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

ORI Mary Truong featured among Boston’s Most Influential Minority Leaders posted on Apr 29

ORI Mary Truong featured among Boston’s Most Influential Minority Leaders

Mary Truong, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Office of Refugees and Immigrants (ORI), was among a list of a dozen of Boston’s most influential minority leaders who were chosen for the Get Konnected! Founder’s Choice Award which recognizes citizen activists. Get Konnected!, started by African   …Continue Reading ORI Mary Truong featured among Boston’s Most Influential Minority Leaders

EHS Celebrates April with First Autism Commission Executive Director posted on Apr 7

EHS Celebrates April with First Autism Commission Executive Director

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) is honored to kick off April as Autism Awareness month with the swearing in of Carolyn J. Kain as the Commonwealth’s first Executive Director of the Autism Commission by Governor Charles D.  Baker. “Carolyn brings both   …Continue Reading EHS Celebrates April with First Autism Commission Executive Director

EOEA Welcomes Two Talented Leaders posted on Apr 6

EOEA Welcomes Two Talented Leaders

Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) Secretary Alice Bonner recently appointed Emily Cooper as the Chief Housing Officer and Patricia Yu as the Director of Policy and Research. “I’m thrilled to welcome these two talented experts in aging programs and policy to our Elder Affairs leadership   …Continue Reading EOEA Welcomes Two Talented Leaders