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Public Statements

Kerry Pushes To End Discrimination In Medicare

Press Release

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Kerry Pushes To End Discrimination In Medicare

Senator John Kerry (D - Mass.), a senior member of the Finance Committee, introduced legislation today that would end Medicare discrimination by giving all seniors equal access to health care. The “Equal Access to Medicare Options Act of 2009” would give disabled beneficiaries and those with end-stage renal disease the same choices under Medicare as everyone else. The bill would prevent Medigap insurers from discriminating against beneficiaries with disabilities and seniors with end-stage renal diseases.

Medigap plans provide vital assistance to Medicare beneficiaries in paying Medicare cost-sharing. Ensuring access to these policies would help all beneficiaries fill the “gaps” in original Medicare coverage to avoid massive out of pocket expenses.

“Health insurance reform provides our best opportunity in decades to ensure that all Americans—regardless of their health status—have access to affordable, high-quality health insurance options,” said Sen. Kerry. “Seniors should be able to focus fully on their care without the added stress of worrying about how to come up with the money to pay for it. These are important goals, and I look forward to working with the Finance Committee to include them in health reform.”

The Equal Access to Medicare Options Act would:

·extend guaranteed issue of Medigap policies to all Medicare beneficiaries rather than limiting it to those 65 years and older, significantly improving coverage options and affordability for beneficiaries with disabilities or end-stage renal disease;

·give guaranteed issue rights to Medicare Advantage enrollees if they decide to switch to traditional Medicare during an enrollment period;

·provide guaranteed issue to dual-eligibles, those who qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare, who lose their Medicaid coverage and find themselves in traditional Medicare without the cost protections of Medicaid and without supplemental coverage options; and

·for the first time, give beneficiaries with end-stage renal disease the option of enrolling in Medicare Advantage plans.

The Equal Access to Medicare Options Act of 2009 is endorsed by over 40 major health care advocacy groups, including the AARP, the Center for Medicare Advocacy, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, Consumers Union, and the Medicare Rights Center. The complete list of supporting organizations is attached.


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