There have been reports of increased fraud attempts stemming from confusion surrounding the Affordable Care Act. Protect yourself by knowing your rights and being informed! Follow these important tips:
- If you are interested in signing up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace, do your own research online at the official ACA website. Approved agencies and organizations that offer assistance with applying for insurance through the marketplace will be listed on this site.
- Medicare and other insurance representatives will NEVER call you and ask for personal information such as your bank account number.
- Medicare private plans like Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Part D plans cannot call and ask for your financial or personal information. In fact, plan representatives cannot call or email you if you have never been a member of the plan and you did not invite the plan to contact you.
- If you receive a suspicious call from someone asking for your personal information, take down the name of the person you spoke to, as well as the date and time of the call. You can report callers pretending to be Medicare representatives or government officials to 800-MEDICARE or to your local Senior Medicare Patrol.
- If you feel that you are a victim of identity theft, you may also want to contact your local police department as soon as possible. You can also contact the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging Fraud Hotline by calling them at 855-303-9470 or by visiting them online here.
To learn more on how to protect yourself, click here.
On Friday, the final rule to update Medicare payments to dialysis providers was released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). We are pleased to say that this extensive ruling is a step in the right direction for dialysis patients.
Back in July, CMS proposed cutting dialysis payments by over 9% for 2014. The final rule is an improvement over the proposal because average Medicare payments for dialysis in 2014 and 2015 will remain relatively unchanged. There is also a 50% increase in payments for home dialysis training.
In response to a preliminary study presented this week that found early signs of kidney damage in Ground Zero first responders, the National Kidney Foundation offers information and support to responders and their families and encourages further research into this potential health issue.
On November 13, 2013 the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act passed into law and is expected to be signed by the President. This act ends the Federal ban on transplanting HIV positive organs to HIV positive recipients, which will pave the way to study outcomes for these transplants. Hopefully, this will also increase the chances of receiving an organ donation for people infected with HIV.
People with HIV have an increased risk of kidney disease and eventual need for a kidney transplant. The National Kidney Foundation supports the HOPE Act and looks forward to reviewing the results of this research.
The state of Oregon is currently proposing a policy to allow health plans to effectively put a two year waiting period on covering organ and bone marrow transplants unless the patient had prior insurance coverage. This policy would apply to plans sold through Cover Oregon, the state’s health insurance marketplace established under the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare), and other non-group health plans sold to Oregon residents. We need your help to stop this policy from being implemented.
Patient Centered-Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), created by Congress as part of the Affordable Care Act, provides grants for research projects that will give patients and their health care providers “a better understanding of the prevention, treatment and care options available, and the science that supports those options.” PCORI has already provided a grant to help kidney patients understand all of their dialysis treatment options and also awarded a few other grants related to kidney disease research. Not only is the research geared towards helping patients, but patients can actually participate in the research projects and help PCORI select which research applications to fund.
Nearly three weeks into the opening of the Health Insurance Marketplaces, many people trying to understand their options for health insurance have experienced glitches in online access. However, once they do manage to get a peek at options and costs, many are still finding their options to be unaffordable and others are not even bothering to enroll, having already decided that any amount is too much.
October is Hispanic Heritage Month and given that Hispanics have an increased risk of kidney failure, we thought we would take the opportunity to share with you a post from our Staying Healthy Blog. This post is written by an advocate whose family is affected by kidney disease. It’s a great example of how advocacy is not just about contacting your legislators but also about raising awareness of kidney disease. You can read the story here.
Despite the high prevalence of kidney disease in the U.S. there are few treatments available to directly treat it. The underlying causes of kidney disease are diverse and the progression of kidney dysfunction is slow and often without symptoms. How do scientists efficiently test drugs to slow progression of kidney disease when benefits to patients are not evident for many years?
By Troy Zimmerman, Vice President, Government Relations, National Kidney Foundation
As you may know, the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate were unable to reach a compromise to fund Federal agencies for the fiscal year that began October 1, 2013. This has resulted in a shutdown of the Federal Government for the first time in 17 years. However, many vital government services including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and mail service will continue. The Health Insurance Marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) also remain unaffected and opened for enrollment today, as scheduled. The uninsured are able to start exploring their options for health insurance now through March 31, 2014 (visit www.healthcare.gov for more information).