Too Sick to Work, Too Soon for Medicare

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<p>Americans under age 65 who have severe and permanent disabilities can qualify for Medicare coverage. But there's a catch: before these individuals can enroll, they must wait two years after receiving their first disability benefit check. As a result, there are as many as 1.5 million men and women too disabled to return to work who are waiting to receive Medicare coverage for the health care they need.<br><br>In the new Commonwealth Fund report, <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=27798&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D473514%26%23doc473514">Too Sick to Work, Too Soon for Medicare,</a> researchers from the Medicare Rights Center tell the real-life stories of 21 adults who are struggling through the waiting period and the financial hardship, pain, and suffering it causes. As the stories reveal, many in the waiting period are left with enormous debt, compromised health, and devastated personal lives. Many are forced to sell their homes or go bankrupt. Others do not make it through the waiting period, dying before their Medicare coverage ever begins. For many of those who finally become eligible, a lack of needed care in the interim has led to a sharp deterioration in their health.<Br><br>Legislation to end the waiting period was introduced in the 109th Congress in both the House and Senate. As the 110th Congress begins its work, the new report highlights the true impact of a policy aimed at some of the most vulnerable members of society.</p>