My Employment Options will hold a free September 28, 2020 Online Job Fair for their Ticket to Work clients, job-seekers with disabilities or other challenges, and anyone else who wants to attend. Both work-at-home and on-site jobs will be included. Find details and registration at https://www.myemploymentoptions.com/register-for-virtual-job-fair/.
Find the Social Security Administration’s introduction to the Ticket to Work program at https://choosework.ssa.gov/about/how-it-works/index.html.
CMS has prepared a press release summarizing the steps that Medicare has taken in Oregon to help make health care available to wildfire victims, including opening special enrollment periods to allow out-of-season initiations or changes to Medicare coverage, various kinds of assistance to healthcare facilities, and help to displaced dialysis patients. Find the press release at https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-offers-comprehensive-support-oregon-due-wildfires.
Dialysis Patient Citizens will present a September 24, 2020 Spanish-language webinar on Manejando Mi Glucosa En Sangre Cuando Tengo Enfermedad Renal (Managing My Blood Glucose When I Have Kidney Disease), covering carbohydrates and their effect on blood glucose, how much carbs to eat, and how to avoid high and low blood glucose extremes. Find more information below, and register for this and future DPC webinars at https://www.dpcedcenter.org/news-events/education-webinars/.
Upcoming DPC webinars include:
- Things to Know About Medicare Advantage’s First Open Enrollment for Dialysis Patients – October 22, 2020,
- Looking Out for the Caregiver: Understanding the People Who Care for Dialysis Patients – November 19, 2020,
- Coping with the Holidays – December 17, 2020.
The CMS National Training Program includes a wide variety of webinars, slide decks, recorded videos, and CE offerings on a spectrum of Medicare-related topics. Browse their list of topics at https://cmsnationaltrainingprogram.cms.gov/browse-topics?q=browse-topics&name=E. One of their slide decks is called Medicare for People with ESRD, with sections on eligibility, enrollment, coverage, options, and additional resources. Find Medicare for People with ESRD at https://cmsnationaltrainingprogram.cms.gov/?combine=ESRD%20Networks&q=global-search.
MEI’s Home Dialysis Central blog has published a post on Insurance 101 for Dialysis Social Workers. The objective is to help assure that people with Chronic Kidney Failure avoid inaccurate advice that can be very costly. The complexity is remarkable – even insurance experts should review the article for anything they may have overlooked. Find the post at https://homedialysis.org/news-and-research/blog/367-insurance-101-for-dialysis-social-workers.
Just a few examples:
- You must have paid Social Security taxes for a specific length of time to be eligible for Medicare to cover treatment for chronic kidney failure.
- Medicare coverage starts in month 4 for in-center dialysis, but starts in month 1 for home dialysis.
- Medicare part A is free, but it’s Part B that pays for dialysis, and it’s not free.
- If you don’t sign up for Medicare Part B or D when you’re first eligible for part A, you’ll pay a lot more for them.
- A few of the terms and acronyms that complicate matters: work credits, Medicare Advantage, Medigap, Medicaid, Medi-Cal, primary payer, Medicare assignment, MA, QMD, SLMB, COBRA, QHP, ACA.
A number of organizations have been hosting weekly webinars on COVID-19. This week:
- ESRD NCC half-hour “Quickinars” for patients and providers, 2-2:30 pm PDT. Find the latest information, recordings of past Quickinars, and register for current presentations at https://esrdncc.org/quickinars.
- Tuesday, June 23, 2020 Quickinar for patients on Kidney Patient Financial Help: Before, During, and After COVID-19.
- Wednesday, June 24, 2020 Quickinar for providers on COVID-19 Dialysis Unit Strategies.
- This week’s CMS Stakeholder Engagement Calls:
For recordings of past events, see https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Outreach/OpenDoorForums/PodcastAndTranscripts.
The Medical Education Institute has published a Home Dialysis Central blog post on Medicare Waivers: The Best Kept Secret in Dialysis Home Health Care, which describes a program that allows people who don’t normally qualify for Medicaid, but who have fragile health, to get Medicaid funding for home care anyway. The program doesn’t cover dialysis itself, but it does cover home health care aides and other useful services. State agencies administer waiver programs that help seniors and people with disabilities, to ensure that these vulnerable populations can live independently in their homes and communities, and/or age in place. Thanks to these waivers, states can provide services to their residents that wouldn’t usually be covered by Medicaid. If you are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, you can have and use both for the services you need. The services they cover are not always the same. For example, Medicaid offers coverage for things like personal care services while Medicare does not. Find the MEI blog post at https://homedialysis.org/news-and-research/blog/346-medicare-waivers-the-best-kept-secret-in-dialysis-home-health-care.
As of today, HICNs are still being used to identify patients on 14% of Medicare claims. Starting in four weeks, these claims will be returned, as MBIs are required after December 31, 2019. Find all the information you need on the conversion to MBIs at https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNMattersArticles/downloads/SE18006.pdf.
Home Dialysis Central has published a new blog post describing various insurance plans and how individuals in various situations can manage them to minimize the cost of dialysis, called Fact Sheet on Health Plans & Tips to Save Money on Dialysis Health Care. Find the blog post at https://homedialysis.org/news-and-research/blog/334-fact-sheet-on-health-plans-tips-to-save-money-on-dialysis-health-care and a pdf poster of the table of plans/situations and tips, at https://homedialysis.org/documents/Health-Plan-Status-&-Tips-BW-10-25-2019.pdf.
This year’s Medicare Open Enrollment Period spans October 15 to December 7, 2019. To review your options in English or Spanish, see https://www.medicare.gov/plan-compare/#/.