Post Content

Hartstein By Secretary of Elder Affairs Ann L. Hartstein

Over the last five months, I’ve been traveling the Commonwealth with Christie Hager, regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help explain how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – known to most as federal health care reform — will impact Medicare beneficiaries. We’ve been hosting forums for seniors across Massachusetts to dispel common misconceptions about the new federal health care reform law and educate people about Medicare fraud, abuse and exploitation.  We’ve already traveled to Norwood, Burlington, Chicopee, New Bedford and Boston, with more to come.  These forums reflect the Executive Office of Elder Affairs’ mission to ensure that Massachusetts seniors are well-informed consumers.  

People are worried about changes in their Medicare coverage.  They hear descriptions of what federal health care reform means for them, which are sometimes sensational and often inaccurate.  Seniors benefit from reform in some very significant ways. Since President Obama signed the ACA into law in March 2010, seniors with high prescription drug expenses have received a one-time $250 rebate check from the federal government.  This year, they will be able to go to their health care provider for a free wellness check-up and screenings for a variety of conditions, including breast and colon cancers.  Over the next three years, additional changes will offer more patient-centered care, with payments to doctors and hospitals based on outcomes.

In addition to our discussion about the ACA, we describe some of the ways scam artists target seniors and how best to avoid Medicare fraud and abuse.  Along the way, we’ve had a number of people tell us about the kinds of scams they have encountered since the Act became law.  For example, people have reported getting telephone calls from “the Medicare office” asking for personal financial information.  We assure them that Medicare does not call its beneficiaries.   Educating people about what’s legitimate and what is a scam is just as important as telling them about programs and services available to them.  Sharing stories about the kinds of scams and abuse help people to recognize them if they become a target of unscrupulous people. 

As part of my office’s efforts to ensure that seniors are well-informed consumers, I’m delighted to host these forums along with Regional Administrator Hager and hope that Massachusetts seniors continue to join the discussion and share their stories.

I invite you to visit the elder affairs website for more information about upcoming forums about the ACA and its impact on seniors.

 # # #

Written By:

Recent Posts

ABCD Honors Foster Grandparents posted on Jul 3

ABCD Honors Foster Grandparents

On June 12th, two bus-loads of excited seniors – aged 55 to 91 – rolled into Dorchester to mark 50 years of the Action for Boston Community Development Inc.’s (ABCD’s) Foster Grandparents Program. More than 170 seniors from all over Boston, speaking English, Spanish, Chinese,   …Continue Reading ABCD Honors Foster Grandparents

Building Careers, Building Lives: 2015 Annual Consumer Conference posted on Jun 19

Building Careers, Building Lives: 2015 Annual Consumer Conference

“Building Careers, Building Lives” was this year’s theme for the 34th Annual Consumer Conference attended by more than 400 people this week. The conference was organized by three state commissions – Mass. Rehabilitation Commission (MRC), Mass. Commission for the Blind (MCB), Mass. Commission for the   …Continue Reading Building Careers, Building Lives: 2015 Annual Consumer Conference

Veterans – Get a Beautiful Smile for FREE! posted on Jun 15

Veterans – Get a Beautiful Smile for FREE!

On Saturday, June 27, Aspen Dental teams will be providing an opportunity for veterans to receive free dental care. This will be one of the largest single-day dental health initiatives for veterans ever. During the appointments, dental teams will be focusing on the most urgent   …Continue Reading Veterans – Get a Beautiful Smile for FREE!