Category

Health Care

Medicaid Funding Caps Would Harm Older Americans

By | Health Care, ISSUE BRIEF, Medicaid, REPORTS | No Comments

Recent months have seen increased discussion of proposals to cap federal Medicaid spending. Under these proposals, the federal government would provide limited funding through either block grants or per capita payments to states, and states would have broad discretion to set their own Medicaid standards.

A new issue brief from Justice in Aging explains how these proposals would harm older Americans. The caps would result in a dramatic reduction in federal funding for Medicaid, and these crippling cuts would be exacerbated by the loss of longstanding federal protections. Potential consequences include loss of services, cutbacks in eligibility, unaffordable health care costs, and diminished quality of care.

The issue brief provides careful analysis of both the “cap” proposals and the protections of existing Medicaid law. Many of the proposals tout the “flexibility” of giving almost complete discretion to states. As the issue brief highlights, however, consumer protections in current Medicaid law are vital to older Americans’ health and financial security.

Dental Coverage for Older Adults Should be Coordinated and Evidence-Based

By | BLOG, Health Care, HOMEPAGE, Oral Health | No Comments
Maddie suffers from Crohn’s Disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract leading to significant weight loss, fatigue, and pain.[1] Recently, Maddie’s symptoms have gotten much worse and her doctor has decided that her best treatment option is chemotherapy. Maddie, like many older adults, has very poor teeth. Her doctor has told her that he will not proceed with the chemotherapy until she has her teeth fixed because the risk of infection is too great. The solution seems easy: Maddie just needs to see a dentist who will deliver the proper treatment and Maddie can receive her chemotherapy. In reality, however, Maddie has ping-ponged between her doctors and her oral health providers for two months and ultimately sought help from a legal advocate when her dental services were denied. The barriers Maddie faces are overwhelming, but fixable. Read More

Repeal of the ACA—Without a Replacement—Threatens California Seniors

By | Affordable Care Act, BLOG, DUAL DEMONSTRATIONS, DUAL ELIGIBLES, Health Care, HOMEPAGE, Medicaid, Medicare | No Comments
There are currently 7.6 million older adults living in California who rely on Medicare, Medi-Cal, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to see a doctor, receive care in their home, and pay for prescription drugs. The repeal of the ACA threatens these critical programs, jeopardizing the care seniors receive every day. Read More

Section 1557: Strengthening Civil Rights Protections in Health Care

By | Affordable Care Act, Health Care, ISSUE BRIEF, REPORTS | No Comments

So many health care protections are at risk in the months ahead, including Section 1557, the provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that specifically applies civil rights protections to health care settings.

This ACA provision has already been targeted, as a nationwide preliminary injunction issued on December 31 by a Federal District Court in Texas prohibits the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from enforcing the provisions in the implementing regulations that pertain to transgender discrimination and discrimination based on termination of pregnancy. The temporary order leaves the rest of Section 1557 intact, although some in the new administration and the new Congress would like to go further, seeking to repeal Section 1557 as part of a broader ACA repeal effort.

Justice in Aging has prepared a brief summary of the extent to which the injunction is likely to impact programs that affect older adults.

Justice in Aging also created an issue brief that discusses how Section 1557 and the HHS implementing regulations affect programs that serve older adults. The brief looks at discrimination protections around language access for beneficiaries with limited English proficiency, sex and gender discrimination, disability discrimination and discrimination based on age and race, with examples of how those provisions could play out for older adults using the Medicare or Medicaid benefit.

High Stakes for Older Adults in 2017

By | Affordable Care Act, BLOG, Health Care, HOMEPAGE, Safety Net Defense, SENIOR POVERTY | No Comments
With the New Year upon us, one thing is clear: the stakes could not be higher for older adults in 2017.

As the number of people age 65 and over living in America continues to rise, new leadership in Washington, DC is promising to dramatically reform and reduce the safety net upon which older adults rely. These changes – should they occur – will negatively impact all older adults, but they will cause particular harm to the millions of older adults already living in or near poverty. Read More

Repealing the Affordable Care Act without a Replacement Hurts Seniors

By | Affordable Care Act, BLOG, DUAL ELIGIBLES, Health Care, HOMEPAGE, Medicaid, Medicare, Safety Net Defense | No Comments
Every day, whether seniors need to see a doctor, receive care in their home, or pay for prescription drugs, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are lifelines for older adults. However, the entire health care system upon which older adults rely is at risk in the new Congress. Changes to the ACA will dramatically alter the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and jeopardize the care seniors receive each day. Read More

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