Many seniors are concerned about the various stories regarding the ongoing border crisis and what it means for healthcare coverage, especially if they receive Medicare and/or Medicaid. There’s no denying the cuts that have already occurred sting, but it’s what the future holds that has so many holding their breath.
Already, the Obama Administration has dealt to the nation’s seniors a 14 percent Medicare reduction over the next three years. Those cuts began the in January 2014. It’s a big deal, even if the media isn’t necessarily reporting on it. To understand that, though, you have to consider what is in the news: the ongoing border crisis, the VA scandal, global fears about Russia and the Middle East – the list is endless. It’s important to not forget these important realities, even if they’re not in the media as much as other stories. The New York Times has referred to one of those crises as the “failing healthcare infrastructure for U.S. veterans”. Republicans are voicing their concerns about so many who are entering the country with little, if any, healthcare testing to ensure any communicable diseases aren’t going to threaten our collective national community.
Still, the question remains: what will Medicare and Medicaid look like in the coming months and years?
For some of those answers, we can turn to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which published its prospective payment system rule a few weeks ago:
Payments to home health agencies are estimated to decrease by approximately $58 million in calendar year 2015.
Many have been critical of the president’s healthcare laws, and specifically, his need to replace lost revenue to his healthcare program with those funds cut from Medicare. He insists it’s part of the reform.
Hundreds of thousands of seniors who require home health care services will feel those cuts first. Even as some states look for other solutions, including Oregon, where Rep. Greg Walden has already introduced a bill in the House that would prevent a direct hit to seniors, the reality is these wheels are in motion.
While all of this is worrisome, there are those who feel as though our senior population will take a direct hit if lawmakers aren’t careful with funding for the border crisis. Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens, said this week, “Over the last four years, the home health community has absorbed $22 billion in cuts, affecting a vulnerable demographic of old, poor and very sick Americans.” It didn’t take long for the media to connect these cuts to Medicare and Medicaid to the massive $3.7 billion package President Obama is requesting to provide medical attention to those illegally crossing the border.
Historically, once the dust settles, things won’t look quite as frantic as they do now. That said, our goal as estate planning lawyers is to ensure our clients have their needs met. If our team of legal advocates can help, we welcome the opportunity to do so. Contact our office today to learn more about Medicare and Medicaid coverage and other important estate planning and retirement planning questions that can affect you and your loved ones.