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New Medicare Offers May Be Attractive During COVID-19

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Medicare provides health care to people 65 and older and covers more than 60 million Americans. Medicare open registrations started on Thursday. This year, open registrations look different, as do the options that seniors can choose from.

During open enrollment, Medicare beneficiaries are typically bombarded with information TV, radio and online announcements. So people often need help making a choice, said Casey Schwarz, senior education and federal policy lawyer with the nonprofit. Health Insurance Rights Center.

There are federally funded aids that help recipients. But this year with the pandemic, “in-person assistance is either limited or unavailable in some areas,” Schwarz said.

And that means it can be more difficult for some people to make decisions. This year there are more options in some plans, including additional benefits that are not quite health care, but that are adjacent to health care, such as “meal delivery, transportation to medical appointments, ”said Laura Keohane, professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University.

She said that for many seniors, the cost of premiums is the most important factor when choosing a plan. And these new benefits may cost more, but “some of these benefits might be more attractive in the COVID-19 era,” Keohane said.

Many of these additional benefits were new last year. And there were 250 plans that offered those kinds of benefits, Keohane said. This year, there are expected to be over 900. Gerald Kominski, professor of health policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that “companies may have been reluctant to immediately jump into the offering of these benefits expanded until they got a better idea. on what the financial implications might be. “

And he said that with millions of Medicare beneficiaries, there was a lot of money at stake.

What do Americans think of their finances?

Nearly half of Americans would struggle to pay an unexpected $ 250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results from our Marketplace-Edison survey. Additionally, 6 in 10 Americans think race has at least one impact on a person’s long-term financial situation, but black respondents are much more likely to think race has a big impact on a person’s financial situation. longer term of a person than whites or Hispanics. / Latinx Respondents.

Find the rest of the poll results here, which covers the financial situation of Americans roughly six months after the start of the pandemic, race and fairness in the workplace and some of the key issues of concern to supporters of Trump and Biden.

Are people still waiting for unemployment benefits?

Yes. There’s no way to know exactly how many people have been waiting for months and still aren’t unemployed because states don’t have a good system to track this kind of data, according to Century Foundation’s Andrew Stettner . But according to his own calculations, only around 60% of people who applied for benefits are currently receiving them. This means that there are still millions waiting. Learn more here about what they are doing about it.

What will happen to retailers, especially as the holiday shopping season approaches?

A report released Tuesday from the accounting firmBDO USA said 29 major retailers have filed for bankruptcy protection until August. And if bankruptcies continue at this rate, the number could rival the bankruptcies of 2010 after the Great Recession. For retailers, the final three months of this year will be even more critical than usual for their survival as they seek some hope around the holidays.

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us stay safe from payment walls and ensures that everyone has access to reliable and unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today of any amount to become a market investor. More than ever, your commitment makes the difference.

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