For Older Americans, Some Positive Health News

New York Times: For Older Americans, Some Positive Health News (February 28, 2022)

The Covid pandemic has presented older Americans with plenty of grim news, from staffing shortages in long-term care and hospices to the punishing effects of loneliness and isolation. But there have been encouraging developments too — the kind of incremental progress that can take years to achieve, as lawsuits wend their way through courts, bills die in state legislatures and rise again, and the pandemic complicates everything.

The results are not always dramatic, but they can improve lives and health for older people, especially those with low income. Here are three.

1). A new right to appeal Medicare for being reclassified as under “Observation Status”: “You can appeal just about every issue regarding your Medicare coverage, but not that one,” said Alice Bers, litigation director at the Center for Medicare Advocacy.

2). California Eases Medicaid Qualifications: “It makes people live in very deep poverty,” unable to save for emergencies or even modest expenditures, said Amber Christ, director of health care policy and advocacy for Justice in Aging. “If you go over the limit by a dollar, you lose eligibility.”

3). Social Security Offices to Reopen: “There are things that have to be done in person for Social Security,” said Kate Lang, senior staff attorney at Justice in Aging. You can apply online for retirement benefits but not for survivors’ benefits or for Supplemental Security Income, or S.S.I., which helps support seniors with very low income.

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