Elder Law Task Force

Elder Law Task Force content posted in order of most recent to oldest.

Earn $80 by participaing in a study about voting accessibility

**Participants Needed for Accessibility and Usability Evaluations of Voting Systems**

Maryland will be moving to a new voting system by 2016. The State Board of Elections has contracted with the University of Baltimore (UB) to conduct a study of potential voting systems to ensure that the system chosen is fully accessible to voters with disabilties.

UB is looking for testers with a range of disabilities for the study, which will take place in Baltimore at UB. The study pays $80 per hour. Testers must be over 18 and eligible to vote.

Please encourage individuals to contact UB to be considered to be a tester. Potential testers can reach UB by email at ubusabilitylab@gmail.com or 410-837-1974.

A letter from MDLC and a flier announcing the study are attached.

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Joint Elder Law Public Benefits Task Force Meeting 9/11/13 10AM

All,

A joint Elder Law and Public Benefits Task Force meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at our Baltimore City office from 10 - 1. Please find the agenda attached. To join us via GoTo Meeting, please follow these instructions:

URL: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/join/606689542

1. Join the meeting by clicking on the URL link above.

2. Call the conference line at:

 

Dial +1 (626) 521-0011
Access Code: 606-689-542

 

If anyone has any trouble connecting to the meeting, please call IT Help at 410-951-7693, or Katherine Jones at 443-604-4729.

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ELTF Agenda 9.11.13.doc34.5 KB

Now Available: CMS Fact Sheet on Medicare Beneficiaries and the Health Insurance Marketplace

From CMS:

 Please read this important fact sheet, People with Medicare and the Health Insurance Marketplace Frequently Asked Questions.
 
This CMS fact sheet is designed to reassure people with Medicare that the Health Insurance Marketplace won’t affect their Medicare coverage and is not part of Medicare Open Enrollment, which occurs from October 15 to December 7. It also reminds beneficiaries to protect their personal information during the Open Enrollment season.

Please also share this fact sheet with your colleagues and partners.

 

http://www.cms.gov/Center/Special-Topic/Open-Enrollment/Downloads/Medicare-Marketplace-FAQs.pdf

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SSA Urges Same Sex Couples To Apply for Social Security Now

Carolyn Colvin, the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) has issued a statement on Social Security benefits for same sex couples, stating that some applications for spousal benefits are now being processed. In the statement, she also says, "I encourage individuals who believe they may be eligible for Social Security benefits to apply now, to protect against the loss of any potential benefits."

The important benefits she refers to include 1) the Social Security spousal benefit which can provide the lower earning spouse with a benefit equal to one half the benefit of the higher earning spouse, 2) the survivor benefit which provides the lower earning spouse with a benefit equal to that of the deceased, and 3) the $255 death benefit.

The applications, which can now be processed, are limited to spousal retirement benefits and then only if the marriage was performed in the state in which the higher earning spouse is domiciled at the time of application. SSA plans to begin processing additional categories of applications in the next several weeks and months.

Straight Talk for Seniors on Health Care Reform

Many older adults are wondering - how is health care reform going to affect me?  If your clients, friends or relatives are asking about whether health care reform will hurt their Medicare, or what it means for them -be sure to share these great educational materials from the National Council on Aging (NCOA). 

Let them know how health care reform helps with prescription drug costs, provides free preventive care for seniors, makes Medicare more solvent, and improves long term services and supports.

Fact Sheets

CMS Releases Final Rule on Medicaid, CHIP and Health Insurance Marketplaces

HHS Intergovernmental and External Affairs Notification

 July 5, 2013


From: Paul Dioguardi

            Director, Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs

            U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

RE:   CMS Releases Final Rule on Medicaid, CHIP and Health Insurance Marketplaces

 Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule implementing provisions of the Affordable Care Act related to eligibility, enrollment, and benefits in Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Health Insurance Marketplace.

 This final rule addresses aspects of the Medicaid, CHIP and Marketplace eligibility notices and appeals processes; provides additional flexibility regarding benefits and cost sharing for state Medicaid programs; codifies several eligibility and enrollment provisions included in the Affordable Care Act and the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) and provides operational guidance to help states implement their Health Insurance Marketplaces.

 This final rule does not address all of the proposed regulatory changes included in the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) released on January 22, 2013.  In order to best assist states in preparation for the availability of new coverage beginning January 1, 2014, this rule focuses on those provisions that are most critical for implementation.  CMS intends to address the remaining provisions of the January NPRM in future rulemaking.

 The final rule is available on display at the Federal Register here:

http://www.ofr.gov/(X(1)S(1vpecb3pcilomwwvusd4jf2b))/OFRUpload/OFRData/2013-16271_PI.pdf

The accompanying fact sheet about the final rule:

 http://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-Sheets/2013-Fact-Sheets-Items/2013-07-05.html

  

 

Questions or Concerns? Contact HHSIEA@hhs.gov

 

Healthcare.gov - Open for Business

From the National Health Law Program

Today HHS relaunched https://www.healthcare.gov/ with an emphasis on providing information related to eligibility and open enrollment (98 days away!).  A press release announcing the relaunch is here.

Healthcare.gov will help individuals get ready for October 1 and link them to available coverage now.  For individuals in states with state-based marketplaces (SBMs), the site provides a link to the SBM’s website. For states using the federally facilitated marketplace (FFM), healthcare.gov will be the on-line portal.

 By October, healthcare.gov will allow consumers to create accounts, complete an online application, and shop for qualified health plans.  Between now and the start of open enrollment, the Marketplace call center will provide educational information and, beginning Oct. 1, 2013, will assist consumers with application completion and plan selection. 

For Spanish speaking consumers, CuidadoDeSalud.gov will be updated to match healthcare.gov’s consumer focus.  “Resources in Other Languages” at the bottom of healthcare.gov links to 12 “taglines” that provides the phone number for the federal call center so limited English proficient consumers can receive information directly in their non-English languages. More languages should be added soon and the call center can provide interpreting services in over 150 languages.

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New Healthy Housing Standards Released

From the Maryland State Health Improvement Process:

Approximately 30 million families live in unsafe and unhealthy housing with an array of problems and necessary repairs including broken heating and plumbing, holes in walls and windows, roach and rodent infestation, crumbling foundations, and leaking roofs. These housing conditions can lead to serious health and safety hazards that can cause allergies, asthma, injuries, cancer, and lead poisoning, which increase health care costs and negatively impact children's health, development, and well-being. A new standard recently published by the American Public Health Association and the National Center for Healthy Housing ensures the health and safety of U.S. homes by defining appropriate livable housing conditions. The National Healthy Housing Standard identifies hazardous living conditions and offers safety protections to address these problems, with recommendations for household systems, including plumbing; lighting and electricity; heating, ventilation and energy efficiency; moisture and mold control; pest management; and chemicals such as radon, lead, formaldehyde and asbestos. The standard is intended to be used by government agencies and property owners to make certain that the nation's housing stock is adequately maintained and protects the health and safety of residents. The National Committee on Housing and Health, which monitored the standard's development, is requesting comments on the standard through July 31.

Click here to read the entire press release.

HUD Issues New Guidance to Encourage Integrated Housing

From the Administration on Community Living: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) last week issued new guidance to HUD-assisted housing providers on how they can support state and local Olmstead efforts to increase the integrated housing opportunities for individuals with disabilities who are transitioning from, or at serious risk of entering, institutions and other restrictive, segregated settings.

 Read more.

 

More on this from the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law:

New HUD Olmstead Guidance Step in Right Direction

Washington -- June 5, 2013 -- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued new guidance on how the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the

Olmstead case applies to HUD's programs and activities. The guidance makes clear that HUD and entities that receive financial assistance from HUD must provide housing for people with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs. Integrated settings, according to the guidance, are "those that provide individuals with disabilities opportunities to live, work, and receive services in the greater community, like individuals without disabilities."

 Examples of integrated settings include scattered-site apartments providing supportive housing, rental subsidies that enable individuals with disabilities to obtain housing on the open market, and apartments for individuals with disabilities scattered throughout housing developments. "By contrast," the guidance states, "segregated settings are occupied exclusively or primarily by individuals with disabilities."

 The guidance is intended to better educate state and local housing agencies, housing developers, and housing providers on their obligations under the "integration mandate" of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  To make real the promise of the ADA, the guidance instructs, "additional integrated housing options scattered throughout the community" are needed.       

 In issuing the guidance, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan recognized that the "Olmstead decision-and subsequent voluntary Olmstead planning and implementation, litigation by groups representing individuals with disabilities, and Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Justice enforcement efforts-is creating a dramatic shift in the way services are delivered to individuals with disabilities." He affirmed that "HUD is committed to offering housing options that enable individuals with disabilities to live in the most integrated settings possible and to fully participate in community life."  

 "We are encouraged by the issuance of this guidance and its important recognition that HUD-subsidized housing must afford people with disabilities the chance to live in the most integrated setting," said Jennifer Mathis, director of programs for the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. "The vast majority of people with disabilities want to live in ordinary housing. We hope this guidance will spark development across the country of mainstream housing for people with disabilities."  

 The HUD guidance can be found at  

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=OlmsteadGuidnc060413.pdf

Finding Lost Pension Plans: Webinar

Date: 
Tue, 06/18/2013 - 12:30pm

For those who wished you could come to our pension rights training in March, or who are yearning for more, here's your chance!  See information below about a new webinar on finding lost pensions! - help your clients get the money they are owed.

The webinar Finding Lost Pension Plans is hosted by the Pension Rights Center, a grantee of the U.S. Administration for Community Living/Administration on Aging.  Participants in this webinar will learn about the problem of lost pension plans and the resources available to find these plans.

 Speaker:  Emily Spreiser, Staff Attorney, Pension Rights Center

 Date: June 18, 2013

Time: 12:30 p.m. EDT

 Register.

 

Sponsor: 
Pension Rights Center

Maryland Health Progress Act Ensures Access to Quality, Affordable Care

From the SHIP Health Action Newsletter

Effective June 1st, 2013, the Maryland Health Progress Act completes a three year process to ensure that hundreds of thousands of Marylanders that formally had little to no access to quality, affordable health care now have options that have never existed before.  The bill promotes transparency, non-discrimination, and fiscal responsibility that will help create a robust marketplace and provide feasible options for many Marylanders left out in the cold.  This legislation also makes sure that we continue the progress of 2007 that expanded Medicaid thousands of residents.

 Signed into law in May of 2013, the Maryland Health Progress Act expands Medicaid to 133% of federal poverty, establishes a dedicated funding stream for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, provides for the migration of Maryland Health Insurance Plan (MHIP) members in order to ease their transition and moderate the potential impact on rates, allows for the development of a state reinsurance program to counteract potential short term pressures on rates, establishes policies to promote continuity of care when individuals move in and out of Medicaid and commercial insurance, and makes other changes necessary for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to achieve final certification as a state-based exchange.

 Click here for an advocate's guide to the Maryland Health Progress Act of 2013.

 View the SHIP measures and tools for increasing the proportion of people with health insurance.

Maryland Ranks 10th for Senior Health

From the Maryland SHIP Health Action Newsletter:

The recent UnitedHealthcare Foundation's America's Health Rankings Seniors 2013 Report evaluated senior health based on weighted health indicators, including obesity, smoking and chronic illnesses. Other measures in this evaluation included the number of doctors and other medical professionals serving the community, hospital use and medical procedures. According to the findings of the report, Maryland ranked 10th among states for senior health with low levels of debilitating arthritis pain and falls, and a proportionate supply of geriatricians across the state.

 

The reported challenges in Maryland's senior health surround the limited supply of home health aides. The UnitedHealthcare Foundation suggests that Maryland has room for improvement in the following indicators: getting better prescription drug coverage for seniors, improving healthy eating habits among seniors and increasing the supply of home health workers. Since the population of older adults in Maryland is expanding, improving services and resources targeted toward this population is essential for continued health improvements in the state.

 

Click here to read the America's Health Rankings Seniors Report.

 

Click here to view the SHIP featured topic for healthy aging.

 

View the Mental Health and Depression, Alzheimer's, and Oral Health issue briefs focusing on older adult health.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day UN Event

Date: 
Fri, 06/14/2013 (All day)

JOIN US IN RECOGNIZING 

“WORLD ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY”

 Friday, June 14, 2013

  GOVERNMENTAL AND UN PERSPECTIVES

 Speakers include representatives from the United Nations,

 the United States, Canada and other governments

 1:15 pm to 2:30 pm,

Conference Room 5, North Lawn Building

United Nations, 46th Street & 1st Avenue

 

This will be live streamed and archived at http://webtv.un.org/

 

***********************************************

                NGO PERSPECTIVES and RECEPTION

Speakers include representatives from AARP, HelpAge International

and the UN NGO Committee on Ageing

 

3:00 pm to 4:30 pm

U.S. Mission to the United Nations, 799 United Nations Plaza

between E. 44th & E. 45th on First Ave.

across the street from United Nations Headquarters

 Space is limited and RSVPs are required

Please contact Marla Bush at 202-357-3508 or marla.bush@acl.hhs.gov.

 

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was launched on June 15, 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) and the UN’s World Health Organization.  On March 9, 2012, the UN General Assembly resolution 66/127 established June 15 as a UN International Day.

 

This event is hosted by the Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the U.S. Mission to the UN, the UN NGO Committee on Ageing and AARP. 

New Analysis Shows Maryland's Share of Seniors Living in Poverty is at Least Double the Official Rate

Maryland's Supplemental Poverty Rate is 17%, compared to the official rate of 8%.  See news release below from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

New Analysis Finds Share of Seniors Living in Poverty at Least Double the Official Rate in 12 States Under Census Bureau's Supplemental Poverty Measure

The Census Bureau's official poverty measure estimates that 9 percent of seniors nationally live in poverty. However, some have criticized that measure for not taking into account health care costs, the impact of taxes, and in-kind government assistance (such as assistance with energy costs) and for not varying poverty standards regionally based on the cost of living. To address those concerns, the Census Bureau in 2011 released an alternative "supplemental" poverty measure that shows 15 percent of seniors nationally living in poverty. The increase in the poverty rate is largely due to the consideration of health care costs in the supplemental measure.

A new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis presents state-by-state poverty rates among seniors, based on the supplemental measure. Under this measure, the share of seniors living in poverty is higher in every state than under the official measure, and is at least double the official rate in 12 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The District of Columbia has the highest rate under the supplemental measure, with about one in four (26%) seniors living in poverty.

The study includes examples that show how a senior who is not classified as living in poverty under the official measure is considered to be living in poverty under the supplemental measure, because of high out-of-pocket medical costs or because of high housing costs where they live, for example.

The analysis provides context for assessing the implications of proposals under consideration in the deficit-reduction debate that would affect seniors with modest incomes, including proposals that would raise costs for people on Medicare or scale back Social Security benefits. Proposals to raise Medicare cost-sharing requirements or premiums, if enacted, would likely contribute to higher poverty rates for seniors under the supplemental poverty measure. The work is part of the Foundation's Project on Medicare's Future.

When Medicare launched, nobody had any clue whether it would work

Interesting column for those who wonder - will health care reform work?  This is a historic opportunity ....

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/05/17/when-medicare-launched-nobody-had-any-clue-whether-it-would-work/

Older Adults Report Increased Memory Loss

From the DHMH State Health Improvement Process (SHIP) newsletter:

According to data just released from 21 states that used the optional Cognitive Module as part of the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 9.5% of adults aged 60 and over reported increased confusion or memory loss in the previous 12 months. Among those reporting increased confusion or memory loss, over 85% of Marylanders said they had not discussed these changes with a health care provider. Memory loss varied by population groups but was highest among those unable to work, individuals with disabilities, and Hispanics.

 Memory problems are often the first signs of greater cognitive health issues, such as Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. Maryland advocates encourage early and accurate detection and diagnosis. Talking about memory problems and possible cognitive decline with health care providers enables earlier diagnosis, which in turn enables individuals and their families to plan for the future and allows for the better management of co-occurring chronic conditions.

 To read the full Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) click here.

 To access the Maryland specific fact sheet click  here.

 For more information on the Cognitive Module, or surveillance in general, contact Catherine Morrison.

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