Building Capacity to Provide Behavioral Health Services to Dual Eligibles

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched the Financial Alignment Initiative (the Initiative) to improve the quality of care received by low-income adults who are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid — known as dual eligibles. Many of these individuals have unmet behavioral health needs, ranging from mild depression to serious mental illness, like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. A recent update on the Initiative presented to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission highlighted four challenges to providing behavioral health services …

Gaining New Ground: Solutions for Financing Long-Term Services & Supports

There is little dispute that the cost of long-term services and supports (LTSS) is daunting. The typical cost for care in a nursing home is about $91,250 a year, and the average annual base price for assisted living is $43,200. Few people can accumulate sufficient savings, even over a lifetime, to cover the costs. Most people rely on their families and friends for the bulk of their LTSS needs. Yet, family caregivers cannot do it all, and in the future, …

Covering Low-Income Midlife Adults Through Medicaid: Making Progress, but More States Need to Take the Plunge

The Affordable Care Act — as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court — gives states the option to expand Medicaid. Access to Medicaid significantly reduces the number of uninsured in this country. Since the expansion began, millions of individuals are receiving coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Yet, 19 states have not expanded Medicaid coverage, potentially leaving almost 2 million low-income midlife adults (ages 45-64) without access to insurance coverage. Being uninsured is especially hard on adults …

Can You Afford the Health Care You Need?

Imagine this: You’ve been unemployed for a year and, as a result, don’t have health insurance. You have type 2 diabetes. You need blood tests, but they cost $600 and you can’t afford that. You have a broken tooth that you can’t get fixed. You want to work, but no matter how hard you try, you haven’t been able to find a job. Unfortunately, nearly 3 million hardworking Americans may face scenarios like this. When the decision to expand affordable …

States Simplify Medicaid Sign-Ups

Getting on Medicaid has never been so easy. In the past two years, 31 states and the District of Columbia have expanded eligibility for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, but even more have simplified sign-ups and renewals, according to a 50-state survey released Jan. 21. For example, 49 states this year take applications for Medicaid by telephone, up from 15 in 2013, reports the Kaiser Family Foundation. (KHN is an editorially independent program of the foundation.) All but one state …

Measuring Quality in Long-Term Services and Supports: National Core Indicators — Aging and Disabilities

Millions of older people and adults with disabilities receive services in their own homes and communities, but little is known about their quality of care or quality of life. However, an exciting and relatively new assessment called the National Core Indicators — Aging and Disabilities (NCI-AD) is emerging that could begin to fill this data void. The Consumer Experience NCI-AD is a consumer-experience survey that includes a background survey, which gathers data about the consumer from agency records. It also contains …