Public Benefits Task Force

Outreach materials from Oct. 29, 2013 training

This page includes outreach materials from the October 29, 2013 training. You can access the latest outreach materials from Maryland Health Connection at They include:

· Maryland Health Connection Overview (in English and Spanish)

· Medicaid Fact Sheets (in English and Spanish)

· Income Eligibility Chart (in English and Spanish)

· Health Coverage Glossary (in English and Spanish)

HCAM Call Center flyer_english.pdf1.84 MB
HCAM Call Center flyer_spanish.pdf1.2 MB
HEAU flyer.pdf1.11 MB
HEAU bookmark.pdf552.48 KB

Health Care Reform in Maryland: Oct. 29, 2013 training materials

This book is a collection of the materials from the October 29, 2013 training, Health Care Reform in Maryland: What Legal Services Advocates Need to Know.

The training includes:

  • Welcome and Overview of ACA – Carolyn Quattrocki, Executive Director, Governor’s Office of Health Care Reform
  •   Medicaid Changes in Maryland - Lorie Mayorga, Deputy Director for Eligibility Policy, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  •   Maryland Health Connection Demonstration – Justin Stokes, Program Manager, Maryland Health Benefit Exchange
  • Financial Assistance and the Affordable Care Act – Tara Straw, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities
  •  Consumer Assistance Panel

4 Sheila Mackertich, Vice President, Health Reform Initiatives, HealthCare Access Maryland;

4 Lee Ann Sapp, Consolidated Services Center Manager, Maryland Health Benefit Exchange;

4 Kimberly Cammarata, Director, Health Education and Advocacy Unit, Office of the Attorney General


  •  Individual Appeals of Eligibility Determinations – Karen Rohrbaugh, Assistant Attorney General for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange


  • The Road Ahead: What Legal Services May See – Jennifer Goldberg, Director of Advocacy for Elder Law and Health Care, Maryland Legal Aid


Oct 29 HCR training agenda - final.doc54 KB
Presenter bios 10-29-13.doc40 KB

Verizon Reduces Free Directory Assistance Calls from 4 to 2 Calls

Office of People’s Counsel


Verizon Reduces Free Directory Assistance Calls from 4 to 2 Calls

October 16, 2013

Verizon Maryland has reduced the number of free directory assistance calls from 4 to 2 calls per month effective October 16, 2013 for landline (wired) telephone service. Each directory assistance call above 2 calls per month will cost $1.99 per call. This change may impact your clients, including Lifeline customers, if they rely on landline service and 411
Directory Assistance from Verizon.

The Company took this action after a new law went into effect on October 1, 2013 permitting Verizon to do this and preventing the Commission from denying the call reduction. The law was passed after OPC successfully opposed this change in two cases heard by the Public Service Commission.

OPC had opposed this change for a simple reason. Even in this age of smart phones and broadband access, adults who are older or with lower incomes will be disproportionately impacted by this bill, since they are more likely than other adults to rely on landline phones and have the need for directory assistance. They will now be subject to additional expenses if they make more than two calls per month.

These are some options for customers to obtain free Directory Assistance information:

  • Internet:
  • Hard copy residential directory: Call 800-888-8448 to obtain a paper or CD-ROM version of the white pages.
  • Physical or visual disabilities: Verizon cannot charge for directory assistance when these disabilities prevent a customer
    from using a telephone directory. If a customer has such disabilities, she should contact Verizon to get this restriction in the customer’s record.

If the customer with disabilities does not get a satisfactory response from Verizon, she should contact the Public Service Commission to make a complaint at 800-735-0474 or 800-735-2258 (TTY/Voice).

OPC also recommends that cell phone users without data plans should check their cell phone plans for the cost of directory assistance calls charged by their cell phone providers.

Alert Directory Assistance Call Reduction.doc64.5 KB

10 Things Assisted Living Homes Won't Tell You

Good things to know, be sure to ask questions about these topics when searching for a good facility.

Preparing for Enrollment: New Resources to Help You Through the Process

From Maryland Health Connection:

Whether you’re enrolling online or in person, Maryland Health Connection is providing you with ways to prepare for the enrollment process. Please visit the new “Prepare for Enrollment” page on where you can review health plans, including Qualified Health Plans and Managed Care Organizations, and review rate estimates. Keep these resources on hand when selecting the plan options best for you and your family. The consumer support center is available to answer questions about Maryland Health Connection at 1-855-642-8572 (1-855-642-8573 services for the deaf or hard of hearing).

The Consumer Information Update page has been updated. We will continue to provide information as it becomes available. We appreciate the tremendous interest in, and support of, We will address issues as they arise, and will continually improve the function of the website so that Marylanders can access quality, affordable health coverage.

5 Obamacare Scams And How To Avoid Them

Share this wherever you can, you know that when there is an opportunity like this, our clients may suffer.

health care resources for uninsured Marylanders

Maryland Health Connection opened its doors this week, and our clients have a new opportunity to access quality, affordable health insurance.  I want to make sure all legal service providers and pro bono attorneys have the resources you need to help your clients access the health care they need.   



Maryland Health Connection has a network of consumer assistance organizations that they call Connectors to offer health insurance assistance in Maryland. They are located in communities around the state and are staffed by navigators and assisters who are certified to help Marylanders enroll in Medicaid or a qualified health plan. By going to a local Connector organization, clients can get one-on-one, in person help to find and select health coverage.  You can find the list of each Connector organization across the state, the map showing what counties they cover, and the hours and locations here.


Clients can also go directly to Maryland Health Connection through the website, and call the Consumer Support Center at 1-855-642-8572.  The Consumer Support Center can handle 200 languages and has services for the deaf and hard of hearing at 1-855-642-8573.


Fact Sheets for Clients

Maryland Health Connection includes a lot of fact sheets for clients.  These documents include:

·         Maryland Health Connection Overview (in English and Spanish)

·         Medicaid Fact Sheets (in English and Spanish)

·         Income Eligibility Chart (in English and Spanish)

·         Health Coverage Glossary (in English and Spanish)


There’s more – check out everything herePlease print out any of these that seem particularly helpful and put them out in your waiting room, distribute them during outreach sessions, and provide them to your clients.

Thanks - and let me know how it goes.  (Sorry for the duplicate postings - I want to make sure this information gets to everyone!)

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 or 410-837-1974.

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

Voting accessibility and usability study.pdf222.33 KB

Health Care Reform in Maryland: What Legal Services Advocates Need to Know

Tue, 10/29/2013 - 9:30am - 4:30pm


Join Maryland Legal Aid on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 for a full-day training in Columbia to learn how health care reform is being implemented in Maryland, who will be eligible for Medical Assistance under the expanded rules that start January 1, 2014, and how your clients can access federal subsidies through Maryland Health Connection to purchase high quality private health plans.   This training is particularly applicable for advocates who currently handle public benefits cases and intake staff,

 Our distinguished speakers include: 

  • Carolyn Quattrocki, Executive Director, Governor’s Office of Health Care Reform
  • Lorie Mayorga, Deputy Director for Eligibility Policy, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • Sheila Mackertich, Vice President, Health Reform Initiatives, Health Care Access Maryland
  • Representatives from Maryland Health Connection, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and more….

 Sessions include:

  • Overview of the Affordable Care Act
  • Medicaid Expansion
  • Maryland Health Connection
  • Premium Tax Credits and Cost-Sharing Reductions
  • Who will help Marylanders apply?
  • Appeals and Notices

This training is open to all legal services staff and attorneys who will be handling pro bono cases for low income Marylanders. Non-Legal Aid staff are asked to pay a $15. registration fee to cover the cost of lunch and materials.

This is one of many opportunities Legal Aid will provide for all staff to learn about health care reform.  Watch out in the coming weeks as we introduce a webinar and specialized training sessions for Maryland Legal Aid staff.

  As with all Legal Aid trainings, if you are a Maryland Legal Aid staff member please consult with your supervisor and obtain approval to attend prior to registering for the training. If you have any questions please contact Yoanna Moisides at  or Yvonne Mathews at



Location Name: 
Charles Ecker Business Center
6751 Columbia Gateway Drive
Yoanna Moisides
Maryland Legal Aid

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.

Medicare Marketplace FAQs 082213 FINAL.pdf200.66 KB

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.

Maryland Health Connection Opens Call Center

From Maryland Health Connection:

Maryland Health Connection has opened the first phase of its state-of-the-art customer call center in Baltimore to provide support for residents and small employers statewide. During August and September, the call center will assist Marylanders with general questions about health coverage and preparations for open enrollment. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8 am-6 pm. The toll-free phone number is 855.642(MHC).8572, and 1.855.642(MHC).8573 for TTY service.

The call center will be fully operational and staffed with 125 representatives on Oct. 1, 2013, when residents can begin selecting health insurance plans through Maryland Health Connection. The call center will operate seven days a week during the open enrollment period, which ends on March 31, 2014.
Representatives, including bilingual staff, will guide Maryland residents and small employers through their health coverage options, explain financial assistance options available including federal tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, and answer customer service questions.

Interpretation services in 200 languages for individuals who require additional assistance are available, as well as TTY service is provided for the hearing impaired.

Representatives will be available during open enrollment (Oct. 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014) Monday through Friday, 8 am-8 pm, Saturday, 8 am-6 pm and Sunday, 9 am-2 pm.
Following open enrollment in March 2014, the call center will be open during normal business hours to serve Maryland residents, Monday through Friday, 8 am-8 pm and Saturday, 8am-noon.

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:

The accompanying fact sheet about the final rule:



Questions or Concerns? Contact - Open for Business

From the National Health Law Program

Today HHS relaunched with an emphasis on providing information related to eligibility and open enrollment (98 days away!).  A press release announcing the relaunch is here. 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), will be the on-line portal.

 By October, 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, will be updated to match’s consumer focus.  “Resources in Other Languages” at the bottom of 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.

FINAL HC Relaunch press release 6-21-2013.pdf177.19 KB

A Connector Program to Address Cultural Competency and Promote Health Literacy: Webinar

Mon, 06/24/2013 - 10:00am - 11:30am

From the Maryland Women's Coalition on Health Care Reform

Don't Miss this Webinar! 

A Connector Program to Address Cultural Competency

 and Promote Health Literacy

 Monday, June 24 - 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. 

 Register Now!

 Getting access to health coverage and care is not as simple as saying - "Health Care. Get It."  Both health literacy and cultural competency are key elements to doing this successfully. 

 On Monday, June 24 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. we will explore the importance of these strategies in the design and implementation of Maryland's Connector Program. 

 Our dynamic speakers will discuss the topic from different perspectives.  They include: 

  • Mara Youdelman, Managing Director of the DC office of the National Health Law Program (NHelp) will put Maryland's initiatives within the context of the ACA and national initiatives for language access and other key components.
  • Danielle Davis, Director of Communications, Outreach and Training at the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, will discuss the role of the new Connector Program in supporting the principles of cultural competency and health literacy, as well as training elements for cultural competency and health literacy.
  • Sheila Mackertich, Vice President of Health Reform Initiatives at HealthCare Access Maryland, will provide an "on the ground" perspective as the Connector Entity for  the Central Region, will provide information on the "on the ground" application of cultural competency and health literacy training and its impact on the communities HCAM will serve.   

Register Now! Need more information? Contact us.


Maryland Women's Coalition for Health Care Reform

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

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