During the contentious debate surrounding the health care bill, Nancy Pelosi famously said, "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it." Now that it is passed, however, there seems to be more confusion than ever. Even Andy Griffith is getting into the debate, starring in a round of Medicare television advertisements as part of a nationwide, taxpayer-funded campaign.
The new health care law, which I opposed, contains numerous changes to Medicare prescription drug plans as well other aspects of everyone's health care. Particularly because the bill raided hundreds of millions of dollars from Medicare to pay for the measure, seniors are especially impacted by the legislation. Some seniors could be forced to switch coverage options, move clinics, or even change doctors. A leading health care research firm recently predicted more than three million seniors could be forced out of their current Medicare prescription drug plan. For these seniors, this will mean picking a new plan -- which could lead to confusion and more difficulties.
Added to the confusion is that "open season" for the Medicare Prescription Drug Program runs from November 15 to December 21, allowing seniors to switch their current Part D prescription plan if they so choose. It is important to note Medicare beneficiaries satisfied with their current coverage will not have to take any action during the open enrollment period if their existing plan is still available. However, it is strongly recommended all Medicare enrollees review their enrollment options to ensure the plan they are in remains the best plan to meet their needs.
For rural areas with an aging population -- like the Third District of Nebraska -- Medicare-provided prescription drug coverage is not only helpful, but also increasingly necessary.
As a member of the House Rural Health Care Coalition, I want to make sure Nebraskans have access to the best information available. As with many government programs, maneuvering through all the conflicting information and red tape can be confusing and frustrating. This seminar will offer resources to enable constituents to make informed decision concerning healthcare and other issues of concern to seniors.
To address these issues for seniors, caregivers, or those approaching retirement, I am hosting a Senior Seminar on Friday, Nov. 12 from 1 to 5 p.m. Central at the Peterson Senior Activity Center at 2020 W. 11 Street in Kearney.
The seminar will offer presentations from the Social Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services and the Nebraska Senior Health Insurance Information Program. There will be plenty of time for questions both during presentations and on an individual basis.
Seating is limited, so I encourage everyone interested to RSVP by calling 308-384-3900 or sending an email to: RSVPtoAdrian@mail.house.gov.
For those not able to attend the seminar, information and videos will be posted on my website (http://adriansmith.house.gov) shortly after the event. Of course, those with questions also can contact my Grand Island office at 308-384-3900.
Knowing the full impact of the new health care legislation and how to navigate its regulations and changes is more important than ever. I am committed to ensuring Nebraska seniors and their families have access to the most accurate information and I hope you can join us in Kearney on Friday, Nov. 12.