reason.

Today, the United States has the most expensive, inefficient, and bureaucratic health care system in the world. Despite the fact that we are the only major country on earth not to guarantee health care for all — and have 30 million uninsured and even more who are underinsured — we now spend more than twice as much per capita on health care as the average developed country. (read more)

Google Bets $375M On Medicare Advantage With Oscar Health Stake

BY BRUCE JAPSEN: News from Oscar Health that Google-parent Alphabet plans to invest $375 million into the health insurer is the latest big bet on the privatization of Medicare.

Oscar said Alphabet plans to invest $375 million into Oscar Health, which will use the money to jump into Medicare Advantage , an increasingly popular form of health insurance seniors are flocking to and policy-makers are easing regulations to expand.

“Oscar will accelerate the pursuit of its mission: to make our health care system work for consumers,” Oscar Health CEO and co-founder Mario Schlosser said Tuesday morning in a statement. Oscar’s other co-founder is Josh Kushner, brother of Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. (read more)

Is Medicare’s latest change a step too far?

BY PAUL SISSON: Though its name sounds like a trendy workout craze, Medicare’s new “step therapy” policy has nothing to do with getting people in their 60s to move their feet.

Sometimes called “fail first,” step therapy is the term used when a health insurance company forces doctors to prescribe the cheapest medication first, providing access to more expensive alternatives only if the first option doesn’t get results. (read more)

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