Strengthening Health Care Security for Seniors

A key principle of the President's health reform legislation is to help ensure that American seniors have the dignified care they deserve. That's why some of the immediate benefits of health reform include free preventive care for Medicare and a temporary re-insurance program to offset the costs of expensive premiums for early retirees, age 55-64.

Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, explained these benefits and more to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) community in a blog post today, where she also lays out the details of her next online chat at 1:00 tomorrow:

One of our most important missions at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) when it comes to implementing the Affordable Care Act is to be a resource for you. That’s why we’re doing weekly live web chats on our website and posting answers to our most frequently asked questions every day.

I encourage you to join our online Q&A on Thursday, April 22, when health experts from HHS will join AARP President Jennie Chin Hansen to answer your questions about what reform means for you and your family.

You can send us your questions to Healthreform@hhs.gov, and tune in Thursday at 1 p.m. ET at www.hhs.gov/live to watch it live. You can also send us your questions live during the chat via Twitter to @HHSGov.

We’re glad Jennie could join us because some of the biggest benefits from this new law will be for older Americans. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been talking a lot about the immediate benefits that will kick in this year for seniors, including a new Early Retiree Reinsurance program (pdf) starting in June that will help many older Americans keep their health insurance when they retire.

Another important benefit that kicks in this year provides relief for seniors who have fallen into the Medicare Part D prescription drug “doughnut hole.”

Starting June 15, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will begin mailing out checks to those who fall into the coverage gap.

The new law also protects and strengthens Medicare by helping to eliminate waste and fraud and ending overpayments to private insurance companies.

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