HR 1708/ S 700, Ending the Medicare Disability Waiting Period Act of 2009

 

Before they can get Medicare coverage, people with disabilities must wait 24 months after they begin to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). But SSDI generally does not begin until five months after an individualís disability has been certified. As a result, people with disabilities actually face three consecutive waiting periods prior to getting health coverage: (1) a determination of SSDI approval from the Social Security Administration; (2) a five-month waiting period to receive SSDI; and, (3) another 24-month waiting period to get Medicare coverage.

 

Rep. Gene Green (TX) and Sen. Jeff Bingaman (NM) have reintroduced bills that  would, over 10 years, completely phase-out the two-year waiting period which Americans with disabilities must now somehow survive before receiving Medicare coverage. 

 

Please write your own US Senators and Representative and ask them to cosponsor and support these bills. 

 

Compose your own letter, or use the sample below.  (Your family and friends can also help by slightly modifying the letter and sending it to their own legislators). It's easily done. Here's how:

 

1. Go to http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/

2. Enter your Zip Code and click on "GO".
3. Click on "Federal" in the top box.
4. Click once on the checkmark in front of the President (as he cannot participate).

5. As your subject, paste in:  HR 1708/ S 700, Medicare Disability Waiting Period
6. As your message, paste in your own message, or use or modify the following:
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Iím writing to ask you to cosponsor HR 1708/S 700  - bills to provide fairer access to Medicare benefits by the permanently disabled.

As I understand it, when Medicare was expanded in 1972 to include people with significant disabilities, a Medicare waiting period was created - specifically, the disabled  cannot get Medicare coverage until after they have received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for 24 months. But SSDI generally does not begin until five months after an individualís disability has been certified. As a result, these people actually face three consecutive waiting periods prior to getting health coverage: (1) a determination of SSDI approval by the Social Security Administration, (2) a five-month waiting period to receive SSDI, and, (3) another 24-month waiting period to get Medicare coverage.

Because of the 24-month Medicare waiting period, an estimated 400,000 Americans with disabilities are uninsured and many more are underinsured just when their need for health coverage is most dire and the benefits could be most valuable. By forcing Americans with disabilities to wait 24 months for Medicare coverage, the current law effectively sentences these people to inadequate health care, poverty or death.

 

I have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). As a member of EFFORTS, a support group for people suffering COPD and emphysema,  I am very much aware of the great difficulties the waiting period causes for so many disabled Americans who have serious health problems, low incomes, and limited or no access to private health insurance. These are people that, by definition, are in more need of health coverage than anybody else in our society. 

  

HR 1708/ S 700 "Ending the Medicare Disability Waiting Period Act of 2009" would, over the next ten years, phase out the Medicare waiting period  for the permanently disabled and end the associated unfairness in the current regulations.  As my representative in Congress, I ask that you co-sponsor and strongly support these bills.

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  8. Fill in the blanks with the information about yourself.
  9. Enter the "Capwiz Authentication" numbers if requested.

      10. Click on the "Send Message" button.
   
That's it! We thank you very much for your participation. Now, please drop a note to Fred at  fredefforts@aol.com

so we can add your letters to our count.

 

 LAST UPDATE 02/18/2013

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