Tuesday, April 7, 2009

An End to the Death Period

Sen. Jeff Bingaman D-NM has introduced a bill that would phase out the 24-month waiting period (sometimes called the "death period") for Medicare Disability over the next ten years. Under current policy, with limited exceptions, someone who qualifies for Medicare Disability must wait two years before receiving benefits. Senator Bingaman cites an April 2007 Commonwealth Fund report in his announcement that says over 1.5 million disabled beneficiaries are waiting for benefits at any given time. Most have serious health problems, low incomes, and limited access to health insurance.

While Medicare costs would rise if Bingaman’s bill was adopted, Medicaid costs would be decreased. That would, in turn, reduce the states’ Medicaid contribution.

Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Gene Green (D-TX).

H/T specialneedsanswers.com

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