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Senators Hassan, Tillis Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Support Seniors and Caregivers by Strengthening 1-800 MEDICARE Hotline

WASHINGTON – Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) recently introduced the Connecting Caregivers to Medicare Act, bipartisan legislation to increase outreach and education to Medicare beneficiaries and simplify access to information for family caregivers through the 1-800 MEDICARE hotline.

“The 1-800-MEDICARE hotline is a vitally important resource for seniors and caregivers to get information about care options, medical expenses, and more,” said Senator Hassan. “This bill is a commonsense, bipartisan measure to ensure that the hotline is providing the best and most efficient support possible for seniors and their family caregivers through increased education, training, outreach, and opportunities for feedback.”

“Caregivers carry a tremendous burden while caring for loved ones, and I know first-hand that caregivers too often face unnecessary barriers when trying to coordinate care,” said Senator Tillis. “I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with Senator Hassan to enable caregivers to better advocate for their loved ones and make it easier for caregivers to communicate with Medicare on their behalf.”

This legislation has been endorsed by 37 organizations, including AARP, ALS Association, Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, American Heart Association, Autism Society of America, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Caregiver Action Network, Center for Medicare Advocacy, Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Family Caregiver Alliance, Justice in Aging, Medicare Rights Center, National Alliance for Caregiving, National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health, Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers, National Disability Rights Network, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

"The 168,000 family caregivers in New Hampshire need commonsense solutions to help them care for their loved ones at home, where most Americans want to be. We thank Senator Hassan for her leadership on the Connecting Caregivers to Medicare Act, which brings us one step closer to providing the support that caregivers need," said Christina FitzPatrick, State Director of AARP New Hampshire. 

“AARP is pleased to endorse the Connecting Caregivers to Medicare Act, legislation to help family caregivers advocate and communicate with Medicare and save them time and frustration when trying to get care for their loved ones. We appreciate the leadership of Senators Tillis and Hassan in sponsoring this important bipartisan legislation,” said Nancy A. LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer.

Specifically, the Connecting Caregivers to Medicare Act supports family caregivers by:

  • Helping family caregivers use the 1-800-MEDICARE Hotline to better advocate and care for their loved ones;
  • Increasing outreach and education activities to protect beneficiaries and caregivers from fraudulent practices;
  • Ensuring accurate information sharing to make it easier for beneficiaries and caregivers to navigate the system and stay up-to-date on fraud prevention recommendations and existing fraud reporting mechanisms;
  • Streamlining training to ensure that 1-800-MEDICARE operators provide appropriate resources and information to family caregivers as required;
  • Directing HHS OIG to analyze and make publicly available recommendations to better educate beneficiaries and improve timely agency investigation of fraud reports;
  • Establishing opportunities for family caregivers to provide feedback on their experiences and feedback on accessing information through 1-800-MEDICARE.

This bill is part of Senator Hassan’s ongoing work to support seniors, people with disabilities, and family caregivers. Earlier this month, Senator Hassan joined colleagues in introducing a bipartisan bill to cut taxes for family caregivers. In 2022, Senator Hassan successfully pushed the Department of Veterans Affairs to extend eligibility for a Veterans Affairs program for family caregivers. Last year, Senators Hassan and Murkowski introduced and passed into law the Reserve Component Parental Leave Parity Act, which expanded parental leave eligibility for Reserve and National Guard members to cover all new parents. Additionally, Senator Hassan has helped introduce legislation to expand access to long-term care as well as legislation to eliminate the lengthy waiting lists for home care services.

Full text of the bill can be found HERE.