PUBLICATIONS

Justice in Aging publishes frequent issue briefs, reports and advocate’s guides that help on-the-ground advocates assist low-income older adults and persons with disabilities deal with often complex challenges related to federal and state benefits programs. Many of the issue briefs are also reflected in our ongoing, free webinar trainings. To ensure that you receive updates on the latest reports or trainings, sign up for our health or income network alerts.

Issue Briefs & Fact Sheets

Fact Sheet: Coverage Changes for Opioid Treatment Services for Dually Eligible Individuals

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

As of January 1, 2020, Medicare Part B covers a new Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) benefit. This means Medicare beneficiaries now have access to methadone for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in an out-patient setting, along with counseling and other opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment services delivered by a certified OTP provider.

For individuals dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, this new coverage means that Medicare is now the primary payer for these OUD treatment services. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued guidance to OTP providers, MA plans and to states to help ensure that dually eligible individuals who are currently receiving these OUD treatment services do not experience interruptions in care.

Justice in Aging’s new fact sheet describes the new OTP benefit and how it affects dually eligible individuals access to treatment for OUD. Advocates working with dually eligible individuals or other Medicare beneficiaries receiving or in need of OUD treatment services should become familiar with these changes to help clients navigate and identify any issues.

For example:

  • OTP providers and MA plans are prohibited from billing Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMBs) for Medicare cost-sharing for OTP services. In addition, all people enrolled in Original Medicare should not pay any cost-sharing for OTP services once they have met their Part B deductible.
  • States, MA plans, and providers should be following guidance to ensure continuity of care for dually eligible beneficiaries who are currently receiving OTP services.
  • State Medicaid programs cannot exclude or deny coverage of transportation (NEMT) for dually eligible individuals to Medicare-covered benefits, including OTP services.

Please let us know if you observe any issues with these changes in Medicare coverage of OUD treatment services. Your feedback helps us identify systemic issues and work with CMS to resolve them.

Issue Brief: Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) Protections in Medicare Advantage: Issues, Tips and Avenues for Advocacy

By | Health Care, ISSUE BRIEF, Medicare, REPORTS

The Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) program is a Medicaid benefit that pays for Medicare premiums as well as protects individuals from coinsurance and copayment for Medicare-covered services. QMB protections apply whether a beneficiary receives Medicare through Original fee-for-service Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan.

A new Justice in Aging issue brief, Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) Protections in Medicare Advantage: Issues, Tips, and Avenues for Advocacy, looks at how QMB protections apply to beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans and discusses ways advocates can address common issues that arise for QMB beneficiaries in Medicare Advantage. It also identifies areas for advocacy to make Medicare Advantage work more smoothly for QMBs.

California’s Master Plan For Aging: Make Medi-Cal More Affordable

By | FACT SHEET, Long Term Care, Medicaid, Toolkit

California has committed to developing a Master Plan for Aging in order to meet the needs of older adults today and for generations to come. Justice in Aging will release a series of short papers containing specific policy recommendations, developed with partners, that the Master Plan for Aging must include to meet its goals to advance equity, increase economic security and safety, and improve access to quality, affordable health care and LTSS programs.

The first in this series of papers, Make Medi-Cal More Accessible and Affordable, offers eight specific policy recommendations for improving Medi-Cal in order to ensure that every low-income older adult in California is able to access high quality, affordable health care. This paper was developed with developed with partners at Disability Rights California and Western Center on Law & Poverty.

 

FAQ: Adding a Dental Benefit to Medicare Part B

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

As Justice in Aging has been engaged in advocacy to add an oral health benefit to Medicare Part B, we’ve received a number of questions from advocates and others about how older adults currently access oral health benefits, what coverage the various parts of Medicare offer, and what adding an oral health benefit to Medicare Part B would look like.

We created a new resource, Adding a Dental Benefit to Medicare Part B: Frequently Asked Questions, to answer these common questions.

Special Reports

Unique Legal Needs of Low-Income LGBT Seniors

The intersection of poverty and discrimination creates an array of unique legal needs for older LGBT individuals. A new Special Report by Justice in Aging, produced in partnership with Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Elders (SAGE), offers an overview and practical tips for legal aid organizations seeking to serve this population. The Report, How Can Legal Services Better Meet the Needs of Low-Income LGBT Seniors? is accompanied by a short video that highlights the diversity of the LGBT community and the gaps in equality its members face as they age.

READ THE REPORT

Homeless Among Older Adults

More older adults are homeless or at risk of homelessness than at any time in recent history. This special report, How to Prevent and End Homelessness Among Older Adults, created in partnership with The National Alliance to End Homelessness, outlines the problem and recommends policy solutions that can be put in place now to ensure that all older adults have a safe place to age in dignity, with affordable health care, and sufficient income to meet their basic needs.

READ THE REPORT

Advocacy Starts at Home

In this report, Advocacy Starts at Home: Strengthening Supports for Low-Income Older Adults and Family Caregivers, Justice in Aging draws the connection between fighting senior poverty, supporting caregivers, and the services needed to help older adults. The stress and expense of caregiving will touch every one of us at some point in our lives, but it can be devastating for poor families. In the paper, we identify clear solutions that will benefit everyone, while providing poor families with the basic support system they need to ensure that older adults in their families can age at home in dignity.

READ THE REPORT

Articles & Op-Ed

How Legal Aid Programs Can Address the Growing Problem of Senior Poverty

Legal aid organizations can play a critical role in securing the rights and benefits of the increasing number of older adults living in poverty. Justice in Aging attorneys Jennifer Goldberg, Fay Gordon, and Kate Lang authored a Special Feature for Management Information Exchange for Legal Aid (MIE) offering suggestions to help legal aid organizations structure their services to have the most impact, reach older adults with the greatest need, and increase their organizational capacity to serve low-income older adults.

READ THE ARTICLE

Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income Eligibility: Time for a Tune-Up

Medicaid and SSI are two essential programs that fight senior poverty by ensuring that low-income older Americans can meet their basic needs and maintain their health. In operation for 50 years (Medicaid) and 40 years (SSI), these workhorse programs are indispensable for seniors. But as the population ages and income inequality increases, both programs need retooling to improve benefits and increase access for more people who need them.

Justice in Aging attorneys Georgia Burke, Jennifer Goldberg, and Kate Lang published Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income Eligibility: Time for a Tune-Up,” in the spring issue of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) Journal.

READ THE ARTICLE

New national center aims to enhance legal services for older adults

Early this year, Justice in Aging will launch the new National Center on Law and Elder Rights (NCLER). We are pleased to introduce the aging network to NCLER, a destination for legal and aging advocates who need legal resources to better serve older adults.

Read more from Justice in Aging attorney Fay Gordon in the op-ed New national center aims to enhance legal services for older adults,” from the January-February issue of Aging Today – the bimonthly newspaper of the American Society on Aging.

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Balance billing: a tragic trend that is hurting our poorest elders

Every time I visit the doctor I get a bill for $15.27. I know I should not be receiving these, but I don’t want to ‘rock the boat.’ The doctor is in walking distance, so I don’t need to take public transportation. That saves me a lot because my income is only $329 a month. I ultimately do not know what I should and shouldn’t pay. I really feel anxious. I do not know what is going to happen with my healthcare.

I received two bills that I know I should not have received. I was sick and I needed the care, so I just paid them.

These stories reflect a growing trend of poor older adults being illegally billed for healthcare services covered by Medicare and Medicaid.

Read more from Justice in Aging’s Eric Carlson and Fay Gordon in the op-ed Balance billing: a tragic trend that is hurting our poorest elders,” from the May-June 2016 issue of Aging Today – the bimonthly newspaper of the American Society on Aging.

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