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Systemic Denti-Cal Problems Increase Financial Hardship for Older Adults

By | BLOG, Health Care, HOMEPAGE, Medicaid, Medicare, Oral Health | No Comments
Linda—a low-income older adult living in Los Angeles County—applied for a dental credit card after being advised to do so by her dentist. Her dentist’s office explained that, while she has dental coverage through Denti-Cal, it often takes a long time to get authorizations approved and it would be in her best interest to pay right now with the card and get reimbursed later. When Linda received her statement, it showed she owed over $2,000. Not only did she receive services that were not covered by her insurance, she also was charged for services that should have been covered by Denti-Cal but that were denied because her dentist’s office did not properly submit the claim to Denti-Cal. Unable to pay the $2,000 within the no-interest six month promotional period, Linda was hit with the balance plus six months of interest that accrued at 26.9%. Distraught, Linda contacted a legal advocate who is now working to dispute the charges and to rescind the credit card contract. Read More

An Overlooked Lifeline for Older Adults

By | BLOG, DUAL ELIGIBLES, Health Care, HOMEPAGE | No Comments
“When I first booked transportation for my kidney dialysis, they would not let me book more than one month out at a time. What did they think was going to happen, I would stop needing dialysis?” —Diana, on trying to access Medicaid’s non-emergency medical transportation

Diana is one of 7.1 million Americans who rely on Medicaid’s non-emergency transportation benefit (NEMT) to help her get to her medical appointments. NEMT is an important Medicaid benefit for the people who rely on transportation services to help them visit their doctors, receive treatment for chronic conditions, and travel to settings such as adult day health care. Yet, every year, an estimated 3.6 million Americans miss or delay health care because of difficulty accessing these critical services. When transportation services work, they help people get to their doctors and other needed health services so they can continue to live at home and in the community. When they do not work, Medicaid beneficiaries like Diana are left stranded, frustrated, and without access to needed medical care and services. Read More

New Legislation in Congress Seeks to Bolster Access to Medicare for Low-Income Seniors and Persons with Disabilities

By | BLOG, HOMEPAGE | No Comments
By Directing Attorney of Health Jennifer Goldberg and Borchard Fellow Catherine Bourque

Sandy had a good job as a registered nurse, and a middle class standard of living. She lost her husband and her ability to work her physically demanding job around the same time, leaving her with no income. Because of her job as a nurse, she receives just enough Social Security to be disqualified from means-based assistance like Medicaid and subsidized housing. As a result she spends a large percentage of her monthly income on rent, leaving little money to cover food or her Medicare copayments and premiums. Read More

But What Does the Census Say about Senior Poverty?

By | BLOG, HOMEPAGE, SENIOR POVERTY, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income | No Comments
Take a quick look at the official numbers, and you might think the Census Bureau’s recent release of poverty statistics for 2015 is all good news. The official poverty rate for seniors decreased 1.2 percentage points to 8.8%, and the median household income increased 4.3%, to $38,515. We saw decreases in the poverty rates for African American, Hispanic, and Asian seniors as well. With all these positive numbers it’s easy to believe that everything is going well, and poverty is becoming less of a problem. Read More

Cal MediConnect: A Long Way to Go

By | Affordable Care Act, BLOG, DUAL DEMONSTRATIONS, DUAL ELIGIBLES, Health Care, HOMEPAGE, Medicaid, Medicare | No Comments
Evaluation and enrollment data on the Cal MediConnect program reveals that the program has a long way to go to deliver on the promise of integrated person-centered care. While the data contains some promising trends, it also reveals serious deficiencies that demand focused attention from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).

The Cal MediConnect (CMC) program, which created new health plans integrating Medicare and Medi-Cal benefits for dually eligible beneficiaries, has been in effect for over two years in seven California counties. Enrollment data released by DHCS and a recent series of evaluations, including surveys, focus groups, and polling, paint a picture of how the program is performing and how enrollees are faring so far. Read More

Social Security’s Operating Budget At-Risk for Even More Cuts

By | BLOG, HOMEPAGE, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income | No Comments
Just imagine it: you are a senior who just received a notice from the Social Security Administration that your only source of income, your meager Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, are going to be cut off next month. When you call Social Security’s 800 number to get an explanation, you get a busy signal. When you go to the local Social Security office to file an appeal of the decision, the line stretches out the door with no place for you to sit while you wait for hours to speak with someone. Your stress level rises while you face the prospect of having no income to meet your basic needs. Read More

New Medicare Fact Sheets for LGBTQ People

By | BLOG, Health Care, Health Disparities, HOMEPAGE, LGBT, Medicaid, Medicare | No Comments
Ever since the Supreme Court first overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act in 2013 and then, in 2015, making same-sex marriage legal in every state, there has been a flood of changes in how government programs address the needs of LGBT individuals. For people who qualify for Medicare, there are many important changes:

  • Married same sex couples now have coverage for Medicare and Medicaid under the same rules as opposite-sex married couples.
  • Transgender individuals have protection from discriminatory treatment in health care.

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Protecting Vulnerable Adults: Making Improvements to SSA’s Representative Payee Program

By | BLOG, HOMEPAGE, SENIOR POVERTY, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income | No Comments
Currently, there are over 10 million older adults who rely exclusively on Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to meet their daily housing, food, and medical needs. For many individuals over the age of 65, SSI benefits are their only source of income available. There is no doubt that every single penny of their modest $733 monthly benefit amount is needed to make ends meet. Due to increasing awareness of financial elder abuse and cognitive impairments—such as Alzheimer’s—more seniors are looking to additional supports to help them manage their own benefits. Read More

Improving the Oral Health of California’s Older Adults

By | BLOG, DUAL ELIGIBLES, Health Disparities, HOMEPAGE, Oral Health | No Comments

Justice in Aging is excited to launch a new project: Improving Oral Health of California’s Older Adults. Oral health is a critical aspect of overall health for people of all ages, but especially for older adults. Unfortunately, the oral health needs of older adults, and particularly low-income older adults, in California have been neglected. As a result, older adults encounter significant challenges when attempting to access oral healthcare and consequently experience severe mouth pain, tooth loss, and the worsening of chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and diabetes.

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