KHI News Service

Medicare expert to address Sunflower Fair for seniors, caregivers

By Dave Ranney | September 13, 2013

Marilyn Moon

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A former director of the American Research Institute’s Center on Aging says Kansas seniors don’t need to worry about the Affordable Care Act.

“The main thing they need to know is that it’s not going to going to be a big deal in terms of their having to do anything,” said Marilyn Moon, who’s also a former director of AARP’s Public Policy Institute and a member of the Medicare Rights Center’s board of directors.

“Most of the effects that the ACA was going to have on Medicare have already happened,” she said. “And the ones that are still coming – like going to accountable care organizations – won’t affect them (Medicare beneficiaries) directly, except they may notice their doctors and hospitals are communicating more with each other than they have in the past.”

Moon, who grew up in Augusta, is scheduled to speak at a morning session of this year’s Sunflower Fair for Seniors and Caregivers on Sept. 24 at the Salina Bicentennial Center.

The fair, which is expected to draw more than 700 people, is a project of the North Central-Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging.

Other scheduled speakers and their topics:

  • Steven Baker, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s regional office in Chicago, on scams that target seniors;
  • Stephani Hepford, an assistant attorney general with the Kanas Attorney General’s Office, on elder abuse and financial fraud;
  • Sheldon Weisgrau, director of the Health Reform Resource Project, on the latest developments in the Affordable Care Act; and
  • Chuck Marr, retired horticulture expert from K-State Research and Extension, on senior-friendly gardening.

There also will be sessions on vision, healthy meals, and the latest gadgets that help seniors live independently.

Moon, who’s in her mid-60s, said she recently stepped down from her position as director at the American Research Institute’s Center on Aging to return to Medicare studies full-time.

“The big challenge facing Medicare is its own success,” she said. “It has done a phenomenal job of providing mainstream health care to many of our sickest. As a consequence of that, it’s an expensive program that’s grown over time, as all of health care has.”

The program, Moon said, now finds itself “constantly being challenged” by those who say the program’s costs are unsustainable and that reform is inevitable.

“The challenge now is figuring out how to make those change over time in ways that make sense, that are not arbitrary and capricious, and that protect the most vulnerable people that Medicare is designed to serve,” she said.

More information on the fair is available by calling North Central-Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging: 1-800-432-2703.

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