The Care Planning Act of 2015

The U.S. Senate introduced a bill that would allow doctors to be reimbursed by Medicare for providing end of life planning advice to their patients.  This bill is called “The Care Planning Act,” and it would amend title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act.  This legislation resulted from findings that because Americans are living longer, they are also facing more serious conditions later in life.  The goal of the Act is to ensure that aging individuals with advancing illnesses understand their treatment options and can assist in making their health care choices before losing capacity.  Previously, Medicare would not reimburse qualified health care professionals for this type of counseling.

The U.S. Senate introduced a bill that would allow doctors to be reimbursed by Medicare for providing end of life planning advice to their patients.  This bill is called “The Care Planning Act,” and it would amend title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act.  This legislation resulted from findings that because Americans are living longer, they are also facing more serious conditions later in life.  The goal of the Act is to ensure that aging individuals with advancing illnesses understand their treatment options and can assist in making their health care choices before losing capacity.  Previously, Medicare would not reimburse qualified health care professionals for this type of counseling.

By discussing end of life options with a physician, aging individuals would be able to articulate their values and preferences so that physicians would be able to develop an appropriate plan for treatment and decision making.  Under the plan, the number of conversations regarding end of life planning is unlimited.

Those in opposition to the bill have expressed concern that the program is motivated by the desire to cut health care costs due to the large amount of money that is spent on individuals in the last few years prior to death.  Those who favor the Act believe it will enable seniors to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.

In order to be eligible for the “planning services,” an individual would have to be in need of assistance with certain daily activities, or diagnosed with one of the following illnesses:

  • metastatic or locally advanced cancer
  • Alzheimer’s disease/progressive dementia
  • late-stage neuromuscular disease
  • late-stage diabetes
  • late-stage kidney, liver, heart, gastrointestinal, cerebrovascular, or lung disease

If passed by the House and Senate, the proposed bill could go into effect in January 2016.   To read the full bill, click here.

If you or a loved one is in the process of planning for long term care, find out how to protect yourself or loved one and contact experienced elder law attorney, Tanya Hobson-Williams. The attorneys at Tanya Hobson-Williams are available to set up a consultation at 866-825-1529.

Written by Tanya Hobson-Williams

Appointed to the bench by the Board of Trustees in 2008, and elected in 2009, Tanya Hobson-Williams was the first African-American Female Justice in the Incorporated Village of Hempstead. Tanya Hobson–Williams obtained her B.A. in Government and Politics from St. John’s University and her law degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Tanya Hobson-Williams has an active elder law practice assisting senior citizens in obtaining Medicaid for Home Care and Nursing Home Care. She routinely lectures at senior citizen centers, assisted living facilities, law schools and counsels families on a variety of topics of concerns to families caring for the elderly.

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Author: Tanya Hobson-Williams

Appointed to the bench by the Board of Trustees in 2008, and elected in 2009, Tanya Hobson-Williams was the first African-American Female Justice in the Incorporated Village of Hempstead. Tanya Hobson–Williams obtained her B.A. in Government and Politics from St. John's University and her law degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Tanya Hobson-Williams has an active elder law practice assisting senior citizens in obtaining Medicaid for Home Care and Nursing Home Care. She routinely lectures at senior citizen centers, assisted living facilities, law schools and counsels families on a variety of topics of concerns to families caring for the elderly.

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