Category

Health Care

Free Webinar: The Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) Program—An Update for Advocates: Part 2 of 2

By | Health Care, Medicaid, Medicare, WEBINAR, Webinar Trainings

When: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 11 am-12 pm PT/2-3 pm ET​

The Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) program provides significant Medicare cost savings to low income individuals, including payment of Medicare premiums and protection from liability for any Medicare co-insurance or deductibles for health services. Those enrolled in the program also are automatically enrolled in the Part D Low Income Subsidy program (LIS). Despite its value, the QMB program is chronically under-enrolled. Many eligible individuals don’t know about the program or face barriers when they try to enroll. Those who are enrolled often face difficulties in accessing QMB protections.

This two-part webinar series gives advocates updated information on the QMB benefit and tools to use to ensure that their clients are enrolled and can use the benefit effectively.

Part One provides an overview of the QMB program, including eligibility criteria and program basics and focus on the specifics of QMB billing protections. We focus on recent improvements that make it easier for QMBs and their advocates to understand their payment responsibilities and the tools available to address problems with providers who improperly bill QMBs. We also distinguish between the QMB program and a Medicaid agency’s Part B buy-in agreement, and discuss QMB issues in Medicare Advantage.

Part Two focuses on enrollment. It looks at barriers to QMB enrollment, including problems that have arisen in various states and advocacy approaches, especially for individuals with Medicaid linked to Supplemental Security Income. We explore both ways to untangle individual problems and ways to work with your state to improve QMB enrollment systemically.

Who should participate:
Aging and legal advocates, community-based providers and others who counsel older adults on health benefits.

Presenters:
Denny Chan, Senior Staff Attorney, Justice in Aging
Georgia Burke, Directing Attorney, Justice in Aging

Part 1 occurs on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 11 am-12 pm PT/2-3 pm ET​

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Free Webinar: The Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) Program—An Update for Advocates: Part 1 of 2

By | Health Care, Medicaid, Medicare, WEBINAR, Webinar Trainings

When: Tuesday, July 23, 2019 11 am-12 pm PT/2-3 pm ET

The Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) program provides significant Medicare cost savings to low income individuals, including payment of Medicare premiums and protection from liability for any Medicare co-insurance or deductibles for health services. Those enrolled in the program also are automatically enrolled in the Part D Low Income Subsidy program (LIS). Despite its value, the QMB program is chronically under-enrolled. Many eligible individuals don’t know about the program or face barriers when they try to enroll. Those who are enrolled often face difficulties in accessing QMB protections.

This two-part webinar series gives advocates updated information on the QMB benefit and tools to use to ensure that their clients are enrolled and can use the benefit effectively.

Part One provides an overview of the QMB program, including eligibility criteria and program basics and focus on the specifics of QMB billing protections. We focus on recent improvements that make it easier for QMBs and their advocates to understand their payment responsibilities and the tools available to address problems with providers who improperly bill QMBs. We also distinguish between the QMB program and a Medicaid agency’s Part B buy-in agreement, and discuss QMB issues in Medicare Advantage.

Part Two will focus on enrollment. It will look at barriers to QMB enrollment, including problems that have arisen in various states and advocacy approaches, especially for individuals with Medicaid linked to Supplemental Security Income. We will explore both ways to untangle individual problems and ways to work with your state to improve QMB enrollment systemically.

Who should participate:
Aging and legal advocates, community-based providers and others who counsel older adults on health benefits.

Presenters:
Denny Chan, Senior Staff Attorney, Justice in Aging
Georgia Burke, Directing Attorney, Justice in Aging

WATCH THE WEBINAR
DOWNLOAD THE POWERPOINT

Free Webinar: Changes to the Rule Implementing the Health Care Rights Law and the Impact on Older Adults

By | Health Care, WEBINAR, Webinar Trainings

When: Wednesday, July 10, 2019 11 am-12 pm PT/2-3 pm ET​

The Trump Administration has published a proposed rule to eliminate key nondiscrimination protections under the Health Care Rights Law (Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act) for LGBTQ seniors, people with limited English proficiency and others in health care settings. If finalized, this rule change would increase the likelihood that older adults would experience discrimination in accessing health care and make it harder for them to seek redress in the face of that discrimination.

This webinar, Changes to the Rule Implementing the Health Care Rights Law and the Impact on Older Adults, begins with an overview of the Health Care Rights Law. It then discuss the Trump Administration’s proposed changes to the regulations implementing the law and the ways in which those changes would be particularly harmful to older adults. As outlined in our new resource, “Five Frequently Asked Questions about the Health Care Rights Law and Proposed Changes,” those changes include attempting to eliminate the rights of LGBTQ seniors, rolling back protections for limited English proficient (LEP) older adults, and limiting the way that victims of any type of discrimination can seek redress under the law.

The proposed rule is open for a 60-day public comment period through August 13, 2019. In the coming weeks, Justice in Aging will add resources and tools to this page to help advocates respond. 

Who should participate:
Aging and legal advocates, advocates serving LGBTQ and LEP communities, community-based providers, health plan leaders, and others wanting to learn more about changes to the regulations implementing the Health Care Rights Law and the impact on older adults.

Presenter:
Denny Chan, Senior Staff Attorney, Justice in Aging
Natalie Kean, Senior Staff Attorney, Justice in Aging

WATCH THE WEBINAR
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Issue Brief: 10 Year Check-Up: The Affordable Care Act Has Enhanced Access to Quality Health Care for Low-Income Older Adults

By | Health Care, ISSUE BRIEF, Language Access, Medicaid, Medicare, Nursing Homes, REPORTS

As the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit prepares to decide the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this week, it’s time for a check-up on how the law has expanded affordable coverage for low-income older adults. Our new issue brief, 10 Year Check-Up: The Affordable Care Act Has Enhanced Access to Quality Health Care for Low-Income Older Adults, discusses all the ways this landmark legislation has improved the health and economic security of older adults. The brief also discusses how the ACA has become so ingrained in the overall health system, that without the law, the system itself would collapse.

The issue brief provides a detailed look at how the ACA has expanded affordable coverage through Medicaid to more people and made it possible for more older adults to age at home and in their communities instead of in nursing facilities. Under the ACA, older adults also are protected against being charged more for pre-existing conditions and being denied essential health benefits. Low-income older adults who receive both Medicaid and Medicare get better care coordination and more help with prescription drugs. Additionally, the ACA expanded Civil Rights protections for LGBTQ and limited English proficient seniors, and stepped up oversight of nursing facilities, among other protections.

This paper shows how, after 10 years, the ACA is woven deeply into every health care program on which older adults rely. Without it, more older adults would lose their coverage, pay more for premiums and prescription drugs, be at greater risk of institutionalization, and lose many ground-breaking consumer protections. We must continue to work together to strengthen and protect this foundational program.

Steps to join the Learning Collaborative

By | Medicare, Oral Health

Step 1: First, you must join the Oral Health Progress Equity Network (OPEN) by requesting a login here. OPEN is a national network of individuals and organizations to advance oral health for all individuals.

Step 2: After you have joined OPEN and logged in to the network,

    • Click on “Communities” on the top toolbar
    • Click on “All Target, State, and Work Group Communities”
    • Click on “Network Response Teams”
    • Once you are on that page, scroll down to find the AMDLC, and click on “Request to Join Community”

Once you are subscribed to the AMDLC community, you will receive a call invitation.

Please reach out to Stacey Chazin at schazin@anohc.org with any questions.

New Budget Boosts Health Coverage For Low-Income Californians

By | CA Health Network Alert, Health Care, IN THE NEWS, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security

Kaiser Health News: New Budget Boosts Health Coverage For Low-Income Californians (June 25, 2019)

California’s new state budget for 2019-20 includes funds that will help about 25,000 low income older adults and people with disabilities get full Medi-Cal coverage. In the past, older adults had to meet stricter requirements to qualify for Medi-Cal than adults under 65. Regarding the past eligibility rules, Justice in Aging’s Directing Attorney Amber Christ said, “We call this the senior penalty, because basically you’re being penalized with a stricter eligibility limit based fully on your age or disability.” The new budget will also restore five areas of Medi-Cal coverage: audiology, optical services, podiatry, incontinence supplies and speech therapy.

FAQ: Five Frequently Asked Questions About the Health Care Rights Law and Proposed Changes

By | FACT SHEET, Health Care, Health Care Defense, LGBT, REPORTS

The Trump Administration has published a proposed rule to eliminate key nondiscrimination protections under the Health Care Rights Law (Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act) for LGBTQ seniors, people with limited English proficiency and others in health care settings. If finalized, this rule change would increase the likelihood that older adults would experience discrimination in accessing health care and make it harder for them to seek redress in the face of that discrimination.

This FAQ, “Five Frequently Asked Questions about the Health Care Rights Law and Proposed Changes,” outlines the changes including attempting to eliminate the rights of LGBTQ seniors, rolling back protections for limited English proficient (LEP) older adults, and limiting the way that victims of any type of discrimination can seek redress under the law.

Denny Chan, Public Interest Lawyer

By | DUAL ELIGIBLES, Health Equity, IN THE NEWS, Medicaid, Newsroom

ETTV America: Denny Chan, Public Interest Lawyer (May 29, 2019)

Even when faced with questionable or improper behavior, many AAPI older adults may decide not to speak up.  In a mini-series highlighting individuals for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, ETTV – a Chinese-language television station – interviewed Justice in Aging Senior Staff Attorney Denny Chan.  In addition to sharing his personal story of why he advocates for low-income seniors, Denny discusses reasons why AAPI older adults might stay quiet, even if they are improperly billed for medical services, and encourages them to be involved in their healthcare.  “Many older adults in our community feel an immense sense of gratitude after immigrating from their home countries.  Their benefits may be better here than where they came from.  Of course, this is something to appreciate, but older adults should speak up if they are mistreated by the government.” This interview is in Chinese.

Justice in Aging’s Statement on Trump Administration’s Proposed Roll-back of Health Care Rights

By | Affordable Care Act, Health Care, LGBT, Safety Net Defense

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.

Fact Sheet: Medicaid Non-Emergency Medical Transportation for Older Adults: A Critical Benefit at Risk

By | FACT SHEET, Health Care, Medicaid, Medicare, REPORTS

Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) is a federally required Medicaid benefit. Within certain guidelines, each state Medicaid program is given significant discretion in crafting the NEMT benefit for Medicaid beneficiaries. This important program currently serves over 7 million Medicaid enrollees who, due to cognitive and physical changes, may have a reduced ability to drive or use public transportation. It is now under threat.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has signaled that it will propose a regulation in May 2019 to make the mandatory NEMT benefit optional for states. States could then choose to amend their Medicaid rules to eliminate or reduce the benefit.

A new Justice in Aging fact sheet provides advocates with information about why NEMT is important, how it is administered, and the current threat to this vital benefit, as well as information on where to go for more information and advocacy tips for preserving the NEMT benefit in their states.

Justice in Aging is working in coalition with partners like Community Catalyst to raise awareness about the importance of Medicaid transportation to ensure it remains a covered benefit.