The NCOA national education campaign called “Straight Talk for Seniors on Health Reform.” The program is intended to help senior’s understand the health reform law.

I recently attended the NCOA national education campaign called "Straight Talk for Seniors on Health Reform." The program is intended to help senior’s understand the health reform law.

A survey released in July 2010 by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) indicated that only 17% of seniors across the country were able to correctly answer half of the 12 random questions about the new health reform law and its key provisions.

There are million Americans enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare who need help understanding how the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will impact the Medicaid and Medicare program. There is a lot of misinformation, and it is going to get worse as we near the upcoming elections.

NCOA officials said that the survey illustrates the broad misunderstanding among Medicare beneficiaries about the health reform law. In particular, the survey found that:

None of the respondents correctly answered all 12 questions

  • Nearly half of the respondents incorrectly said the federal health reform law will increase the national deficit over the next 10 years
  • More than 62% of the respondents were unsure about the expected changes in Medicare Advantage under the overhaul
  • Only 14% knew that the law does not cut payments to physicians who treat Medicare beneficiaries
  • Less than one quarter (24%) knew that the ACA is expected to extend the solvency of the Medicare trust fund
  • A mere 14% were aware that the new law is projected to reduce deficit spending
  • An astonishing 42% thought that the new law would reduce their Medicare benefits

This is why seniors who have questions about Medicare and the new health law should contact their State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), usually located with the Department/Commission of Aging, for independent advice, and not slanted from the politician’s thirty second sound bite.

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