Justice in Aging has updated our California fact sheet that provide the essential information advocates for older adults need to know about this year’s open enrollment periods for both Medicare and the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces. Changes consumers make to either their Medicare or Marketplace coverage during open enrollment will take effect January 1, 2020.
Justice in Aging has updated our national fact sheet that provide the essential information advocates for older adults need to know about this year’s open enrollment periods for both Medicare and the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces. Changes consumers make to either their Medicare or Marketplace coverage during open enrollment will take effect January 1, 2020.
Retroactive Medicaid coverage is a key financial protection that helps older adults and others who develop sudden illnesses or long term care needs access the care they need right away. It is a smart policy intended to protect low-income people from crushing medical debt in instances where they need emergency medical or long-term care and cannot apply for Medicaid immediately. But several states are eliminating this protection through Medicaid demonstration waivers approved by the federal government.
A new Justice in Aging issue brief—Medicaid Retroactive Coverage: What’s at Stake for Older Adults When States Eliminate This Protection?—discusses typical situations that cause older adults to need Medicaid retroactive coverage, and how the policy helps them access care, while protecting them from financial hardship. The issue brief also delves into how states are using waivers to eliminate this coverage, which states are doing so, and how older adults, their families, and health care providers are harmed when the coverage is eliminated. A companion fact sheet provides a higher level view of the issue.
Today as part of an ongoing attack on the most marginalized, the Trump Administration is proposing dangerous and far reaching changes to regulations implementing the Health Care Rights Law, Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination in healthcare. The proposal attempts to eliminate the rights of LGBTQ people. It also rolls back protections for limited English proficient (LEP) older adults, and attempts to radically limit the way that victims of any type of discrimination can seek redress under the law. By gutting the only federal law designed to protect against discrimination in health care, the move is a cruel, extremist, and transparent political attack on LGBTQ older adults, LEP seniors, and others who frequently face discrimination in accessing care.
The ACA’s Health Care Rights provision is a landmark civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability in federal health programs and activities. The law includes affirmative protections for consumers and obligations on insurers and providers, as well as a new avenue for older adults and others to enforce their rights.
The proposed changes to the Health Care Rights Law will be particularly harmful for transgender older adults – one in five of whom report being refused care because of their gender status. This discrimination, which compounds over a lifetime, contributes to poorer health outcomes among transgender older adults, with one in three reporting poor physical health. By deleting references to protections based on gender identity, sexual orientation, and sex stereotyping across federal healthcare regulations, the Trump Administration’s proposal is saying transgender older adults and LGBTQ people more broadly do not have the right to receive the care they need and be treated with dignity.
In the same proposed rulemaking, the Trump Administration is also rolling back language access protections for LEP older adults by eliminating the requirement that healthcare providers affirmatively distribute notices of non-discrimination and include translated taglines in significant communications to consumers. These requirements, key to enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, are critical to assist LEP communities to better understand their rights and access care.
Finally, if gutting key provisions of the existing regulations were not enough, the proposed rulemaking takes aim at the Health Care Rights Law’s enforcement structure, which would make it significantly more difficult to bring particular discrimination claims under the law.
To be clear, this proposed rule is part of a larger, strategic attack on the lives of LGBTQ and LEP older adults. The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the same agency tasked with enforcing Section 1557, recently released a final “Conscience Rights” rule that allows providers to discriminate against transgender older adults and others on religious and moral grounds and changed the OCR mission statement to emphasize conscience and religious freedom. Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed “public charge” rule would make it nearly impossible for LEP older immigrants to enter the U.S. or become permanent residents if they are not wealthy and use or might need Medicaid or help paying for Medicare, food or housing.
Upon the proposed rule being published in the Federal Register, a 60-day public comment period will begin. In the coming weeks, Justice in Aging will provide resources, including template comments, to help advocates fight back. Now is the time to tell the Trump Administration that the lives, rights, and dignity of LGBTQ older adults, LEP seniors, and people with disabilities matter and to protect the Health Care Rights Law.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
Proposals to expand the use of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) have been raised repeatedly in the health care debate. This new issue brief looks at how expanding HSAs would impact the affordability of health care coverage for low and moderate income older adults by examining how HSAs would have functioned under one proposal, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), had it become law.
The paper finds that the combination of HSA contributions and premium costs can easily reach 20% to 30% of an older adult’s income. It concludes that HSAs are not a path to affordable health care for older adults. Read the brief.