Northwest Iowa — Medicare and Medicaid turned 50 this year. The landscape of health care in America changed forever on July 30, 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the landmark amendment to the Social Security Act, giving life to the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Elderbridge Area Agency On Aging Community Outreach Coordinator Doug Merbach tells us about the circumstances at that time that were the impetus for the programs.
He says before that time, many disabled people, families with children, pregnant women and low-income working Americans were unable to afford the medical care they needed to stay healthy and productive.
Medicare experts say that more than 55 million Americans depend on Medicare to cover hospital stays, lab tests and critical supplies like wheelchairs, as well as prescription drugs.
Medicaid provides comprehensive coverage to more than 70 million eligible children, pregnant women, low-income adults and people living with disabilities. It covers essential services like annual check-ups, care for new and expecting mothers, and dental care for kids from low-income families.
Merbach says the programs aren’t perfect, and still could use tweaking.
There’s $600 billion billed in Medicare claims each year, says Merbach, and they estimate that three to ten percent of that is fraud.
He says Elderbridge has a program called Senior Medicare Patrol.
He says there is a movement at the federal level to get those Social Security numbers off of Medicare cards.
Merbach says you have a couple of opportunities to learn more about Medicare and Medicaid fraud and how to protect yourself at a couple of upcoming events.
A “Medicare Madness” presentation is coming up in Hull on September 2nd at the Hull First Reformed Church. It’s to start at 5:30 PM.
Also, Elderbridge will have a booth at the Clay County Fair, and a presentation is planned there too. It will be Tuesday, September 15, 2015 from 4:00 to 5:00 PM at the Clay County Fair 4-H Auditorium. It’s a two-part presentation.
Thomasina Hegg, Information, Referral, and Assistance (IR&A) Specialist will do a presentation titled “LifeLong Links…No Wrong Door” and then Merbach, will do a presentation on Senior Medicare Patrol called “Protect, Detect, Report….You can stop Medicare Fraud”.
For more information, you can contact Merbach at 641-424-0678 Ext. 7079, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.