Bill Seeks to Provide Vision Coverage in Medicare, Lowering Costs for Seniors

October 22, 2019 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – A quartet of House Democrats want to see Medicare Part B coverage expanded to include routine vision benefits.

Right now, Medicare only covers surgery and screenings for people who are at a high risk of getting cataracts and glaucoma, but it but does not cover routine eye exams

As a result, only about 57% of Medicare beneficiaries with vision problems said they have received an eye exam during the previous year.

A recent study by University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center shows 92% of older adults enrolled in Medicare use eyeglasses.

Hoping to affordably bring better vision to more seniors, Reps. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich, Kim Schreier, D-Wash., Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz., and Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., have introduced H.R. 4665, the Medicare Vision Act.

“Seniors on Medicare should have their vision care covered. Period,” Rep. Slotkin said. “Preventative eye exams and corrective lenses are an essential part of healthcare — but can be out of reach to older Americans since Medicare doesn’t currently cover vision care. I’m proud that my colleagues and I introduced this bill to strengthen Medicare and lower out-of-pocket costs for seniors.”

The Medicare Vision Act of 2019 will:

·       Expand Medicare Part B coverage to include routine eye exams, procedures, and contact lens fitting services;

·       Provide coverage for one pair of eyeglasses or a two-year supply of contact lenses.

“As seniors age, we want to make sure that they can live independent lives for as long as possible,” Rep. Schrier said. “Part of this is making sure that they can see well enough to drive to appointments, walk safely around the house, and carefully read prescriptions.”

“As a doctor, I am concerned about the number of older Americans who haven’t had an eye exam in over a year and might have undiagnosed eye conditions, like macular degeneration or glaucoma,” Schrier continued. “Also, poor vision can limit physical activity and increase isolation. Those, in turn, can lead to deteriorating health. By expanding Medicare Part B to cover vision care, we will ensure that older Americans will be able to access this care at a cost that isn’t prohibitive.”

“Eyeglasses and routine eye exams are essential components of health care for Arizona seniors, and should be covered under Medicare,” said Rep. O’Halleran, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“Seniors have paid into the Medicare program their entire lives; they deserve the highest quality, comprehensive care as they age. I am proud to join my colleagues to introduce this commonsense legislation,” he added.

Medicare

September 23, 2021
by Reece Nations
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service to Distribute Federal Funding to Rural Hospitals

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is disbursing an initial amount of $2 million to four health care entities... Read More

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is disbursing an initial amount of $2 million to four health care entities in four states to bolster access to their services in underserved communities. Funds will be distributed to participating hospitals in rural areas to overhaul their health... Read More

September 9, 2021
by Dan McCue
White House Unveils Plan to Cut Prescription-Drug Prices

WASHINGTON -- The Biden administration on Thursday offered the first detailed look at actions the White House may take in... Read More

WASHINGTON -- The Biden administration on Thursday offered the first detailed look at actions the White House may take in conjunction with congressional action to lower prescription drug prices. The 29-page plan, released through the Department of Health and Human Services, backs the intention of many... Read More

September 2, 2021
by Kate Michael
Policymakers Respond to Warning Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds Running Out Fast

WASHINGTON — America's safety net programs are running out of money, and fast. All four major trust funds — Social... Read More

WASHINGTON — America's safety net programs are running out of money, and fast. All four major trust funds — Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicare Hospital Insurance, and the Highway trust fund —are heading for insolvency in the next 13 years.... Read More

September 1, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck
Medicare May Expand Access to Dental Benefits, But Not All Dentists and Insurers Agree

WASHINGTON -- A hearing held by the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging centered around whether to expand Medicare to... Read More

WASHINGTON -- A hearing held by the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging centered around whether to expand Medicare to cover eyes, ears, and teeth, a proposal from Senate Democrats that could possibly cost over $359 billion over a decade.  "While these programs recognize the value... Read More

September 1, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck
Undocumented Californians Will Soon Receive Access to Medi-Cal Coverage

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 133, an expansion of Medi-Cal that will provide coverage... Read More

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 133, an expansion of Medi-Cal that will provide coverage to undocumented Californians age 50 and over, set to go into effect in May 2022.  “Accessing health coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program... Read More

June 2, 2021
by TWN Staff
Murray, Brown Urge Colleagues to Expand Primary Care Access for Women And Children

WASHINGTON - Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, are urging their colleagues to pass the Ensuring Access to Primary... Read More

WASHINGTON - Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, are urging their colleagues to pass the Ensuring Access to Primary Care for Women & Children Act. This legislation is intended to expand access to primary care but it languished in the last Congress. The bill would... Read More

News From The Well
Exit mobile version