Life in the two-year Medicare wait period
Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) chats with Alzheimer advocate Teresa Lambert (center) and North Central Texas Chapter regional director Libby Connally at a Capitol Hill news conference on ending the two-year wait for Medicare for those under 65 with disabling conditions.
Alzheimer advocate Teresa Lambert shared her story about "life in the two-year wait period" for Medicare at a Capitol Hill news conference Nov. 12 announcing the Coalition to End the Two-Year Wait for Medicare.
Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), who has authored House legislation ending the two-year wait for Medicare, was also a featured speaker at the press conference.
The Alzheimer's Association and more than 65 other health advocacy organizations have joined forces in a campaign to urge the next Congress to end the two-year wait for Medicare coverage faced by people with disabilities under age 65.
The two-year wait issue particularly impacts the younger-onset Alzheimer population — individuals who are under age 65 who have lost their jobs and their employer-based health insurance and who qualify for Medicare benefits under Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) but must wait 24 months after the date their SSDI begins before receiving Medicare health benefits.
Lambert is one of the nearly 500,000 people under age 65 who have Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia. The 54-year-old Abilene, Texas, resident is unfortunately no stranger to Alzheimer's; her father, Donald Smith, is living in the later stages, and the disease has already claimed the lives of her grandmother and great-grandmother.
Diagnosed last year, Teresa is now living in the waiting period with one year and one month left before her Medicare health coverage begins. An estimated 1.5 million Americans with disabilities are caught up in this waiting period for Medicare. Nearly 39 percent of these individuals do not have health insurance coverage for some point during the waiting period, and 26 percent have no health insurance during this entire period.
Proud to be affiliated with the Alzheimer's Association's North Central Texas Chapter, Teresa also served as the honorary chair of the North Central Texas Chapter's Memory Walk.
Ending the two-year wait for Medicare is an important legislative priority for the Alzheimer's Association, and we are committed to moving this legislation forward.
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