Protecting Seniors’ Health Care
Some positive changes are coming for Nevada seniors enrolled in Medicare. Nevada enrollees will receive their new Medicare cards in the mail in June. These updated cards will help protect seniors against scams by replacing the enrollee’s Social Security number with a personalized and encrypted 11 digit number. This update will help protect thousands of seniors in Nevada from dangerous scammers, but more must be done to protect the program from dangers in Washington.
In my conversations with patients and providers in the Truckee Meadows, and around the state, I consistently hear about the importance of protecting both Medicare and Medicaid. I’ve seen firsthand the lifeline these programs provide to Nevada’s seniors like my grandmother, who worked as a sales clerk in Las Vegas to provide for her family and had Medicare and Social Security to rely on in her retirement. Fighting for these critical programs is among my highest priorities as a United States Senator.
Democrats in Congress have consistently shown their commitment to shoring up and strengthening Medicare and Medicaid. The Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect, yet it has provided critical protections to thousands of Nevada seniors. Since its enactment, the law has strengthened Medicare by lowering costs and increasing services for seniors in Nevada. The ACA’s closing of the prescription drug doughnut hole has saved seniors $33 million in prescription drug costs in 2015 alone. That’s about $967 per beneficiary. And, the ACA has eliminated out-of-pocket costs for thousands of Medicare beneficiaries in Nevada for preventative cancer screenings, bone mass measurements, annual physicals, and smoking cessation.
In addition, Nevada’s Medicaid expansion has helped more than 240,000 Nevadans gain health care coverage. Many of these Nevadans are seniors who may not yet qualify for Medicare coverage, and thousands of seniors who rely on Medicaid to fill the gaps in Medicare coverage, or to fund their long-term care needs.
Across the country, one in five Medicare beneficiaries also receives Medicaid coverage. These crucial services meet the needs of those with chronic and complex health needs, as well as provide stipends for home health care, medical equipment and physical therapy for those seniors who need a little extra assistance in maintaining their quality of life and don’t want to or can’t ask their hardworking family for help.