Economic challenges face elderly Americans during Covid-19 shutdowns

"Right now, if you have Medicare, you don't have to pay anything out of pocket for testing for Covid-19," says attorney Amber Christ.

The Randy Tobler Show
April 07, 2020 - 7:30 am
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(KFTK) –  Amber Christ, Directing Attorney with Justice in Aging, joined Randy to discuss the challenges elderly Americans face during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Following the passage of the CARES Act, rebates were approved to help "stimulate" the economy, $1200 dollars per person which most will be received automatically.  This also includes those that receive Social Security retirement or Social Security Disability.

"There is one huge caveat," says Christ, "individuals who receive Supplemental Security income, what we call SSI.  These are seniors and people with disabilities, they're receiving just $783 a month. They do not get the FSA-1099 [form]. So these individuals right now, as of today, are not going to get those rebates automatically. As you can imagine, that's very difficult for this population. They don't normally file taxes. Filing taxes will act as a barrier. We're working here at Justice in Aging to get the Treasury Department to reverse its decison on SSI and make sure that those individuals get those rebates automatically just like the rest of us."

Christ says there are some things in the CARES Act that will help people in dire straights financially. 

"There's a moratorium for individuals who are paying finacially-backed mortgages, there's a 180-day moratorium there.  There's protections for individuals who are renting, they can be protected against eviction proceedings starting for certain individuals residing in properties that are also federally-backed by mortgages," says Christ.

When it comes to Covid-19 testing, Christ says there are no out of pocket costs for those who receive Medicare, "when a vaccine is developed, you also will not, have to pay cost-sharing or out of pocket costs for the vaccine.  What remains is the costs that are associated with treatment for Covid-19.  As you noted, Medicare is not free. There are high out of pocket costs for Medicare recipients. That 20% out of pocket is really high."

Christ says they are pushing for a change federally to Medicare and, "waive cost-sharing as it comes to treatment so that individuals aren't hit with taht 20% out of pocket or the hospital deductable when they go to a hospital."

 

Read Justice in Aging's analysis of the CARES Act HERE

 

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