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National Council on Aging Launches Straight Talk for Seniors
Date:3/15/2010

Campaign, Publication Offer Fact, not Spin

CHICAGO, March 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The health reform debate has exposed older adults to a barrage of political spin and scare tactics, leaving many confused and worried about the future of Medicare. As a result, most seniors do not believe they are getting unbiased and comprehensive information about how health care reform will affect them.

Now the National Council on Aging (NCOA) is launching a consumer education campaign, Straight Talk for Seniors, laying out the facts about the health reform plan, explaining what it would mean for Medicare, and helping seniors weigh the pros and cons so they can make up their own minds.

The initial centerpiece of the campaign is a two-page fact sheet, Straight Talk for Seniors on Health Reform, designed for the older adult reader. NCOA President and CEO James P. Firman will announce the initiative, release the fact sheet, and make himself available to the media during NCOA's Aging in America 2010 conference, opening Monday, March 15, 2010, in Chicago. As additional details become available on the final health reform bill, the document will be refined.

Helping Older Adults Make Sense of Health Reform

"For 40 years, NCOA has proudly stood up for the interests of older adults, from supporting the passage of Medicare in 1965 to helping people understand and navigate complex benefits programs today," says Jim Firman. "Seniors know they can trust NCOA to provide the straight talk they want on this important and complicated issue."

NCOA will make Straight Talk for Seniors on Health Reform available to seniors by posting it for download on the NCOA website and distributing it nationally to thousands of senior centers, community organizations, and others in the aging services network. NCOA will continue its Straight Talk outreach with a series of educational webinars and Q&A sessions at senior centers.

Straight Talk for Seniors lays out what's most important to seniors in the plan, including:

  • Not cutting any guaranteed, traditional Medicare benefits – and improving some benefits;
  • Closing the prescription drug coverage "doughnut hole" and promoting coordinated care for people with chronic conditions;
  • Improving affordability of, and access to, long-term care at home; and
  • Strengthening protections for low-income seniors.

Straight Talk for Seniors also forthrightly discusses how reform would:

  • Reduce Medicare spending growth while strengthening its financial future;
  • Reduce payments to Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, possibly causing some to cut extra benefits; increase premiums, or perhaps even drop out of the program; and
  • Ask high-income beneficiaries to pay higher Medicare premiums.

About NCOA

The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. NCOA is a national voice for older Americans -- especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged -- and the community organizations that serve them. It brings together nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently and remain active in their communities. For more information, visit www.ncoa.org.


SOURCE National Council on Aging

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