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10 things reporters should know about covering Medicare

If it’s hard for health care journalists to keep up with Medicare’s flood of announcements about new and revised programs, imagine what it must be like for the poor consumers who actually have to use Medicare.

In fact, Medicare’s complexity has been identified in research as a significant deterrent to broader consumer use of the program’s wide range of benefits. Even though Medicare has an open enrollment period each year that basically amounts to a free “do over” for consumers, seniors can be so intimidated by the process that they just stick with what they have even if it’s inferior to other options.

With this in mind – and having spent the past two years answering reader’s Medicare questions for PBS NewsHour – here are 10 items (and, yes, this is a made-up number for the list gods) that health care journalists might like to know as they shape their plans for Medicare coverage

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