New Law to Expand Chronic Care Benefits through Medicare

In a rare instance of bipartisan cooperation, Congress recently passed a law that will expand chronic care benefits to individuals enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans who have chronic illnesses. The Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act will cover certain supplies and services not previously covered such as telehealth services, at-home visits from personal assistants, safety measures for the home, home meal delivery and transportation to and from medical visits.

Most of the new benefits will be reserved for Medicare Advantage plans which will be able to offer benefits tailored to people who suffer from chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, heart failure, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

Chronic Care benefits will include:

  • Providing access to health professionals through electronic means such as computer or tablet (Telehealth services)
  • Giving Medicare Advantage plans more flexibility so they can now cover non-medical benefits like bathroom grab bars and wheelchair ramps
  • Providing kidney disease patients more access to home dialysis
  • Coordinating services for people in Special Needs Plans (Medicare Advantage plans for people with certain diseases or characteristics) who also receive Medicaid.

Taxpayers, as well as patients, could benefit greatly from the new law.  A typical hip replacement case costs Medicare about $20,000.  How many of hip replacement surgeries could be avoided with the installation of a $30 grab bar?  This could be a win-win situation for us all!

The law was recently passed, but benefits won’t begin until the year 2020.  If you have a loved one who is starting to show signs that they are struggling with daily activities you might need to act sooner.  Consider planning for the potential of your loved one needing assisted living or nursing home care. You can do that by calling our Newport Beach estate and elder law firm at (949) 260-1400 and scheduling a free consultation. We can help you find the best possible solution to ensure that your loved one gets the care he or she needs while maintaining the highest quality of life.

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