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.
On October 2, 2017, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) initiated changes in the Provider Remittance Advice and the Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) to show more clearly that Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMBs) may not be charged for Medicare deductibles and co-insurance. Unfortunately, CMS will be temporarily suspending these system changes as of December 8 because of significant unforeseen issues affecting provider payments. CMS is working to address the problem and reinstate the new systems sometime in 2018.
The temporary suspension of the system improvements does not affect the rights of QMBs. QMBs do not owe deductibles and co-insurance for any Medicare Part A or Part B services.
The suspension also does not affect another change, instituted in November, that enables providers to confirm QMB eligibility before serving individuals, using the same systems through which they check other insurance coverage.
To learn more about these developments, read our fact sheet.
For more information on QMB protections, see the CMS QMB Program webpage. For tools that advocates can use to assist QMB clients who have been improperly billed, go to Justice in Aging’s Improper Billing page.
Last night the Senate passed a tax bill that will take health care away from 13 million Americans including older adults and people with disabilities. Further, it will severely impact the economic security of millions of older Americans and people with preexisting conditions—all for the benefit of the wealthiest 1% of Americans and large corporations.
This tax bill, if passed as is by the House, will explode the deficit by at least a trillion dollars, leading these same Republicans to carry out their calls for massive cuts in Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and other critical programs that older adults and their families need, while offering little to no tax relief for struggling low and middle income families.
The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that even considering economic growth, this bill will cut revenue by $1 trillion. This will force immediate cuts to Medicare and other programs under sequestration. The CBO projects cuts of $25 billion to Medicare in 2018 alone.
The repeal of the individual mandate will cause premiums to spike for those with preexisting conditions, especially impacting older adults age 55-64 who are enrolled in health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Many will not be able to afford health care. An estimated 13 million Americans will lose their health care, including 5 million people who would not get Medicaid even though they qualify.
This full-fledged attack on people who are already struggling is unconscionable and will cause lasting harm not only to today’s seniors, but to tomorrows’ seniors as well. This includes our grandparents, our parents, ourselves, and our own children.
We call on the House to halt this rushed process, and urge Congress to start over to ensure that any changes to the tax code will not drive up deficits or reduce access to health care for older adults, people with disabilities, and their families.
Republican leadership in both the Senate and House are pushing forward on tax proposals that would give a huge tax break to the wealthiest Americans and corporations and allow Congress to pay for it by cutting funding for critical programs needed by everyone else.
The Senate is expected to vote this week on its version of the plan.
Both Senate and House bills would explode the deficit and make it harder for older adults to afford health care—all while benefitting the wealthiest 1% and big corporations. We created a new fact sheet, Republican Tax Bills Will Hurt Older Adults, for advocates to use this week in their advocacy. The fact sheet outlines how exploding the deficit will force cuts to programs and health coverage for older adults, and how the wealthy 1% and corporations will benefit at the expense of older adults. Please use this fact sheet in your conversations with partners and policy makers and share widely.
Now is also the time to call your Senators and tell them to vote NO on this tax plan. Dial 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected.
Today, Justice in Aging and Center for American Progress are holding a joint briefing on what the tax bills mean for seniors. There’s also a National Call-in Day on Wednesday focused on people with disabilities and their families.
Congress is moving very quickly, aiming to have a bill signed into law by the end of the year. Advocates’ voices are needed to stop this reckless process that jeopardizes health care for millions. Our new fact sheet outlines the threats to health care for older adults and their families in both the House and Senate bills.
Today, the House of Representatives passed a tax bill that is a full-fledged attack on the health and well-being of older Americans and their families.
As we’ve discussed, this is all part of the House Republican leadership’s two-step process. Step one is to cut taxes for the wealthy and drive up the deficit by $1.5 trillion. Step two is to use the higher deficit to justify additional future cuts to programs we all depend on, such as Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Older American Act programs, and many others.
The inevitable program cuts that Republican leadership will push for, after they balloon the deficit, will cause lasting harm to seniors today and in the future. Further, the House bill passed today eliminates the medical expense tax deduction that provides tax relief to millions of older adults with high out-of-pocket and long-term care costs and modest incomes.
This bill overwhelmingly benefits the wealthiest Americans and big corporations at the expense of everyone else. We urge the Senate to stop this reckless process and reject any bill that drives up the deficit and takes away health care from older Americans and their families.
Leadership in the House of Representatives is moving forward with its version of a tax bill that calls for enormous tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and will drive up the deficit to the tune of $1.5 trillion.
Such a deficit will necessarily lead to cuts in programs that low-income older adults need, including Medicaid and Medicare. Justice in Aging created a short Fact Sheet: 4 Ways the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act Threatens Health Care for Older Adults to outline for advocates what’s at stake for older adults with Medicare and Medicaid and how the loss of the medical expense deduction could jeopardize the financial security of older Americans with high out-of-pocket health care costs or long-term care expenses.
Here’s what older adults need to know about this year’s Open Enrollment periods for both Medicare and Covered California.
Fall is open enrollment time for both Medicare beneficiaries and enrollees in Covered California purchasing coverage in 2018.
Justice in Aging’s California open enrollment fact sheet reveals who is impacted by fall open enrollment, covers critical dates for each group, and provides key information on actions to take to ensure continuous coverage.
- Medicare Part C and Part D enrollees should review their coverage options each year as Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plans can change their cost-sharing, provider networks, and drug formularies.
- Medicare’s open enrollment period is from October 15-December 7, 2017.
- Covered California open enrollment is from November 1-January 31, 2018.
- Open enrollment periods have been extended for victims of natural disasters like the California wildfires.