Pennsylvania Medicare lawsuit settled

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 3, 2010

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The Center for Medicare Advocacy announced on April 26 the settlement of a lawsuit that it said will lower the cost of Medicare insurance and increase access to services for low-income seniors in Pennsylvania.

Community Legal Services sued the Pennsylvania Dept. of Public Welfare on behalf of two low-income Medicare beneficiaries and two patient advocacy organizations. Prior to the lawsuit, one of the beneficiaries, Narcisa Garcia, was barely getting by on a monthly disability income of $695, CLS said. Although Garcia was found eligible for the Medicare Savings Program to pay her monthly Medicare premium in November 2008, she was not actually enrolled into the program for another six months because of computer difficulties. During this time Garcia's monthly income dropped by nearly $100 to offset the cost.

The changes which the Dept. of Public Welfare will make under the settlement include new processes to enroll people into the program and to resolve data discrepancies more quickly. In addition, staff will receive more training to increase their understanding of the program and facilitate more efficient enrollment, said the Center for Medicare Advocacy, which had joined CLS in filing the lawsuit.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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