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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!

Social Security Celebrates 78 Years of Helping Americans

On August 14th Social Security celebrates 78 years of never missing a single payment and helping millions of Americans live with dignity and honor.

Social Security was created during President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first term as the Old Age, Survivors and Disability Act, more commonly known today as the Social Security Act, with the mission to provide financial assistance to the most vulnerable in our country. It is a federal program that includes insurance and disability programs funded by payroll taxes.   Over the years, the Social Security Act has grown to provide several programs, including retirement insurance, unemployment benefits, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicare, Medicaid and Supplement Security Income, among others. The largest of its programs is the payment of retirement benefits. Retirement benefits are based upon individuals’ earning histories and the age at which they choose to retire. Once retirees choose to receive benefits, they receive a Social Security check each month.

Social Security is particularly important for Hispanics, who are disproportionately affected by poverty. In 2011, the median earnings of working-age Hispanics who worked full-time were about $30,000 compared to $42,000 for all working-age people. However, Social Security returns a greater percentage of pre-retirement earnings to a lower-wage worker than to a higher-wage worker. Additionally, due to their longer than average life spans, Hispanics especially benefit from Social Security’s annual cost of living and inflation protections.

While Social Security has undoubtedly provided economic security to millions of Americans since its inception, the program should be strengthened.  According to projections from its trustees, Social Security’s liabilities may exceed its funds by 2033. Policy-makers have a wide variety of options to support Social Security and keep it solvent.  For example, increasing the amount of income subject to the payroll tax, covering new state and local government employees, and passing comprehensive immigration reform can all keep Social Security solvent for decades beyond 2033.

Social Security is an essential program that helps us care for our fellow Americans. Therefore, NHCOA encourages everyone to work together to support and protect Social Security in order to ensure that it can continue to provide assistance to those in need.

The 48th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid

President Johnson signing Medicare and Medicaid into law on July 30, 1965.
President Johnson signing Medicare and Medicaid into law on July 30, 1965.

Today marks the 48th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing Medicare and Medicaid into law. At the time this law was signed, millions of Americans and approximately half of the country’s older adults did not have health care coverage, were unable to afford basic health care services or weather a medical emergency. In the nearly five decades since their inception, these programs have ensured that our nation’s older adults and most vulnerable have access to affordable health care. While Medicare and Medicaid were created together and are often referred to collectively, the programs each serve a unique purpose.

Medicare is a health insurance program offered by the federal government that helps eligible individuals pay for health care. Those who are eligible include individuals who are ages 65 and older; certain persons under 65 with disabilities and individuals with end stage renal disease. Medicare has four parts:

  • Part A: which covers hospitalization
  • Part B: which is health insurance
  • Part C: which includes Medicare Advantage plans – a combination of hospitalization coverage and health insurance (like HMOs and PPOs)
  • Part D: which covers prescriptions

Medicaid is a separate program that receives federal and state resources to help low income individuals cover their medical expenses. Some individuals are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. Medicaid is different in each state, which is why it’s important to contact your local office to obtain information and program benefits in your state.

Both of these programs are essential in caring for our fellow compatriots. However they have often been compromised due to health care fraud. Medicare fraud in particular is pervasive, robbing an estimated $60 billion each year from our older adults and taxpayers. While Medicare fraud affects everyone – from our padres y abuelitos (parents and grandparents) to our young taxpayers – Hispanic older adults are at a higher risk of being targeted by fraudsters due to their linguistic and cultural barriers, social isolation, lower income levels and lower education levels.

As a result, the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), with the support from the Administration on Aging, is working to protect our Hispanic older adults through the National Hispanic Senior Medicare Patrol (NHSMP) initiative, an offshoot of the federal government’s anti-Medicare fraud program.  The NHSMP Medicare fraud prevention campaign uses culturally and linguistically age-appropriate tools and resources to inform the community on how to detect, protect and report Medicare fraud.

NHCOA encourages everyone to work together to preserve the promise that we made to our older adults and other vulnerable individuals 48 years ago today – that Medicare and Medicaid will be protected so that they enjoy the best possible health.

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.

Sequestration and its role in the Hispanic community

Congress and President Obama are prepared to allow budget cuts to take effect March 1. Although Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will still provide the same benefits and not have their budgets cut, the budget of most other federal programs will be cut by millions of dollars if nothing is done.

The Sequester of the Budget Control Act (BCA) will sharply reduce the budget of most federal government programs. When it was enacted in 2011, the BCA set limits on the amount of money the federal government can spend on each program. Because Congress has not been able to identify cuts to federal spending, the Sequester, which is a provision of the BCA, will reduce the budget of most federal government funded programs starting on March 1st.

If Congress and President Obama fail to stop the Sequester, communities caring for the most vulnerable will feel the effect the most. Those vulnerable include many Hispanic older adults relying on home delivered meals, housing units, and rides the senior centers provide. In 2010, there were 2,781,624 Hispanic older adults in the United States. With that number continuing to grow, if the federal government cuts the budget for important programs such as Meals on Wheels, older adults will not be receiving the quality care they deserve in their golden years.

If Congress and President Obama can identify $1.2 trillion of budget cuts or agree to another budget deal, the Sequester can be avoided. The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) – the leading national organization working to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers – calls on Congress and President Obama to carefully develop a budget that would foster economic recovery and preserve programs for the most vulnerable. Programs that help older adults live a healthy and safe life are wise investments for current and future older adults in the United States.

NHCOA President and CEO Calls on Congressional Leaders to Protect Our Most Vulnerable

Washington, DC— Dr. Yanira Cruz, President and CEO of the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA)— the leading national organization working to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers— released the following remarks to call on further cooperation from Congressional leaders to put the nation’s finances in order, while protecting the country’s most vulnerable populations:
Continue reading “NHCOA President and CEO Calls on Congressional Leaders to Protect Our Most Vulnerable”

NHCOA Statement Regarding Signing Into Law of Temporary Debt Limit Deal

Urges Congress and President Obama to uphold promise made to our generations by protecting federal senior programs

Washington, DC– Dr. Yanira Cruz, NHCOA President and CEO, made the following remarks regarding the passage and enactment of a temporary debt ceiling deal:

“NHCOA is heartened by the passage of a debt ceiling deal and its promise to not place the burden of deficit reduction on lower-income and middle-class families. We applaud Congress and President Obama for reaching this temporary agreement that will protect and preserve Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for our older adults and their families.

“However, NHCOA believes that any changes made to these vital seniors programs should be subject to a fair, open, and bipartisan debate, which would be difficult to achieve in this current political climate. We need to stand behind our seniors and protect their needs and interests—not place more financial burden on their backs.
“Therefore, NHCOA is concerned with the conditions Congress proposed for the creation of a ‘super committee’, tasked with shaving another $1.5 trillion from the deficit by year’s end. Fast-tracking recommendations to cut these vital senior programs without an amendment process or more open debate, puts seniors and future generations in great peril and hinders real legislating.

“NHCOA redoubles its commitment in protecting the promise of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid so these programs continue to be a reality for our older adults and future generations, and urges Congressional leaders and President Obama to uphold them.”

NHCOA Joins Diverse Elders Coalition in Opposing Budget Cuts Affecting Seniors’ Ability to Age With Dignity

In Particular, Coalition Urges Congress and White House to Protect Diverse Elders

Washington, DC—The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA)— the leading organization working to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers— has joined its colleague members of the Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) in a joint letter opposing budget cuts to federal programs that benefit seniors, in particular diverse elders.

“As we face difficult decisions to solve our national budget issues, we must not do so at the expense of our older adults, who have done their part in protecting, strengthening, and ensuring the well being of the country through their hard and invaluable contributions,” said Dr. Yanira Cruz, NHCOA President and CEO.  “Particularly, we must consider diverse elders, who stand to suffer the most if these damaging reductions or cuts are enacted.”

In the letter signed by the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA), the National Association for Hispanic Elderly (ANPPM), the National Caucus & Center on Black Aged (NCBA), the National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA), the Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders (SAGE), and the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), the DEC urges President Obama and Congressional leaders to “strongly oppose cuts of any nature to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security in the budget and debt reduction discussions” as “putting seniors’ programs on the budget chopping block…would be a shortsighted, unjust, and detrimental approach to overcoming our financial strife in the long term.”

The letter goes on to express the DEC’s “concern about protecting programs that seniors and low-income individuals need to survive daily and provide for themselves,” such as the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

In closing, the DEC stresses that “we cannot continue to use these life-saving programs as political bargaining chips if we are truly serious about fixing our economic situation. There are many balanced approaches to containing government spending that do not require placing increased financial burden on the backs of our seniors. Therefore, it is time we stand behind our seniors and show them the respect and care they deserve.”

The Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) is a group of seven organizations working to improve the lives of racially and ethnically diverse older adults and LGBT seniors. Broadly speaking, the DEC works to promote elder economic security and employment as well as achieve health equity and eliminate health disparities among racially, ethnically diverse, and LGBT communities. Although its work is primarily focused on diverse groups, the issues DEC’s constituencies face reflect the shared challenges all Americans are confronted with in aging with dignity.

NHCOA Briefs Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) on Impact of Medicare, Medicaid & Older Americans Act Reauthorization on Hispanic Older Adults

Washington, DC — Dr. Yanira Cruz, NHCOA President and CEO, joined colleagues from the Latinos for a Secure Retirement and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) for a  Capitol Hill briefing with several Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on issues including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA). Following are Dr. Cruz’s prepared remarks:

“Good afternoon esteemed colleagues and honorable Members of Congress. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to brief you today.

“I will start by stating what we already know to be true, but needs to constantly be repeated: Hispanics stand to lose disproportionately if severe changes are made to Medicaid, Medicare, and the Older Americans Act as we seek fiscal responsibility and debt relief.

“Given that Latinos are the fastest aging segment of the U.S. aging population, the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), NCLR, and Latinos for a Secure Retirement are concerned for our community, particularly Hispanic older adults who will be most gravely affected.

“It’s been discussed at town hall meetings across the country – the American people clearly aren’t in favor of privatizing Medicare because of the increased financial burden it will place on seniors. This is especially true for our Hispanic older adults: 90% depend on this vital program for nearly all of their medical expenses. Additionally, many supplement their health care coverage with Medicaid, which provides a crucial safety net for low-income seniors, women, and children across the country.

“If Medicaid’s government matching funding mechanism is replaced by a block grant that places the financial burden on the states, Hispanic seniors are put at serious risk of falling into poverty and staying there indefinitely. People over 65 stay in the poverty the longest of any age group, and in 2009 nearly one fifth of Latino elders were poor.

“Furthermore, the Older Americans Act is due to be reauthorized this year. This act provides important and cost-effective services that are beneficial to Hispanic older adults.

“Particularly, the National Family Caregiver Support Program keeps seniors in their homes and off Medicaid. The NFCSP provides states with grants to provide family caregiver training and support groups, aid to caregivers in accessing services, and respite care services for caregivers.

“In 2007, the cost of replacing unpaid caregiving with paid services totaled $375 billion. Aside from the fact that the NFCSP has been proven to provide caregivers with the necessary tool to be able to assist their loved ones, it is especially beneficial to Hispanics because the care they receive is from a loved one, in a language they understand, and in a culturally sensitive manner.

“Additionally, NHCOA as part of the Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC), a group of seven national organizations dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for this country’s diverse aging communities, have included eight recommendations into the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations’ official “Consensus Recommendations for the 2011 Older Americans Act Reauthorization” that are specific to racially and ethnically diverse elders, as well as LGBT elders, and older adults with HIV/AIDS.

“The bottom line is that Latino elders stand to lose the most, as the health iniquities they face—such as disproportionate rates of hypertension and diabetes— are due to social and economic barriers they’ve experienced throughout the course of their lives: lower levels of education, lower per capita incomes, poorer employment prospects, and reduced access to long-term health care.

“We recognize that we need to find solid, meaningful solutions to our financial woes, but let’s not do it at the expense of the Hispanic community and our Hispanic older adults who have painstakingly contributed to the wellbeing and advancement of our families, communities, and larger society.

“We respectfully ask you to help us protect Medicare and Medicaid from being unfairly affected in the budget negotiations, particularly by opposing spending caps that will inevitably affect these vital safety nets and potentially Social Security.

“We also strongly urge that the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act be taken up and renewed this year with an increased $35 million in funding for the National Family Caregiver Support Program, as requested by President Obama; and the Diverse Elders Coalition’s recommendations to change language in the act itself that are specific to racially and ethnically diverse elders, as well as LGBT elders, and older adults with HIV/AIDS.

“Muchas gracias, we thank you for your time.”

Diverse Elders Coalition Sends Letter to Congress Opposing FY2012 Budget Resolution

Washington, DC–The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), the premier national organization working to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers, today submitted a joint letter to Members of Congress along with fellow members of the Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) expressing the group’s strong opposition to the FY2012 Budget Resolution approved by the House Budget Committee. The DEC is a group of seven organizations working to improve the lives of racially and ethnically diverse older adults and LGBT seniors by promoting economic security, health equity, and the elimination of health disparities.

Among the points DEC highlighted that would adversely impact diverse elders are the privatization of Medicare, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and shifting the cost of Medicaid to the states. Following, the text of letter:

April 14, 2011

United States House of Representatives United States Senate

Dear Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Reid, and the Honorable Members of Congress:

The Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) strongly opposes the Budget Resolution approved by the House Budget Committee for fiscal year 2012. The DEC, a group of seven organizations, works to improve the lives of racially and ethnically diverse older adults and LGBT older adults. Broadly speaking, we work to promote economic security during retirement as well as for health equity and the elimination of health disparities among racially, ethnically diverse, and LGBT communities. Although our work primarily targets select groups, the issues our constituencies face are not limited to their communities; health and economic security in old age are challenges everyone faces. Unfortunately, the FY 2012 budget resolution intensifies, rather than eases, the burdens of aging.

The FY 2012 budget resolution increases the cost of health care for which millions of older adults already struggle to pay:

•    The FY 2012 budget resolution privatizes Medicare. Starting in 2022, seniors will have to purchase health insurance on the open market, with the reformed Medicare providing only a voucher to cover some of the cost of the private insurance premium.

•    Under the current Medicare system, in the year 2030, a 65 year old would have to pay 25% of his or her health care costs. This amount, already a substantial expense for many seniors, would increase to 68% of health care costs under the FY 2012 budget resolution. Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office projects that health care costs will increase faster than the value of Medicare vouchers.

•    Social, economic, and health inequalities present throughout life tend to increase with age, as the effects of lower levels of education, poor employment prospects, and poor health accumulate over the course of life. For this reason the FY 2012 budget resolution is particularly harmful to the communities DEC represents.

•    The FY 2012 budget resolution would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Repeal of the ACA would have an incalculably negative impact on the health of the nation, particularly racially, ethnically diverse and LGBT communities. The ACA offers a variety of programs to reduce health inequities, so repealing it through adoption of the FY 2012 budget resolution would further harm groups that already disproportionately suffer from certain illnesses.

•    The FY 2012 budget resolution changes Medicaid to a block grant program and shifts costs to states. This will force states to find new ways of funding their Medicaid program, such as lowering Medicaid payments to health care providers, which in turn would make doctors less willing to treat Medicaid-receiving patients.

Representative Ted Deutch of Florida described the FY 2012 budget resolution as a “path to the poorhouse.” As the facts above illustrate, this is an apt description. Though the budget proposal may cut federal spending, it does so at the expense of those least able to afford such cuts. The FY 2012 Budget Resolution not only alters Medicare and Medicaid to offer less health care, it also makes that care more expensive. Please consider these facts and the real life impact they have for your constituents. Thank you.

Sincerely,

National Caucus and Center on Black Aged, Inc. (NCBA) National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders (SAGE) Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)