Medicaid and State Budget Cuts: It’s Complicated

As states try to balance budgets and social needs, blame is increasingly easy to be passed around. However, it is important to remember the people that are impacted by these budget cuts and the real life consequences of these changes.

Check out this story from NPR that breaks down the differences between Medicaid and Medicare, and sheds light on the driving costs of Medicaid: Click here.

From NPR:

“Medicaid provides health care to people with low incomes, who also meet certain other categories. And while the federal government pays more than half of the bill, the share the states pay consumes 22 percent of the average state’s budget. That’s more than they pay for education, transportation or other large budget items.”

The story highlights one of the problems with our current situation with Medicaid:

  • While 75% of Medicaid enrollees are children and eligible adults, they make up only 1/3 of the cost of Medicaid
  • Meanwhile 25% of Medicaid enrollees are the elderly, but they make up 2/3 of Medicaid spending

Many plans to pare down the costs of Medicaid focus on reducing eligibility to younger people, you can see the impact would be limited because they make up the minority portion of spending. To make a real impact , states could implement plans to better coordinate care for older adults, offer more preventative or supportive services to keep people healthy and out of the hospital, or work harder to prevent Medicaid fraud.


What are your thoughts to improve the current Medicaid budget situation? Leave your thoughts below.

7 Tips for Picking a Medicare Part D Plan

AGE is hosting a special event this coming Saturday (11/13/2010) to help seniors and their families learn the ins-and-outs of Medicare for open enrollment. If you can’t make it to our event, check out this helpful article from US News -SP

7 Tips for Picking a Medicare Part D Plan
How to switch into a lower-cost prescription drug plan in 2011
By Emily Brandon

Beginning next week, Medicare Part D beneficiaries will have the opportunity to switch to a new prescription plan. Choosing a plan that covers your medications for a lower cost could save you hundreds of dollars in 2011. About 2.6 million beneficiaries enrolled in prescription drug plans will see a premium increase of at least $10 per month if they stay in their current plan. Current beneficiaries can choose a new Medicare Part D
plan between November 15 and December 31. Here are some important factors to consider when choosing among the Part D plans in your area:

Compare premiums. The average monthly Part D premium will be $40.72 in 2011 if beneficiaries remain in their current plan, which is up 10 percent from $36.90 in 2010, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis. Average premiums vary considerably by location, ranging from $29.01 per month in New Mexico to $46.51 per month in Idaho and Utah. “We have seen plans that have had pretty substantial increases in premiums over the years,” says Jack Hoadley, a health policy analyst at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute. “What may have been the cheapest plan for you three or four years ago when you first signed up may not be good for you now.” For the first time, in 2011 there will additional premium increases for high-income retirees. Part D enrollees with annual incomes above $85,000 ($170,000 for couples) will have a monthly adjustment automatically deducted from their Social Security check. If that amount is more than the amount you receive from Social Security, you will get a bill from Medicare.

Read the full article here at US News and World Report’s website.

FREE Event: Health Insurance Options for Seniors

Learn more about the health insurance options for seniors including recent
changes in the law from a panel of experts.

Panelists include:
Norma Almanza, HICAP Coordinator, Texas Department of Insurance
Patricia Longoria, Director of Community Relations, Physicians Health Choice

Join us in the AGE Building Dining Room
3710 Cedar Street, Austin, 78705
Saturday, November 13

For more information or to pre-register, please call Bruce Kravitz at (512) 451-4611 or email Respite is available on-site at Elderhaven by reservation only.

To RSVP for respite, contact Katy Rouse at (512) 458-6305 by November 10. Elderhaven is an Adult Day Center that provides care daily (M-F) for the elderly with nurse oversight in Travis and Williamson Counties. Call 458-6305 for more information.

Nov 14 – Free Seminar Navigating the Health Insurance Maze for Seniors

Hosted by Austin Groups for the Elderly (AGE). The topic is “Navigating the Health Insurance Maze for Seniors” which will give an overview of the major medical insurance options available to seniors. The seminar will take place Nov. 14 (Saturday), from 10-11.30am in the AGE building at 3710 Cedar Street. For more info or to pre-register, please contact Bruce Kravitz,, (512) 451-4611.