Reading Help

Day Ten: There is still time to get covered for 2015!

Over the next 12 days, we will be sharing daily posts to motivate you to think about your health and well-being during the holiday season. Some posts will focus on handy tips, while others will offer a reflexion. We hope these words will inspire you and we invite you to share them with friends, neighbors and family.  

12 Dias-25

While December 15 was the deadline to start coverage on January 1, there is still time to get enrolled in the Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment for 2015. Open Enrollment ends February 15, and depending on when you enroll, your coverage could start February 1 or March 1.

If you are new to the Marketplace and want to enroll online, check out the 2015 plans to find the one that best suits your needs and budget. Now you are ready to get covered!

If you enrolled last year, you will be automatically enrolled into your current plan, or a similar one, so you will be continue to be covered starting January 1. However, if you compare your current plan to those being offered in 2015— and find one you like better— you can switch plans as long as you take action by February 15, 2015.

To update your information or change plans, log into your healthcare.gov account and make the necessary changes. If you want to change plans, and keep your information the same, click on “My Plans & Programs.”

If you have a loved one who needs in-person assistance in Spanish and lives in Miami-Dade County, Florida or Dallas County, Texas, please contact the state and federal-certified NHCOA Navigators.

Otherwise, call the Marketplace at 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325) or find local help here.

Recursos Navegadores NHCOA-03

http://www.nhcoa.org/blog/recursos-de-navegadores-nhcoa-para-la-comunidad/

Day Two: Take control of your health by getting covered!

Over the next 12 days, we will be sharing daily posts to motivate you to think about your health and well-being during the holiday season. Some posts will focus on handy tips, while others will offer a reflexion. We hope these words will inspire you and we invite you to share them with friends, neighbors and family. 

12 Dias-25

You have heard a lot about the Health Insurance Marketplace and the Affordable Care Act, especially this week as we approach the deadline to sign up or re-enroll for coverage starting January 1, 2015. Therefore, it’s important to make a clear distinction: those who review their options and enroll or re-enroll by tomorrow (December 15) will be covered starting the New Year. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t get covered for 2015.

The Open Enrollment Period runs through February 15, 2015. The difference between enrolling before or after December 15 is the month in which your coverage would start. As previously mentioned, if you enroll by tomorrow, December 15, your health care coverage will kick in January 1, 2015. If you enroll after December 15, your coverage would start in February or March, depending on the exact enrollment date.

This means that you could uninsured for several weeks. This is why we recommend reviewing your options and enrolling by tomorrow, December 15. If you live in Miami-Dade County, FL or Dallas County, TX our federal and state-certified NHCOA Navigators can assist you at no cost. While our Navigators specifically conduct outreach to the Spanish-speaking populations within these two counties, they are bilingual and prepared to guide you through the enrollment process.

You can also get the word out by sharing these Spanish language materials with your social media networks:

Recursos Navegadores NHCOA-03

NHCOA Encourages Latinos to Commit to End AIDS

nlaad-logoTo end AIDS, commit to act.

This is the theme for the 11th annual National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD), which is observed yearly on October 15 at the end of Hispanic Heritage Month.

This awareness day was created in response to the impact of HIV/AIDS on the U.S. Latino community, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and this year the call action is centered around three main messages:

Get the Facts About HIV

Myths, stigma, and lack of targeted education makes Latinos less aware of how to protect themselves from the virus. This is concerning because Hispanics are disproportionately affected by HIV: Latinos represent 16% of the U.S. population and 21% of all new HIV infections.

Get Tested for HIV

1 in 6 people living with HIV in the U.S. do not know they are infected, which contributes to the rates of new infections. Further, studies show that one in 36 Latino men and one in 106 Latina women will be diagnosed with HIV at some point in life.

Get Into and Stay in Medical Care if you are HIV+

The best way to fight against HIV if you are infected is to get into what is called the HIV care continuum or treatment cascade— a model that agencies at every level use to identify issues and opportunities related to improving the delivery of services to HIV+ positive patients who are receiving treatment.

“HIV is a serious matter for the entire country, especially the Hispanic community, which is disproportionately affected. That is why NHCOA committed to doing our part in ending AIDS. Through our work with the CDC’s Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative, we are helping to reduce the rates of HIV in hard-to-reach and diverse communities,” said Dr. Yanira Cruz, NHCOA President and CEO.

“While our focus is on the Latino senior population, we cannot begin to address the issue of HIV without looking at the big picture: Hispanic older adults’ families and caregivers. This intergenerational approach allows us to understand what the most effective practices and strategies are when it comes to reaching hard-to-reach seniors, as well as promote cross generational dialogue and education.”

“Specifically, we leverage the strong connections, leadership, and influence Latino seniors have within their families, communities, and places of worship and leisure by offering culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach and education focused on intergenerational storytelling and dialogue to break the silence and eliminate the stigma.”

What you can do on National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD)

Get the Facts. Start a conversation at home, or with a loved one, on HIV/AIDS.

Get Tested. If you are sexually active, ask your healthcare provider for an HIV test during annual check ups. [Under the ACA, most new health insurance plans must cover certain recommended preventive services, including HIV testing.]

Join the Conversation. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #NLAAD to be part of the ongoing conversation. [Need some more information? Check out our 2014 NLAAD materials for inspiration.]

Medicare Open Enrollment Starts Tomorrow!

Fall is an exciting time of the year — hayrides, crisp weather, and the holiday season is around the corner. As we swap out our t-shirts for pull-overs in preparation for the colder months ahead, the Fall season is also an opportunity for Medicare beneficiaries to reflect on their current health insurance and assess whether or not they should explore other coverage options.
The status of our health can change significant from one year to the next, as can our life situation. For this reason, Medicare offers several options for its beneficiaries to choose that can best suit their needs and preferences. While having a variety of options is necessary given that each person’s condition is unique, it can also be confusing and overwhelming.
Let’s take a look at what Medicare Open Enrollment is and how to take advantage of this yearly opportunity Medicare offers its beneficiaries.

Take advantage of the Medicare Open Enrollment period.

This month review your Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage plan by answering the following questions:
  • Does this plan still meet my Medicare and healthcare needs?
  • Has my health condition changed much since last year?
  • Have I moved to another state or city?
  • Will my plan be available for 2015?
Also, if you already have a Medicare Part D plan, you should look back over your 2014 plan and make an enrollment decision for your coverage for 2015. Should you stay with your existing coverage or make a change? If you make no decision, you will remain in the same plan as you elected in 2014. If you are satisfied that your current plan will meet their needs for next year, you don’t need to do anything. If you don’t have Part D, consider if you should enroll for 2015.

Medicare Open Enrollment is only once a year.

The Medicare Open Enrollment period is October 15 through December 7. During this time period you can review your health care coverage and decide if you need to make any changes for your coverage next year. Conversely, if you are happy with your current plan and it is still being offered next year, you don’t need to do anything.
Medicare consists of four parts: A, B, C and D. The first two parts is what is referred to as Original Medicare (Parts A and B). Original Medicare is offered directly through Medicare and includes hospital insurance (Part A) and health insurance (Part B). Part C is similar coverage, the key difference being that it is offered through private companies. Therefore, a Medicare beneficiary either has Original Medicare or Part C (also known as Medicare Advantage) to cover their hospitalization and health insurance needs. During Open Enrollment a beneficiary can choose to switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan or move from one Advantage plan to another.
Finally, there is Part D, which is a voluntary program that subsidizes the costs of prescription drugs and prescription drug insurance premiums for Medicare beneficiaries. This keeps seniors healthier and ultimately reduces costs to the Medicare system.

Enrollment in Medicare Part D is voluntary.

While Medicare Part D is a voluntary program, the downside to not enrolling is that you may be subject to a life-time premium penalty when you do decide to enroll in a Part D plan. However, the cost-saving benefit and access to the proper medicine if and when you need them are far greater than the penalty.

What if I like my 2014 coverage? What do I do now?

If you are satisfied that your current plan will meet your needs for next year, you do not need to do anything. If you miss the 2014 open enrollment period, your next chance to enroll is October 2015 for coverage in January 2016.

For more information, visit www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Open Enrollment and Medicare Part D

It’s Time! Medicare Open Enrollment Period Is Fast Approaching

shutterstock_184856234phrma_2012logoIt is that time of the year when beneficiaries review Medicare Plan D prescription drug plan options and ask questions about different plans. For 2015 coverage, the open enrollment period runs from October 15 – December 7, 2014. 

What is Medicare Part D?

Medicare Part D, also called the Medicare prescription drug benefit, is a voluntary federal-government program to subsidize the costs of prescription drugs and prescription drug insurance premiums for Medicare beneficiaries in the United States. The program is administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Private insurance carriers implement the various Medicare Part D plans across the country under the direction of CMS. Because various carriers administer the plans, it is important to compare them in order to get the best value. As of 2012, 37.4 million beneficiaries were enrolled in Medicare Part D.

Why is Medicare Part D important? 

Medicare Part D is a voluntary program. While no one is obligated to enroll into the prescription drug plans, its savings and virtues far outweigh its costs and detriments

Medicare Part D gives older Americans access to prescription drugs at an affordable cost. Additionally, it provides access to the affordable medicines older Americans need and in turn, keeps them healthier –which directly reduces costs to the Medicare system. The Journal of the American Medical Association found that improved access and adherence to medicines through Part D saves Medicare about $1,200 in hospital, nursing home, and other costs in the first two years of the program. That adds up to about $13 billion in total savings.

The downside to not enrolling is that a beneficiary may be subject to a life-time premium penalty when he/she decides to later enroll in a Medicare Part D plan. The beneficiary will be assessed the penalty if s/he does not have some other source of creditable coverage, at least as comprehensive as the Part D benefit, such a retiree coverage through a previous employer. The accrued benefits of having cost savings and access to the proper medicine if/when you need them are far greater than the costs presented.

What are the important dates to remember? 

  • October 1, 2014 – Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan Marketing Activities can begin for the 2015 Part D plans – At this time you will be able to once again gather information and evaluate the various Part D plan alternatives.

NOTE: no enrollments may be accepted before October 15, 2014 for 2015 plans. 

  • October 15 to December 7, 2014 – Annual Coordinated Election Period – Here is your chance to join a Medicare Part D plan for the 2015 plan year (however your plan will not take effect until January 1, 2015). If you already have a Medicare Part D plan, this is your time to look back over 2014 and make an enrollment decision for your coverage for 2015.
  • Should you stay with your existing coverage or make a change? If you make no decision, you will remain in the same plan as you elected in 2014. If you are satisfied that your current plan will meet their needs for next year, you don’t need to do anything. 

HOWEVER: If you do nothing, and do not enroll during this period, your next chance for coverage is January 2016. 

  • January 1, 2015 – Your new Medicare Part D plan becomes effective and you will be able to begin using your Part D benefits (your old plan will automatically be discontinued).
  • January 1 to February 14, 2015 – Members of Medicare Advantage Plans may Dis-enroll from their Medicare Advantage Plan returning to Original Medicare and select a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan.
  • January 1 to December 31, 2015 – Persons turning 65 can enroll in a 2015 Medicare Part D Plan. Medicare beneficiaries also enrolled in Medicaid recipients can enroll or change their enrollment in a 2015 Medicare Part D Plan and individuals who become eligible because of a disability may enroll over the course of the year.

Where can I get more information? 

NHCOA encourages you to consider reviewing your Medicare drug or health care plan, but it is not mandatory. For more information, visit www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Download a one-page FAQ here.

El periodo de inscripción abierta de Obamacare terminó…¿ahora qué?

Como habrán visto en las noticias, escuchado en la radio o comentado en la calle, el plazo para conseguir cobertura médica a través del Mercado de Seguros Médicos se venció ayer, 31 de marzo, a la medianoche. Para aquellos quienes pudieron tramitar su aplicación y elegir su plan médico fabuloso, para usted todo está bien.

Sin embargo hay miles de personas quienes por varios motivos no pudieron finalizar el proceso de aplicación. 

IMPORTANTE

Si esto le ocurrió a Ud., a una amistad o ser querido, es muy importante que sepa que aún es posible que pueda conseguir cobertura médica para este año.

Sabemos que a pesar de sus mejores esfuerzos pudo haber experimentado retrasos por el tráfico pesado en la página web www.cuidadodesalud.gov, o en el centro telefónico de servicio al cliente.

Si esto le ocurrió, no se preocupe y siga los pasos a continuación. 

Por Internet

Localice su aplicación en www.cuidadodesalud.gov y finalice el proceso. (Tendrá que confirmar que intentó inscribirse antes del 31 de marzo.)

Por Teléfono

Llame a la línea central de Mercado de Seguros Médicos al 1-800-318-2596 para que le ayuden a terminar de inscribirse. (Debe informarle al representante que ha estado intentando inscribirse.)

En Persona

Si se encuentra en el Condado de Miami-Dade, FL o el Condado de Dallas, TX visite las oficinas de los Navegadores Certificados NHCOA:

 

Navegadores NHCOA en el Condado de Miami-Dade

Abriendo Puertas (Pequeña Havana)

1401 SW Primera Calle

Miami, FL 33135

Teléfono:  305-407-2875

 

Navegadores NHCOA en el Condado de Dallas

14934 Webb Chapel Rd, Suite 22

Dallas, TX 75234

Teléfono: 214-296-4964

 

Recuerde: Si no tiene cobertura médica mínima, tendrá que pagar una multa al presentar su declaración de impuestos del 2014 o presentar comprobante de que aplicó al mercado de salud, no tuvo cobertura y fue exento de pagar la multa.

¡No deje pasar la oportunidad de tener la cobertura médica que necesite!

Dos opciones para inscribirse en Obamacare fuera del periodo de inscripción abierta

A pesar de que el plazo de la inscripción abierta se venció ayer, hay dos maneras de conseguir cobertura médica a través del Mercado de Seguros Médicos si cumple con los requisitos:

Periodo Especial de Inscripción

Fuera del periodo de inscripción abierta, es posible conseguir un plan médico a través del Mercado de Seguros Médico en un periodo especial de inscripción sólo si cumple con dos situaciones:

Uno es lo que se denomina “cambios de vida” debido a un evento calificado. Esto puede ser casarse, tener un bebé, mudarse a un área nuevo o perder su cobertura médica actual.

El otro es por circunstancias especiales como errores en el sistema o su inscripción, o por circunstancias excepcionales como una enfermedad grave o un desastre natural que lo impidió inscribirse en el periodo abierto.

Estas son las instrucciones para inscribirse en un periodo especial de inscripción.

 

Medicaid y CHIP

El Programa de Seguro Médico para Niños (conocido por sus siglas en inglés como CHIP) y el Medicaid son programas estatales y federales que ofrecen cobertura médica a millones de estadounidenses con bajos ingresos y ciertas personas discapacitadas. Uno puede aplicar para estos programas en cualquier momento si califica ya que no tienen un periodo de inscripción.

Las calificaciones para entrar a estos programas varían por estado, sus ingresos, el tamaño de su familia, entre otros factores. Recuerde que aunque Ud. no califique para el Medicaid, sus hijos podrían calificar para cobertura a través de CHIP.

Aquí hay más información sobre cómo aplicar para Medicaid y CHIP en su estado.

Recuerde: Si no tiene cobertura médica mínima, tendrá que pagar una multa al presentar su declaración de impuestos del 2014 o presentar comprobante de que aplicó al mercado de salud, no tuvo cobertura y fue exento de pagar la multa.

¡No deje pasar la oportunidad de tener la cobertura médica que necesite!

NHCOA to Discuss Health Reform Advocacy in Diverse Community at AiA14

By Jason Coates, Public Policy Associate

This week, the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) will be in San Diego for the 2014 American Society on Aging (ASA) Conference to talk about the importance of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for diverse communities, including Hispanic older adults.  The presentation entitled Health Reform Advocacy and Engagement in Communities of Color and LGBT Communities will cover lessons learned, opportunities, and challenges within these populations as they seek to lead full, healthy lives through the benefits of the ACA.

Many Latinos struggle to age in good health due to factors such as economic insecurity and cultural and linguistic barriers.  At NHCOA, we see the implementation of the ACA as a tremendous opportunity to improve the health of Latino seniors because many are uninsured.  More than one-in-four Latinos do not have health insurance.  And, although Medicare provides nearly universal coverage, about 5% of Hispanic seniors are uninsured.  The lack of health insurance harms Latinos, who already face high rates of poverty, and makes health care more expensive for them.

By providing subsidies and low-cost health insurance options, the ACA can help Hispanics of all ages become more familiar with the health care system, especially those with limited English speaking ability that are often isolated from mainstream communications.  NHCOA has trained health insurance marketplace navigators to enroll Latinos in health coverage in two counties with high monolingual populations: Dallas County, Texas and Miami-Dade County, Florida.

Even though these navigators are local community leaders who speak Spanish, many people were reluctant to sign up at first because of the confusion and misinformation that is associated with government programs.  One of the main barriers faced when working with a monolingual population is establishing a relationship based on respect and trust.  This takes time and outreach must be conducted in familiar, trusted settings.  The success of NHCOA navigators is rooted in their cultural and linguistic competence and ability to earn the trust of those they serve.  As Hispanic seniors become a growing part of America’s older adult population, effectively reaching and serving this community is becoming increasingly important.

This is just one area we will highlight during the presentation. We look forward to sharing our insights and hope to see you in San Diego! (And if you can’t join us in person, be sure to follow news and comments from the conference with the hashtag #AiA14).

 

Presentation details at a glance:

 Health Reform Advocacy and Engagement in Communities of Color and LGBT Communities

Date: Friday, March 14, 2014 from 1:00 – 2:30 PM
PST

Room: Cortez Hill B (3rd floor, Seaport Tower)

Event Format: 90-minute Workshop

Event Category: Policy & Advocacy — Healthcare Reform

Book Code: FR345

 

Speakers:

  • Introduction from Christine Takada, President & CEO of the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA)
  • Bryan Pacheco, National Coordinator of the Diverse Elders Coalition
  • Randella Bluehouse, Executive Director of the National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA)
  • Robert Espinoza, Senior Director of Public Policy & Communications of Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)
  • Jason Coates, Policy Associate of the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA)

 

The Affordable Care Act Prompts New Medicare Fraud

Later this month, Medicare and Medicaid will celebrate 48 years of helping people across the country access affordable health care. While Medicare and Medicaid have helped countless people over the years, scammers have often used these programs as a means of targeting our society’s most vulnerable through health care fraud.

Medicare fraud in particular is not new, and thanks to increased federal and lay vigilance, many scammers and their corresponding schemes have been shut down.  However, scammers are constantly developing new methods to manipulate the system. One common thread in today’s new Medicare fraud schemes is incorporating the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Since ACA passed in 2009, a new crop of scams have popped up and prey on seniors’ uncertainty concerning the legislation’s changes to Medicare.

Among this new generation of Medicare fraud are three common schemes:

1. New federal health insurance card: In this scam, fraudsters call seniors and tell them that they are among the first to be selected to receive a new federal health insurance card under ACA. However, in order for the card to be issued, the senior must provide personal information, such as their social security and bank account numbers.

Reality: There is no national health insurance card. The scammers are using the mandate requiring all Americans to have health insurance as a way to intimidate seniors and scare them into divulging their personal information to receive this fraudulent health insurance card.

2. Telemarketing scams: Fraudulent telemarketers take advantage of Medicare Open Enrollment season coinciding with health insurance exchange enrollment. By using terms such as “Obamacare,” fraudsters prey on seniors’ uncertainty of ACA changes.

Reality: Few changes were made in regards to federal health care for seniors. The insurance exchange does not impact Medicare in any way.

3. Fake websites: Many fake websites proclaiming to sell “Obamacare” are popping up online and asking for seniors’ personal information.

Reality: If you or a loved one needs information regarding health insurance exchange, only use the government’s dedicated website: www.healthcare.gov. Conducting a general internet search may result in a slew of fraudulent websites.

Perhaps most importantly, it’s crucial to always verify the identity of any solicitors before giving personal information, especially during this time of new Medicare scams.

As a result of Medicare fraud, and its disproportionate impact on Hispanic older adults, the National Hispanic Council on Aging developed the National Hispanic Senior Medicare Patrol – a Medicare fraud prevention program that uses linguistically, culturally and age-appropriate outreach and education to help Hispanic older adults to detect, protect and report fraud. If you suspect that you or a loved one has been a victim of Medicare fraud, please call 1-866-488-7379 or visit http://programs.nhcoa.org/medicare/ for more information.

HHS: Countdown to Affordable Health Insurance

By Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services

Reposted from HealthCare.Gov – January 16, 2013

January is the perfect month for looking forward to new and great things around the corner.

I’m feeling that way about the new Health Insurance Marketplace. Anticipation is building, and this month we start an important countdown, first to October 1, 2013, when open enrollment begins, and continuing on to January 1, 2014, the start of new health insurance coverage for millions of Americans. In October, many of you’ll be able to shop for health insurance that meets your needs at the new Marketplace at HealthCare.gov.

This is an historic time for those Americans who never had health insurance, who had to go without insurance after losing a job or becoming sick, or who had been turned down because of a pre-existing condition. Because of these new marketplaces established under the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans will have new access to affordable health insurance coverage.

Over the last two years we’ve worked closely with states to begin building their health insurance marketplaces, also known as Exchanges, so that families and small-business owners will be able to get accurate information to make apples-to-apples comparisons of private insurance plans and, get financial help to make coverage more affordable if they’re eligible.

That is why we are so excited about launching the newly rebuilt HealthCare.gov website, where you’ll be able to buy insurance from qualified private health plans and check if you are eligible for financial assistance — all in one place, with a single application. Many individuals and families will be eligible for a new kind of tax credit to help lower their premium costs. If your state is running its own Marketplace, HealthCare.gov will make sure you get to the right place.

The Marketplace will offer much more than any health insurance website you’ve used before. Insurers will compete for your business on a level playing field, with no hidden costs or misleading fine print.

It’s not too soon to check out HealthCare.gov for new information about the Marketplace and tips for things you can do now to prepare for enrollment.  And, make sure to sign up for emails or text message updates, so you don’t miss a thing when it’s time to enroll.

There is still work to be done to make sure the insurance market works for families and small businesses. But, for millions of Americans, the time for having the affordable, quality health care coverage, security, and peace of mind they need and deserve is finally within sight.