KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

People In Medicare’s Two-Year Disability Waiting Period Continue To Wait

The Oregonian: Sue Sherman of Southwest Portland was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year and "joined nearly 2 million disabled Americans -- at least 15,000 in Oregon -- who fall into a twilight with the first monthly Social Security disability payment, for they then must wait two years to become eligible for Medicare." Many of them exhaust their savings "on the care necessary to reach a diagnosis and now cannot get private insurance."

"This year, nearly 8 million Americans are receiving Social Security disability income. About a quarter, 1.8 million, are in the 24-month waiting period. For at least the past two sessions of Congress, a proposal has come forward to phase out the waiting period over 10 years. Late last year, a bill got a heavy push from the grass-roots lobby Medicare Rights Center and dozens of patient advocacy groups. Then the Congressional Budget Office, which estimates the cost of legislation to the taxpayer, calculated that eliminating the wait would cost an average of $10 billion a year over 10 years" (Saker, 6/27). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.