Center for Medicare Advocacy Releases Issue Brief Regarding Medicare and Family Caregivers

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Courtesy of the Center for Medicare Advocacy

The Center for Medicare has written an Issue Brief, Medicare and Family Caregivers, as part of collaborative work to advance the RAISE Family Caregivers Act, Public Law 115-119 (1/22/2018). The RAISE Act directs the Department of Health and Human Services to develop and maintain a national family caregiver strategy that identifies actions and support for family caregivers in the United States. The Center’s Issue Brief explores the role Medicare does, and could, play in supporting older and disabled beneficiaries and their caregivers. The Issue Brief was written with support from The John A. Hartford Foundation.

Over 62 million Americans who are 65 or older, and certain younger people with significant disabilities, rely on Medicare for health care coverage and access to care. Many Medicare beneficiaries depend on family members to provide or supplement their care. As the population ages, and lives longer with chronic conditions, the need for family caregiving, and support for caregivers, is increasing. Concurrently, however, access to Medicare-covered home health aide care continues to decline. This is often true even for individuals who meet the Medicare law’s qualifying criteria.  

In order to better meet the needs of Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers, the Center for Medicare Advocacy’s Issue Brief makes several recommendations, including:

  1. Ensure the scope of current Medicare home health benefits, generally, and home health aides, specifically, are actually provided. Simply put, ensure that current law is followed; 
  2. Create a new stand-alone home health aide benefit that would provide coverage without the current skilled care or homebound requirements, using Medicare’s existing infrastructure as the vehicle for the new coverage; and 
  3. Identify other opportunities for further exploration within and without the Medicare program, including additional Medicare revisions, demonstrations, and initiatives overseen by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI).

The Medicare and Family Caregivers Issue Brief is available at: