Tuesday, August 19, 2008

“Medicare cuts take air from elderly Benefits capped for portable oxygen tanks”

The AARP Bulletin Today, a bulletin featuring daily news and information for senior citizens, tackled the issue of capping Medicare benefits for portable oxygen tanks and concentrators in a July article. The cap will mean that people currently on oxygen will become responsible for maintenance, repairs and replacement of their existing equipment after 36 months of rental.

At a cost of about $7.60 per day, oxygen therapy is cost-effective and is critical to approximately one million Americans who suffer from respiratory illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and who require oxygen therapy under Medicare. Nationwide, as many as 15 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD, a number that is growing.

The article quoted that the American Association for Homecare, which states that the typical Medicare home oxygen beneficiary is a woman in her 70s who suffers from late-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and as a consequence has severe low levels of oxygen in her blood. Approximately 12 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD, and an additional 12 million more remain undiagnosed.

The analysis shows more than 1.4 million Medicare beneficiaries will be impacted by the changes, amounting to approximately a $325 cut per patient. AARP said this new change is “cutting off the air supply to millions of elderly Americans.”

To read the full article in the AARP Bulletin visit: http://bulletin.aarp.org/states/ok/articles/medicare_cuts_take_air_from_elderly_benefits_capped_for_portable_oxygen_tanks.html

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