Poor Communication to Senior Citizens About
Obamacare May Be Costly Error
Even key news release from Centers for Medicare &
Medicaid Services misleads senior citizens – its primary audience
Tucker Sutherland, editor & publisher, SeniorJournal.com
Oct. 1, 2013 – One of the complaints we hear often
is that the Obama Administration has done a poor job of communicating to
the public about the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. We
certainly agree with this opinion. The administration continues to not
only fail to effectively market the programs benefits, but their poor
communications continues to confuse the public and senior citizens in
A good example is a news release issued today from
the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to celebrate the opening of
the Health Insurance Marketplace. Below is their lead paragraph.
“For the first time ever, today all Americans can
begin shopping for quality health coverage that is affordable, and not
be denied or charged more because they have a pre-existing condition.”
This is not true and is a blatant disservice to the
primary Americans this agency serves – senior citizens - those in this
country that are eligible for Medicare. It is not true because it says
“all Americans,” when in reality senior citizens will not be buying
health coverage at the Health Insurance Marketplace. They will continue
to get their health care “insurance” at Medicare.
The next paragraph of the CMS news release states
“The Health Insurance Marketplace is a new, simpler
way for uninsured Americans and their families to purchase health
insurance in one place.”
Again, let me emphasize that senior citizens
eligible for Medicare will not find it available at the Health Insurance
Marketplace. If you are a senior do not go there and tell your senior
friends this is not for you.
Today’s CMS news release even has a direct quote
from Marilyn Tavenner, who is the administrator of the agency. She says,
“Today marks the start of an intense six-month long open enrollment and
public education campaign for the Marketplace. We want consumers to know
that they can find and compare options, check if they qualify for lower
costs, and get covered.”
This sounds a lot like “open enrollment” for
Medicare, which does open on October 15. I have no doubt the many –
maybe millions – of senior citizens will be confused.
Senior citizens and the information telling them
they are not included among “all Americans” are not mentioned in this
Seems to me CMS just missed a great opportunity –
like so many others missed by the Administration on this subject – to
mention the benefits seniors did gain from Obamacare – additional free
preventive services and the eventual elimination of the infamous “donut
hole” that has been so costly for many seniors in the drug program.
Senior citizens about 40 million strong are well
known as the most dedicated voters in the U.S. Seems to me the President
and his staff should be going out of their way to make sure senior
citizens know that the controversial part of this program – paid
mandatory private health insurance – do not include those in Medicare.
They should be hitting this over and over, not only
for the political benefits but also to help senior citizens and their
caregivers clearly understand how this program impacts Medicare seniors.
Your senior citizens are not included among “all
Americans” that should begin shopping today in the Health Insurance
You should be focusing on the Medicare open
enrollment that opens October 15. Hopefully the government will be back
in full operation and all of the information and help seniors need from
CMS will be available.
Disclaimer: The author has
contributed to the Obama campaign and supports the Affordable Care Act.