Making the Right Medicare Decision
Older Americans are facing a Medicare health care system featuring more options -- and more uncertainty....
By John Cutter
Older Americans are facing a Medicare health care system
featuring more options -- and more uncertainty -- than at any time since
Congress enacted the program in 1965, say advocates for seniors.
Where there used to be only one choice in Medicare, seniors now face
a myriad of alternatives, from the original fee-for-service plan to a variety
of managed health care options. The U.S. Health Care Financing Administration
(HCFA) recently completed a mass mailing of "Medicare and You 2000," a
handbook intended to outline the various choices.
Senior advocates say it is important that seniors select the right Medicare
option -- especially older, more infirm seniors, who have the most health
care needs. A wrong choice could mean higher out-of-pocket expenses and
more difficulty gaining access to specialists within managed care plans.
A Reason to Be Cautious
Is the new "Medicare and You 2000" handbook enough to help seniors make
the right choice?
No, says Diane Archer, president of the Medicare Rights Center in New
York, an organization that provides free health care counseling to seniors.
Although she praises many things about the handbook, she advises seniors
to be cautious, because the Medicare landscape is shifting dramatically.