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.
# # #
HHS Secretary Polanowicz Promotes Infant Safe Sleep at the Cambridge Health Alliance Hospital posted on Nov 19
Health and Human Services Secretary Polanowicz tours the Cambridge Health Alliance Hospital Maternity Suite to promote infant safe sleep practices to reduce risks associated with Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), the leading cause of death among infants between the ages of one to 11 months and often …Continue Reading HHS Secretary Polanowicz Promotes Infant Safe Sleep at the Cambridge Health Alliance Hospital
MRC Celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) posted on Nov 13
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) was proud to participate in the successful campaign for October National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). During the month long celebration, MRC organized and participated in a variety of events including exhibitions at local outreach and network events, career fairs, a consumer-led art …Continue Reading MRC Celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)
Celebrate Veterans Day 2014 posted on Nov 11
The time has come again to thank our Nations’ Veterans for their service and sacrifices for our nation. The Department of Veterans’ Services and Secretary Coleman Nee are hosting the Annual Veterans’ Day ceremony tomorrow in Memorial Hall of the State House. The ceremony, which …Continue Reading Celebrate Veterans Day 2014