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Home | Tag Archives: texas aarp

Tag Archives: texas aarp

AARP Texas Asks Candidates for Their Social Security Plans

AUSTIN, Texas – AARP Texas is seeking answers from all the presidential candidates running in the March 1 Texas Primary regarding their plans to keep Social Security solvent.

Early voting begins today in Texas, which is the biggest delegate prize for candidates among the 12 states holding elections on “Super Tuesday.”

Rob Schneider, manager for outreach and advocacy for AARP Texas, says candidates owe it to the voters to let them know where they stand.

“What we’re looking for is for every candidate to be able to articulate a plan to keep Social Security secure for future generations,” says Schneider. “Any candidate who thinks they are entitled to be president ought to be able to tell voters how they’ll keep Social Security strong.”

Schneider says without action, many Social Security recipients could face a 25 percent cut in benefits in about 20 years. He says that for many retirees, that could mean a cut of up to $10,000 a year, especially hurting those on a fixed income.

Currently, Social Security is the only income for one in three Texans who are 65 or older.

Schneider says AARP Texas “Take A Stand” volunteers plan to show up wherever a candidate is speaking to ask them what their plan is for Social Security.

“Already in the early primary states, we’ve had our red-shirt Take A Stand volunteers at town hall meetings, at airports and meeting candidates and asking them to make sure that they have a plan to keep Social Security secure,” he says.

AARP is a non-partisan organization that advocates for Americans 50 and older, and seeks to provide information on Social Security, Medicare and other policy issues.

AARP is making all candidates’ Social Security plans available online at www.2016takeastand.org

Author: Mark Richardson – Texas News Service

Texans can beat surprise medical bills thanks to New Law

AUSTIN, Texas – Patients who get “surprise medical bills” after a trip to the hospital now have recourse, thanks to a new Texas law passed in the last session.

Trey Berndt, associate director for advocacy with AARP Texas, says people can get bills they weren’t expecting, for example, when outsourced emergency room workers don’t belong to the same health network as the patient’s in-network hospital. He says patients who thought their insurance covered a visit later get “balanced billing” for services at much higher out-of-network rates.

“It’s just not fair,” says Berndt. “If you’re laying on the gurney, unconscious, you don’t know who’s in your network and who’s not in your network. You don’t have time to shop around. People have the right in Texas, when they go to the hospital, they have the right to expect their insurance to work.”

Senate Bill 481, now in effect, allows patients who get surprise medical bills of more than $500 to contact the Texas Department of Insurance and request mediation.

Berndt says in most mediation cases, insurance companies and providers negotiate a fee they think is fair, leaving the patient off the hook for the surprise bill.

Berndt commends the Legislature for passing SB 481 and says access to mediation is good. But he says many Texans might not know they have that option and end up paying bills they can’t afford or take a hit on their credit rating when they can’t pay.

“The consumer should not get stuck between what’s essentially a debate on reimbursement between the health plan and the provider,” says Berndt. “We think balanced billing should be outlawed in the emergency department situation.”

Berndt says Texans who get surprise medical bills of more than $500 can call a toll-free number for help. He encourages callers to use the phrase “balanced bill” and to request mediation to get the best results.

That number to reach the Texas Department of Insurance is 800-252-3439.

Author: Eric Galatas – Texas News Service

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