MORx – Encouraging Words From State Senate (Update)


Monday, April 9th, 2018

During the last legislative session, the rules of eligibility for the MO Rx program were changed. Previously, seniors who qualified under Medicare rules were eligible for the program. The change required that seniors be qualified under both Medicare and Medicaid guidelines. As a result, 60,000 seniors lost prescription drug assistance under the MO Rx program.

Two outcomes are likely as a result of this massive change. One scenario is that seniors who are unable to afford their prescription medications will realize worsening medical problems until they become acute and may be faced with more extensive nursing home care. Another scenario is that seniors may try to pay for these prescriptions on their own and spend themselves into Medicaid.

(During last week’s legislative discussions, the Missouri State Senate indicated that they will try to restore funds for MORx to the budget and then work out details in conference committee with the Missouri House.

Contact your state senator today to help preserve these important program changes.

MA4 supports the Senate’s intended approach to SB 563 which fully restores the MO Rx program to its previous eligibility standards and covers both Medicare and dual-eligible seniors. We encourage you to contact your representative to discuss the following important points:

  • Ma4 supports MO Rx because it is vital in providing medication access to 240,000 eligible seniors and individuals with disabilities in Missouri. 
  • MO Rx does this by paying 50% of out-of-pocket costs for medications that are covered by a senior’s Medicare Part D plan, including the cost of the deductible and co-payments.  
  • Moreover, MO Rx continues to provide benefits when seniors are in the Medicare Part D coverage gap, also known as the “donut hole.” 
  • To qualify for MO Rx: must be a Missouri resident; enrolled in a Medicare Part D Plan and single — with an annual gross household income of $21,660 or less or married — with an annual income of $29,140 or less.
    • The Area Agencies on Aging work to help keep seniors healthy and independent and able to live in their communities for as long as possible. Proper medication management is key to this, as it helps seniors manage their chronic illnesses. This, in turn, reduces the cost to the state for nursing home care and for other services.
    • It is estimated 12% of nursing home admissions and 10% of hospital admissions are due to medication non-compliance.
    • While seniors comprise 13% of the US population they utilize more than 25% of all prescription drugs. One in five (5) elderly takes at least five (5) prescriptions per day. So this program is vital to this population.
    • And with increasing costs of prescription drugs, Mo Rx is becoming even more critical to Missouri’s seniors.
    • According to a report in America’s Health Insurance Plans Solutions Smart Brief (3/28/18) prices for 20 of the most commonly prescribed brand-name drugs for Medicare Part D recipients rose 12% annually from 2012 to 2017, almost 10 times higher than the average annual inflation rate. The cost of the drugs, which include brands like Advair, Crestor, Lyrica and Nexium, all increased an average of 12 percent every year for five years — nearly 10-times higher than the rate of inflation, the report found. Twelve of those drugs saw their prices increase by more than 50 percent in the five-year period. Six of the 20 had prices increases of over 100 percent.
    • MO Rx protects Missouri’s seniors from having to make a choice between filling their prescriptions or buying food or other necessities.

 Senate Appropriations Committee Members

Senator Dan Brown, 16th,

Chairman Senator Mike Cunningham, 33rd

Senator S. Kiki Curls, 9th

Senator Dan Hegeman, 12th

Senator Jason Holsman, 7th

Senator Denny Hoskins, 21st

Senator Jamilah Nasheed, 5th

Senator Caleb Rowden, 19th

Senator David Sater, 29th

Senator Rob Schaaf, 34th

Senator Wayne Wallingford, 27th

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New Language Proposed For Senior Tax Credit Bill – SB567


Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

New language has been proposed for SB567, a bill that provides tax credit reimbursement for owners and renters of primary residences who meet minimum income thresholds. A thorough examination of the impacts of the new language is not yet available. The substitute was offered on March 27, 2018.

CLICK HERE FOR A COPY OF THE CURRENT VERSION OF THE PROPOSED BILL

National Take Back Prescription Drug Day April 28


Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

Please support and share information on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) “National Prescription Drug Take Back Day,” taking place Saturday, April 28, 2018.   Promoting the DEA’s Take Back Day provides an opportunity for people from across the country to clean out their medicine cabinets and to safely and anonymously turn in prescription drugs.  The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day website has various information and resources, including:

 

In addition, the publication series, “Rx Pain Medications. Know the Options. Get the Facts.” is a set of 13 fact sheets designed to increase awareness of the risks associated with prescription opioid use and misuse, as well as to educate patients who are prescribed opioids for pain about the risks and to provide resources on methods for alternative pain management. For more information go to: https://store.samhsa.gov/list/series?name=Rx-Pain-Medications

Thank you for all that you do on behalf of the older adults, people with disabilities, and family caregivers in your communities.

MA4 2018 Data Brochure Available


Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

Each year, MA4 publishes an informational brochure with information about our services, and the people we serve. This short overview is available at the following links. Be sure to download both the out side and the inside pages. Feel free to reprint. You can create a complete brochure by downloading and printing this information on both sides of an 8″ x 11″ sheet of paper.

MA4 2018 Informational BrochureOutside Pages     Inside Pages  (Download both)

New Medicaid Cards To Be Issued Starting In April 2018


Thursday, October 12th, 2017

Between April 2018 and April 2019, the federal government will be removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards and mailing each person a new card. This will help keep your information more secure and help protect your identity. You’ll get a new Medicare Number that’s unique to you, and it will only be used for your Medicare coverage.

The new card won’t change your coverage or benefits. You’ll get more information from Medicare when your new card is mailed.

Here’s how you can get ready:

■ Make sure your mailing address is up to date. If your address needs to be corrected, contact Social Security at ssa.gov/myaccount or 1-800-772-1213. TTY users can call 1-800-325-0778.

■ Beware of anyone who contacts you about your new Medicare card. We’ll never ask you to give us personal or private information to get your new Medicare Number and card.

■ Understand that mailing everyone a new card will take some time. Your card might arrive at a different time than your friend’s or neighbor’s.

FOR A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FLYER, CLICK HERE.

Major Conference On Senior Issues Kicks Off On September 11


Sunday, September 10th, 2017

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE CONFERENCE:

DAY 3 – September 13, 2017

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The Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging (Ma4) invites you to attend the 14th Annual Show Me Summit on Aging & Health, Missouri’s only statewide conference on aging. The conference, hosting 300+ attendees and 50+ exhibitors will be held on September 11-13, 2017 at Holiday Inn Executive Center in Columbia, MO.

CLICK THIS LINK TO ACCESS COMPLETE REGISTRATION AND AGENDA MATERIALS

This year, due to tight budgets and new faces in the Capitol, Missouri seniors were faced with new challenges to funding of many of the programs that serve seniors best. Some of those programs included Meals On Wheels, prescription drug assistance programs, renters’ tax credits and both in-home and professional facility nursing care programs. In many instances, lawmakers sided with seniors and programs were saved. But, the work continues. That’s why, each year, MA4 sponsors a Summit on Aging and Health Care in an affort to share information about programs and practices that benefit seniors most.

Stay tuned for daily updates from the Summit, and information about how you can help support seniors throughout Missouri.

SUMMIT UPDATES:

DAY 1 – September 11, 2017

DAY 2 – September 12, 2017

Special Enrollment Period Information


Friday, April 21st, 2017




Life takes many twists and turns, and sometimes our personal situations can change significantly. If you do not have health insurance, you may still be able to enroll in a Marketplace Health Insurance program if your life situation has changed. Significant changes include marriage, the birth of a child and other major events.

For more information about your eligibility for this Special Enrollment Period, please CLICK HERE.

To find a trained health insurance Navigator located near you, CLICK HERE to access our Interactive Map.

Health insurance is important for all of us. We’re here to help.

February Is Low Vision Awareness Month


Monday, February 13th, 2017

LOW VISION IMPACTS FALLS 
Submitted by Shanea Harrington

Low vision is described as a visual impairment that cannot be corrected with standard glasses, contacts, medications, or surgery (National Eye Institute, n.d.). This can make daily tasks and chores very difficult; even just getting around the house can become a danger. This partial loss of vision greatly increases one’s chances of becoming a victim to  falling, most notably with older adults. Low vision makes it hard to see objects clearly or discern where a step ends and the floor begins, which can present fall risks.

Fortunately, there are some ways to improve vision and reduce the chances of falling. Special optical devices such as stand and handheld magnifying glasses, strong magnifying reading glasses, and loupes greatly increase the magnification and are different from regular magnifying devices (Gerritsen, n.d.). Limiting the risk of falls can be accomplished by lining steps and stairways with brightly colored tape to increase visibility, reducing clutter from floors, walkways, stairwells and placing night lights in hallways and stairways to name a few (Babinski & Buck, 2015 ). For more information on devices to improve vision, visit the American Foundation for the Blind or their family site, VisionAware.org, and for more ways to decrease falls, please visit The Discovery Eye Foundation.

References
1. National Eye Institute. (n.d.). Low vision awareness month. Retrieved from https://nei.nih.gov/nehep/lvam
2. Babinski, A. & Buck, M. (2015). Low vision aging adults at higher risk for falls. Retrieved from    http://discoveryeye.org/risk-for-falls/
3. Gerritsen, B. (n.d.). Overview of low vision devices. Retrieved from    http://www.visionaware.org/info/everyday-living/helpful-products/overview-of-low-vision-devices/124

Just A Few Days Left To Get Health Insurance Coverage For 2017


Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Individuals who want health insurance coverage for 2017 have until January 31, 2017 to enroll in a new Marketplace health plan before time runs out. This is an importat deadline. Individuals who do not have health insurance in place before that date could face penalties – and even worse – may be forced to go without insurance coverage that could be of great importance to themselves and their families.

It is easy to enroll, and despite news reports indicating that the Marketplace program could be terminated or changed, these policies are still available.

The easiest way to enroll is online at www.HealthCare.gov. If you need additional assistance, contact one of our health insurance Navigators in your area. A list of Nvigator contacts is available HERE.

Don’t delay. Low cost plans are still available for qualifying individuals.

REPORT: Enid Borden Opens First Day Of Summit With Facts About Senior Hunger


Monday, September 12th, 2016

The first day of the 2016 Show Me Summit On Aging and health kicked off in Branson, Missouri with a full day of training, overview sessions dealing with veterans affairs, nutrition and tax policy and a special keynote address from Enid Borden, CEO of the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger.

Speaker: Enid Borden, President/CEO, National Foundation to End Senior Hunger Praised Missouri’s seniors for making senior nutrition a priority.14291923_1454125551267989_3712515958753788522_n

“I love the fact that the Summit organizers capitalize on Missouri’s well-known moniker as the ’Show Me State’ to focus attention on the challenges and opportunities facing both seniors and those professionals tasked with providing support to them,” Borden said. “When it comes to finding solutions to senior hunger, we need to concentrate on facts, examine what the data can actuallyshow us. At the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH) we are dedicated to that, because we know data can and does lead us toward finding effective ways forward as we tackle the challenge of reducing hunger. We are here to show Missourians some of what we’ve learned.”

Since 2008, NFESH has commissioned and released national research on the causes, consequences and extent of senior hunger in the United States. The following year, NFESH research began examining the problem on a state-by-state basis as well. Borden, who is widely acknowledged as the leading expert on and crusader against senior hunger in the nation, will present the latest statistics for Missouri. In addition, she will introduce Summit participants to NFESH’s What A Waste initiative, which is being implemented in Senior Nutrition Programs (SNPs) across the country.

What A Waste furnishes SNPs knowledge and tools to collect-site specific data on the amount of food waste and wasted food they generate in the course of providing meals to seniors. Using that data recorded in NFESH’s proprietary software program, NFESH experts analyze the data to determine the cost of that waste in terms of meals, dollars, and nutrients lost. Based on this information, NFESH recommends program specific policy and operational changes to reduce these losses.

SUMMIT AGENDA

12th Annual Senior Services Tax Fund Meeting

Each year during the Summit, the Senior Services Tax Fund authorities hold an annual meeting. Registration for this event is separate from registration for the Summit itself. To access registration materials for this important event CLICK HERE.

SPECIAL NOTICE: NURSING HOME ADMINISTRATORS AND SOCIAL WORKERS SESSIONS NOW APPROVED FOR 11.5 CEU’s.