February 16th, 2016

Senate Reveals Bipartisan Proposal for Medicare Changes

The Senate Finance Committee is working on bipartisan legislation to improve the method Medicare uses to cover chronic conditions including improvement of care and bringing about healthier outcomes at lower cost. Chronic conditions include diseases like diabetes, osteoporosis, hypertension (high blood pressure) and Alzheimer’s. Especially in an election year, proposed improvements to programs created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may seem fruitless, but Senators on the committee feel this bipartisan action is important.

The proposal includes reforming Medicare’s payment system to recognize and reward providers for their quality of service rather than the quantity of services provided. The committee is also looking at possibly expanding the ACA’s “Independence at Home” project. This program pools together doctors into groups to coordinate home-based care with the intention of lowering costs and improving quality of care. Another idea seeks to improve ObamaCare’s Accountable Care Organizations, another program that groups together doctors in an effort to improve care under Medicare. It has also been discussed by the committee of encouraging “telehealth” as an option for doctors and Medicare patients to communicate via technology which could include telephone, live video, and mobile device.

Medicare is a government-run health insurance program for individuals over the age of 65. If you are currently a Medicare patient or are looking to be one in the near future, it is important to understand your and/or your loved one’s long-term care options and how it could impact your end-of-life planning.

Attorney Thomas A. Capehart provides estate planning and elder law services to families in the Lehigh Valley.