Boswell Briefing: Medicare Open Enrollment and COLA
Last week the Social Security Administration announced beneficiaries will receive a cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) starting in January 2012. This comes as some small relief for our seniors and disabled who depend on this assistance.
Those who benefit from these programs have gone without such an increase in their benefits for two years. Despite our efforts to provide this vital coverage, Republicans have blocked our every attempt. Instead, they're focused on dismantling Social Security and other vital programs like Medicare; turning it over to private insurance companies that would more than double their out-of-pocket medical costs.
Our seniors shouldn't have to worry about these benefits. They've had to do more with less for far too long. That is why I support a balanced budget that keeps Medicare intact.
Medicare open enrollment began October 15 so seniors and caregivers are currently making very important decisions on health care options. The open enrollment period started earlier than in years past and the period was also extended to seven weeks to give beneficiaries more time to select their plans. The deadline for enrolling is December 7.
I supported the Affordable Care Act which is now beingimplemented to strengthen the program and ease restrictions on the various options seniors will have.
For instance, seniors who have a gap in their Medicare Part D coverage are now receiving a 50% discount on brand-name drugs. They also receive free key preventative health services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies. In addition, the Act strengthened Medicare -- adding eight years to the program's solvency.
I encourage seniors and others who plan to enroll this year to visit the newly-updated Medicare Plan Finder website to learn more about their options. Visit https://www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan/. They may also call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for information on coverage options.
Constituents are always welcome to contact my office toll-free at (888) 432-1984 for assistance with their Medicare questions.
Leonard L. Boswell
Member of Congress