When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday.  About a third of those lived in poverty and there were few programs to meet there needs.  Interest in older Americans and their concerns was growing.  A meeting in April 1963 between President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens led to designating May as Senior Citizens Month, the prelude to Older Americans Month.

Historically, Older Americans month has been a time to acknowledge the contributions of the past and current older persons in our country, in particular those who defended our country.  Every president since Kennedy has issued a proclamation during and before the month of May asking that the entire nation pays tribute in some way to older persons in their communities.  Older Americans Month is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs and other activities.

Between 2012 and 2050, the United States will experience considerable growth in its older population growing from its current rate of 43.1 million Americans aged 65 an older to an estimated 83.7 million in 2050.

The aging of the population has wide ranging implications for the country from a policy standpoint.  By “aging” demographers often mean the proportion of the population in the older age’s increases.  As the United States continues to age, policy makers will be presented with challenges and programs such as Social Security and Medicare will no longer exist in their present form.  It will also affect families, businesses and health care providers.  We at MyLife encourage you to contact your representatives and demand that these programs stay fully funded.

MyLife is now CHAPS Accredited

We are happy to announce that MyLife is now CHAPs accredited!  CHAPs is the Community Health Accreditation Program.  CHAP is an independent, nonprofit, accrediting body for community-based health care organizations, which accredits nine programs and services. As the oldest national community-based accrediting body with more than 8,300 sites currently accredited, our purpose is to define and advance the highest quality of community-based care.

Through “deeming authority” granted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), CHAP has the regulatory authority to survey agencies providing home health, hospice and home medical equipment services to determine if they meet the Medicare Conditions of Participation and CMS Quality Standard.

Medicare patients finding hospital stays can be costly

(Reuters Health) – People on Medicare who spend one or two nights in the hospital are finding out, and often too late, that they weren’t really “admitted” to the hospital. This can be a costly discovery.

Even though they were in a bed in a hospital room, the hospital may have categorized them as being there for “observation,” rather than being formally “admitted.”

But patients being “observed” might face some unpleasant surprises when they leave the hospital.

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Urgent Notice for Seniors: The Medicare-Medicaid Alignment Initiative

Beginning January 1st, 2014, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services are unveiling a new benefits initiative that is designed to shift reimbursement dollars for providers thereby affecting services for their senior beneficiaries. The Alignment Initiative’s goal is to integrate the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  Partnering with States, health care providers, caregivers and beneficiaries, CMS (Medicare) will work to improve quality, and reduce costs.

Medicare and Medicaid programs differ in funding and scope of service.  Medicare primarily covers seniors and certain persons with disabilities with federal funds.   Medicaid covers persons with low income utilizing a combination of State and federal funds.  They both cover acute care but Medicaid also covers long term services and support.  The current outlay looks like this:

Medicare:  46 million seniors @ $424 Billion dollars.

Medicaid:  60 million seniors @ $330 Billion dollars.

Duals:           9 million seniors @ $120.5 Billion dollars.

“Duals” are individuals, eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.  They are only 15% of the Medicaid population but account for almost 40% of the spending.   They are 16% of the Medicare population but account for 25% of the spending. This is clearly the population that costs the most money and the Medicare- Medicaid Alignment Initiative is specifically intended to shift most, if not all this population into a Medicaid managed care environment.

Enrollment has begun.  Eligible “dual” beneficiaries will be notified of their right to select one of the “demonstration plans”.  If a person doesn’t want to be part of the demonstration they need to respond to that notice indicating their choice to stay with Medicare which we highly encourage if your particular situation warrants it.  By electing to stay with Medicare, seniors will continue to get services that they are accustomed to including greater access to physicians, specialists and, perhaps, more importantly home health services which help alow you to live comfortably in “your” home .

Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, eligible beneficiaries who didn’t respond will be “passively” enrolled in demonstration plans.  They will be notified of the plan and given 60 days to opt out.  If they don’t opt out, then they will be covered by the new demonstration plan.  There will be a process for disenrollment if you choose.  Know your rights.  Know your options.

For questions, please call 866-497-6900