Mar 22, 2010

Health Care Bill Has Some Good News for Seniors

It's been over a year since the Health Care Reform Act debate began. Opinions have been loud and impassioned. Whether you're a supporter or critic (or both), it's undeniable that the Bill passed yesterday by the House contains some good news for seniors. The bill now goes to the Senate for reconciliation.

So what's the good news in the House reconciliation package?

First, there will be at least modest relief for many elderly people who need long-term nursing care. The bill calls for the creation of a new program called Community Living Assistance Services and Supports, or CLASS. Under the provisions of the program, participants would pay a modest monthly premium, estimated to be around $65. After contributing for a minimum of five years, a participant who needs long-term care services would be able to draw a modest sum out of the program, helping defray long-term care costs and hopefully, allowing seniors to stay in their homes longer.

Second, the bill would eventually close the infamous "Doughnut Hole," the gap in Medicare Part D coverage that occurs when seniors, having reached their annual spending limit, must pay out of pocket for the full cost of presecription drugs.

Another senior-friendly provisions of the House Reconciliation is the establishment of an Elder Justice Coordinating Council to be housed in the Department of Health and Human Services and in the Justice Department. This will provide federal resources to help combat elder abuse, which as readers of my blog will know is a serious and growing problem across the nation.

For details on the bill from the AARP, click here.

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