All Posts By

Katrina Cohens

Advance Beneficiary Notices, Administrative Fees, and Dual Eligibles

By | ISSUE BRIEF, Medicare

Federal law prohibits charging Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMBs) with Medicare cost-sharing for covered services. Depending on state law, other beneficiaries who are fully eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid–full benefit dual eligibles–may also be protected from being billed for co-payments or other forms of cost sharing.

However, QMBs and other dual eligibles may still be responsible for certain charges or fees. A new Justice in Aging Issue Brief: Advance Beneficiary Notices, Administrative Fees, and Dual Eligibles explains for advocates the situations under which these types of beneficiaries may be responsible for charges.

Read the brief to learn what protections QMBs have and what charges they may have to pay.

Additional Justice in Aging resources on improper billing can be found here.

Fact Sheet: Health Care Provisions in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018

By | DUAL ELIGIBLES, FACT SHEET, Medicare

On February 9, Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA of 2018). In addition to its budget provisions, the BBA extends and makes changes to several Medicare programs and provides funding for other health programs that support low-income older adults, people with disabilities, and their families.

Justice in Aging has prepared a summary of some of the major health provisions in the BBA of 2018, including funding for Community Health Centers and outreach to low-income Medicare beneficiaries, the Medicare therapy cap repeal, Part D “donut hole” closure, and authorization of Special Needs Plans and other Medicare Advantage changes. As these changes are implemented, Justice in Aging will continue to provide updates and analysis and identify advocacy opportunities.

Read the Fact Sheet

Justice in Aging Statement on Proposed 2019 Budget

By | PRESS RELEASE
President Trump’s proposed FY 2019 Budget is yet another attack on the health and economic security of older adults and people with disabilities. After using the latest tax bill to give away trillions of dollars in tax cuts to America’s wealthiest, the Administration is attempting to pay for those tax cuts by slashing critical programs that keep older adults in their homes, allow them to visit their doctors, and ensure they can meet their basic needs.

This budget would take us backwards by increasing poverty and making it harder for people to get the health care they need. It goes against what Congress wants and what the public wants. In its 2018 budget, Congress recently increased spending for important and popular programs. Those gains would disappear in 2019 under this budget. Read More

WEBINAR: Supplemental Security Income Basics

By | Income Network Alert, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, WEBINAR
When: Thursday, February 22 at 11:00 a.m. PT / 2:00 p.m. ET.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a critical safety net program administered by the Social Security Administration that provides a very basic income to older adults and people with disabilities with no or very limited other income and resources. This webinar is designed for legal services and other advocates who are just getting started in the field and others who want to learn more about the essentials of the program.

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WEBINAR: Oral Health Coverage for Low-Income Older Adults

By | Health Care, WEBINAR
When: Thursday, February 15, 2018 11:00 a.m. PT/ 2:00 p.m. ET.

As of January 1, 2018, dental benefits were fully restored to adult Medi-Cal recipients. Restoration means that older adults will again have access to gum treatment, root canals on back teeth, and partial dentures. This is a big win for older adults and their overall health. This webinar, Oral Health Coverage for Low-Income Older Adults, provides an overview of the restoration of benefits and Denti-Cal coverage more broadly. The webinar also covers other dental coverage options available to older adults, how different coverage options work together, and barriers older adults face in accessing dental care.

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When Skilled Nursing Facilities Act as Representative Payees

By | ISSUE BRIEF, Nursing Homes, Social Security

A representative payee is a third party who is authorized to receive and manage Social Security payments for a beneficiary who isn’t able to do so for themselves. Often, a creditor, such as a nursing facility or other residential facility can be appointed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to act as a representative payee. When creditors perform this function, conflicts can arise and there must be adequate consumer protections in place to protect the best interests of the beneficiary and the Social Security system.

A new Justice in Aging issue brief, Skilled Nursing Facilities and Other Creditors Acting as Representative Payees, dives into some of the conflicts that can arise and proposes ways to strengthen the oversight and protections within the representative payee system.

Read the Brief

What the new tax bill may mean for older adults

By | IN THE NEWS

Healthjournalism.org: What the new tax bill may mean for older adults (12/22/2017) The newly passed Republican tax bill negatively impacts low income older adults. The new law jeopardizes Medicare, Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate may lead to higher healthcare premiums for seniors as younger people drop their healthcare coverage. It also adds $1.5 trillion to the national debt, which Justice in Aging’s Jennifer Goldberg says, is “the biggest danger. An increase in the national debt will be the trigger for Congress to start cutting entitlement programs like Medicare. It’s important to understand the threats older adults face, not only now, but for at least the next decade.”

Advocates Guide To California’s Coordinated Care Initiative Version 6

By | Advocate's Guide, CA Health Network Alert, DUAL DEMONSTRATIONS, DUAL ELIGIBLES

The Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI)—including California’s dual eligible demonstration project Cal MediConnect—is well underway in all seven CCI counties including Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Mateo, and Santa Clara. There have been significant changes to the CCI since the release of Version Five of Justice in Aging’s Advocates Guide to California’s Coordinated Care Initiative in October 2016.

Released today, Version Six of the Guide includes:

  • A description of new and updated CCI policies
  • Additional advocacy tips
  • Evaluation results and new resources

If you have saved or printed Version Five, please replace it with Version Six, because the former now contains outdated information.

If you missed the webinar, Coordinated Care Initiative: 2017 Update, the video is now available.

Republican Tax Plan Targets California’s Elderly

By | IN THE NEWS

Capital & Main: Republican Tax Plan Targets California’s Elderly (12/14/17). The Senate tax bill reform will negatively impact the elderly population significantly. The bill, passed on December 2, 2017, is a two step process that will cut taxes first, then cut social safety programs dedicated to serving the elderly poor to make up for the massive deficit the bill generates. “Cutting eligibility, cutting benefits — that will lead to more seniors not being able to age at home, but being forced into nursing facilities,” said Amber Christ, a Los Angeles-based staff attorney for Justice in Aging. “It will be a catastrophic scaling back of those programs that will impact generations and generations moving forward,” Christ added, calling the looming cuts “a reversal of all the gains from the War on Poverty.”