Category

Medicaid

Issue Brief & Fact Sheet: What’s at Stake for Older Adults When States Eliminate Retroactive Medicaid Coverage?

By | Affordable Care Act, FACT SHEET, Health Care, ISSUE BRIEF, Long Term Care, Medicaid

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.

 

FAQ: Low-Income Subsidy (“Extra Help”) for Dual Eligibles Receiving Home and Community-Based Services

By | FACT SHEET, Health Care, Health Care Defense, Home & Community Based Services, Medicaid, Medicare, REPORTS

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) enables full-benefit dual eligibles who receive certain Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) to receive Medicare Part D covered drugs at no cost. This requirement is called institutional cost-sharing, and was designed to put people who receive HCBS at home on an equal footing with those who are in institutions (who are also not charged any co-pays). Unfortunately, despite the institutional cost-sharing requirement, pharmacies still ask dual eligibles to pay co-pays for covered drugs.

Justice in Aging created an FAQ, Low-Income Subsidy (“Extra Help”) for Dual Eligibles Receiving Home and Community-Based Services, to give advocates working with dual eligibles the tools they need to prevent these co-pays. The FAQ discusses whom the cost-sharing rule applies to, the length of the cost-sharing protection, and what to do if a dual eligible HCBS-enrolled individual is prompted for a co-pay at the pharmacy or is entitled to a refund. Advocates should review the FAQ and make sure to their HCBS-enrolled dual eligibles are not paying any co-pays for their Part D drugs.

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

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Issue Brief: D-SNP Look-Alikes – A Primer

By | DUAL ELIGIBLES, ISSUE BRIEF, Medicaid, Medicare, REPORTS

More dual eligibles—individuals with Medicare and Medicaid—are enrolling in a certain type of Medicare Advantage plan as a result of aggressive marketing efforts targeting dual eligibles. This type of plan, known as a Dual Eligible Special Need Plan (D-SNP) Look-Alike, threatens to undermine promising advancements in integrated care for duals made possible by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). D-SNP look-alikes are not subject to the regulations governing D-SNPs and therefore have no responsibility to coordinate Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Because they are marketed aggressively almost exclusively to duals, they draw dual eligibles away from coordinated options and place responsibility on the consumer to navigate two separate delivery systems, potentially exacerbating disruptions and gaps in care.

Justice in Aging created this issue brief, Dual Eligible Special Need Plan Look-Alikes – A Primer, to help educate advocates working with dual eligibles about the impact of these plans on dual eligibles and to request that advocates report experiences with D-SNP look-alikes to Justice in Aging and CMS.

This new issue brief:

  • Outlines some key requirements of D-SNPs;
  • identifies the basic characteristics of D-SNP look-alikes;
  • discusses problems look-alikes are causing for dual eligibles; and
  • proposes ways to restrict them in the Medicare market.

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.

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.

Free Webinar: Ten Common Nursing Home Problems, and How to Resolve Them

By | Medicaid, Medicare, Nursing Homes, WEBINAR, Webinar Trainings

When: Thursday, May 30, 2019 11 am-12 pm PT/2-3 pm ET​

Federal nursing home law is meant to protect residents from poor care, discrimination, evictions and many other problems, but many nursing homes commonly follow unlawful procedures. If federal nursing home law is strong (which it is), why is the care often so poor?

Many consumers and their families don’t know the law or may be afraid to speak out about poor care due to fear of retaliation. But firm advocacy by attorneys and other advocates can make the difference. This webinar addresses common problems including evictions, overmedication, termination of Medicare coverage, discrimination against Medicaid-eligible residents, and other issues. The webinar intends to provide advocates, consumers and their friends and family members with advocacy tools to address these common problems.

The information in this webinar is based upon the recommendations in our recent guide, 25 Common Nursing Home Problems and How to Resolve Them.

Who should participate:
Legal advocates, consumers and their friends and family members.

Presenter:
Eric Carlson, Justice in Aging

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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.

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.