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Medicare Advantage is changing –just in time for aging Baby Boomers

medicare advantage

Not-so-crazy question:  If a senior’s fall results in pain, a broken hip and thousands of dollars in medical bills, why shouldn’t Medicare pay hundreds to prevent the fall in the first place?

Each year more than 300,000 Americans age 65 and older suffer hip fractures, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ninety-five percent of those fractures were caused by falling.

Even with this data, Medicare will pay for the costs of surgery, hospitalization and rehab in a nursing home. But the Medicare won’t pay a few hundred dollars to install grab bars or for an in-home aide to help you in the shower.

This makes no sense to doctors, nurses, patients and even health policy experts. And it looks like common sense will prevail.

Starting next year, the New York Times reports, people enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans will have access to a new class of “supplemental” covered benefits.

What does that mean to you?

New health care coverage that includes:

  • Adult day care programs
  • Grab bars and wheel chair ramps
  • Transportation to medical appointments

“This will potentially help people to stay in their homes longer and not have to go to institutions,” Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told the New York Times.

Medicare Advantage plans, purchased through private insurers, offer another layer of coverage to standard Medicare. For example, Medicare Advantage may offer dental and eye coverage, depending upon the plan.

The proportion of Americans who opt for Medicare Advantage is growing, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Last year 33 percent of Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in Medicare Advantage. In 10 years, Kaiser estimates the figure will reach 42 percent.

What do you think? Are you covered by Medicare? What benefits would you like to have to enhance your ability to access affordable, quality health care? Share your ideas with Voices for Affordable Health.