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FACT SHEET

Fact Sheet: Improvements in QMB Notices Are Temporarily Suspended

By | FACT SHEET, Health Care, Medicare | No Comments

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.

Fact Sheet: Republican Tax Bills Will Hurt Older Adults

By | FACT SHEET, Health Care, Income Network Alert, SENIOR POVERTY | No Comments

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.

Fact Sheet: Congress Tax Proposals Endanger Health Care for Older Adults

By | FACT SHEET, Health Care, Long Term Care, Medicaid, Medicare, SENIOR POVERTY | No Comments

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.

Fact Sheet: 4 Ways the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act Threatens Older Adults’ Health Care

By | FACT SHEET, Health Care, Medicaid, Medicare, SENIOR POVERTY | No Comments

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.

Read the Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet: Open Enrollment for 2018 Coverage through Medicare & Covered California

By | CA Health Network Alert, FACT SHEET, Health Care, Medicare, REPORTS | No Comments

Here’s what older adults need to know about this year’s Open Enrollment periods for both Medicare and Covered California.

Open Enrollment

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.

Key Facts:

  • 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.

Read the California Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet: Open Enrollment for 2018 through Medicare & the Marketplace

By | Affordable Care Act, FACT SHEET, Health Care, Medicare, REPORTS | No Comments

Here’s what older adults need to know about this year’s Open Enrollment periods for both Medicare and the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplaces.

Open Enrollment

Fall is open enrollment time for both Medicare beneficiaries and enrollees in the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplaces for coverage in 2018.

Justice in Aging’s 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.

Key Facts:

  • 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.
  • The Marketplace enrollment period has been cut in half from 12 weeks to 6 weeks.
  • The Marketplace enrollment period is from November 1-December 15, 2017.
  • Open enrollment periods have been extended for victims of some natural disasters.

Read the Fact Sheet

Fact Sheets: IHSS Services and Eligibility & Application Process

By | FACT SHEET, In-Home Supportive Services, REPORTS | No Comments
The IHSS program serves more than 500,000 Californians and ensures they receive the care and support they need to live in the community. The program is structured to provide a high level of flexibility and autonomy to the recipients. This consumer-driven approach has a lot of positives, but has introduced complexity into the program.

Two new fact sheets explain two facets of the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program—Eligibility and the Application Process, and IHSS Services: Basics. These fact sheets provide a simplified starting place to understand how the eligibility and application process work, what services are available, and how the county determines eligibility for specific services.
Read More

New Fact Sheet: Medicaid Funding Caps Will Harm Older Americans

By | FACT SHEET, REPORTS | No Comments

On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Senate Republicans revealed the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, their version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that was passed by the House last month, and was intended to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Our new Fact Sheet, Medicaid Funding Caps Will Harm Older Americans, is a shorter piece focused on what older Americans stand to lose under the law.

New Fact Sheet: SSI in California

By | FACT SHEET, REPORTS, Supplemental Security Income | No Comments

California has the highest rate of senior poverty in the nation; increasingly more older Californians struggle to make ends meet and stay in their homes, and senior homelessness is on the rise. Over a million California seniors and people with disabilities rely on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to help them meet their basic needs. There are people who depend on SSI to survive in every community in the state. The majority of SSI recipients are women, and the program is critical for many people of color and people with limited English proficiency. It’s also an essential safety net for nearly 300,000 California retired older adults who receive some Social Security, but not enough, because they worked in low-wage or seasonal jobs, or stayed home from work to care for family members.

Please use this new Justice in Aging SSI fact sheet for California that shows who relies on SSI, why it’s important, and the dangers cuts to the program would pose for low-income individuals, families, and communities.

With leaders in Congress intent on cutting benefits like SSI, it’s critical that advocates proactively educate lawmakers, the media, and fellow advocates about the important role SSI plays in ensuring that some of the most vulnerable people in our state can meet their basic needs for shelter, food, and other necessities. Given the significant number of low-income older adults in California, Justice in Aging recently launched two new projects to improve access to and utilization of SSI benefits among older adults across the state. We are building a strong coalition of statewide advocates who are informed about and trained in the details of the SSI program, including how SSI reduces homelessness, and working toward systemic improvements of the program.

New Fact Sheet: New Guidance on Spousal & Survival Benefits for Married LGBT Individuals

By | FACT SHEET, LGBT, REPORTS, Social Security | No Comments

On March 1, 2017 the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that it would reopen its decisions to deny spousal or survivor’s benefits to individuals who had been married to someone of the same sex, and whose marriage wasn’t recognized because of a discriminatory state or federal ban on marriage.

This ruling and policy applies not only to individuals who were denied benefits after the Supreme Court struck down federal discrimination against same-sex spouses (in United States v. Windsor in 2013) and state discrimination (in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015), but also to individuals who applied for and did not receive benefits before these Supreme Court decisions because of the discriminatory laws in effect at the time they applied.

A new Fact Sheet on this guidance includes more detailed information about who is affected by the new guidance, who isn’t, and what advocates and their clients should do to get their cases reopened.

This fact sheet was authored in collaboration with our partners at SAGE, Lambda Legal, and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.