Medicare serves a particularly vulnerable subgroup of Americans. Many have physical and/or cognitive disorders; others do not read English well. Thus, more than a few of this program's beneficiaries may have difficulties navigating among its complex offerings and making informed decisions.
From August 1998 to mid-February 2005, staff from two organizations created and operated the Center for Medicare Education, a resource center for professionals and paraprofessionals—of national and local, public and private organizations—who educate consumers about the Medicare program.
The project staff:
- Published 49 issue briefs for professionals and volunteers who educate consumers about the Medicare program.
- Partnered with the Medicare Rights Center and the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy to write and publish nine articles on Medicare consumer benefits. The articles appeared in American Journal of Nursing. (The project team worked with an array of partners.)
- Developed publications and trainings for Medicare education of specific sub-populations within the Medicare population, i.e., people with low literacy, residents in rural communities, younger adults with disabilities and the Hispanic and Vietnamese communities.
- In partnership with the Medicare Rights Center, sponsored 15 regional train-the-trainer workshops around the country to increase the effectiveness of trainers and counselors who educate seniors.
- Partnered with Health Benefits ABCs to conduct the Housing-Based Medicare Education project, which designed and tested different types of educational activities within residential settings for the elderly.