OPEN ENROLLMENT IS STILL IN PROGRESS!

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By Adrienne Mendle, Esq.

ATTENTION ALL HEALTH CONSUMERS!

OPEN ENROLLMENT IS STILL IN PROGRESS! 

From now until January 31, 2017, eligible Californians can sign up for health insurance on Covered CA AND may be able to receive subsidies to help pay for monthly premiums!

 You’ve probably heard about rising premiums on the healthcare exchanges. Although this is true, don’t despair – premium subsidies are also increasing! In addition, California offers significant financial support for HIV+ individuals eligible to purchase health plans on Covered CA.

 California’s Office of AIDS offers two programs to help pay for health care: ADAP and OA-HIPP. The Aids Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) pays for costs and co-pays associated with HIV-related prescription medication for qualifying individuals making less than 500% of the federal poverty level ($59,400 per year for a household of one). The Office of AIDS Health Insurance Premium Payment (OA-HIPP) program pays for monthly health insurance premiums and has recently begun paying co-pays for outpatient out-of-pocket medical costs, like doctor’s visits and labs. To qualify for this program, you must be enrolled in a private health plan (not through your employer) and be enrolled in ADAP.

 Starting this year, OA-HIPP is also making “Binder Payments” (AKA the first month’s premium) for new Covered CA enrollees! If you sign up for OA-HIPP within 48 hours of enrolling in a Covered CA health plan, OA-HIPP will initiate a Binder Payment on your behalf, activating your new health coverage.

 If you would like coverage starting on January 1, 2017, you will need to sign up for a health plan by December 15, 2016. Open Enrollment ends January 31, 2017; after that, you will need a Special Enrollment Period to sign up for a Covered CA health plan.

 PRC’s Equal Access to Healthcare Program is here to help you through Open Enrollment! Do you need to enroll in a health plan for 2017? Do you need to renew your health plan for 2017? Curious as to whether you are eligible for ADAP and OA-HIPP? Need assistance with something else? Give us a call at 415-777-0333! Our dedicated team of attorneys and advocates would love to talk to you about your healthcare needs.

Trainings for Our Community

By Chuan Teng, Esq.

Managing Legal Director

 The Equal Access to Healthcare Program (EAHP) is holding a Spanish Language Immigration and Public Benefits Workshop on Thursday, September 15th from 10-2 p.m. at the Civic Center Library. This workshop will be conducted in Spanish and will address public benefits available to immigrant clients. Providers and clients are welcome to attend.

 Additionally, EAHP with the SF HIV Front Line Organizing Group (FOG) is hosting the Second Annual Open Enrollment Boot Camp on Wednesday, October 5th at UCSF Mission Bay from 9-5 p.m. This boot camp will offer training and resources to front line HIV-service providers on health insurance open enrollment and how to help clients make informed health coverage choices.

 For more information, please contact chuant@positiveresource.org.

 

 

Changes to AIDS Drug Assistance Program Effective July 1, 2016

By Jeff Kosbie, Esq.

Big changes are coming to the AIDS Drugs Assistance Program (ADAP), Office of AIDS Health Insurance Premium Payment Program (OA-HIPP), and Medicare Part D Premium Payment Program.

On July 1, 2016, Ramsell will no longer administer ADAP. A.J. Boggs will take over program eligibility and enrollment. Magellan Rx will handle pharmacy benefits management. And Pool Administrators Inc. (PAI) will manage the OA-HIPP and Medicare Part D premium payment programs.

This post identifies important steps that you should take now and how you can stay informed as these changes roll out. As always, please call us at 415-777-0333 if you need more assistance.

New out-of-pocket expense coverage for OA-HIPP clients!

One of the most exciting changes is the addition of a new program to pay out-of-pocket medical expenses for OA-HIPP clients. We are still waiting for more details on this program. At present, we do not know if it will only cover HIV-related out-of-pocket costs or if it will cover all costs. This new program will be administered by PAI. If you are enrolled in OA-HIPP, you should receive a new ID card from PAI along with instructions on how to use it. We will also update you as we learn more.

What should I do now to avoid any disruption in my drug access?

  • Keep an eye out for an informational letter from the State Office of AIDS and a welcome letter from Magellan Rx. The letter from Magellan Rx will include your new prescription benefit card. Please be sure to open this mail and keep your new prescription benefit card. The outside of the envelope will not say ADAP on it.
  • Update your address with your enrollment worker. If you have changed your address within the last year, make sure your address is up to date with ADAP. If you are not sure if you updated your address, call your enrollment worker now. Any enrollment worker can update your ADAP profile, even if they did not initially enroll you.

We have included images of what the new Magellan prescription benefit card should look like along with the welcome letter that you should receive at the end of this blog post.

Will I need to switch pharmacies?

ADAP clients must use a pharmacy within the Magellan pharmacy network to access medication. Magellan Rx is contracted with over 6,000 pharmacies in California, and the majority of ADAP clients will not need to change pharmacies. If your pharmacy is not in the Magellan network, you should be contacted directly by the CA Office of AIDS (a division within the California Department of Public Health). Your ADAP enrollment worker should also receive a notification that you will need to change pharmacies. If Positive Resource Center handles your ADAP enrollment, we will be sure to update you immediately if we learn that your pharmacy is not included in the Magellan network. You may also call the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) at 844-421-7050 to confirm that your pharmacy is in the Magellan network.

Can I still use my Ramsell Prescription Benefit Card after July 1st?

Your Ramsell card will be deactivated effective July 1st. To avoid any problems at the pharmacy, we advise you to look out for your new Magellan Rx card and be sure to bring it with you. However, your program ID number will remain the same. The Office of AIDS assures us that you should still be able to access your drugs at the pharmacy without your new Magellan Rx card.

What if I have problems accessing my drugs on July 1st?

Starting July 1st, you can Magellan Rx’s live support team at 800-424-5906 to address any problems with program roll-out. We will also be posting any updates we learn about.

Will I still be able to get all of my drugs?

We have not been informed of any changes to the ADAP drug formulary. We will continue to update you if we learn of any changes.

How will the (re)enrollment process change?

All new clients will continue to have to see an ADAP enrollment worker to enroll. All existing clients will have to see an ADAP enrollment worker for their annual re-enrollment, on or before their birth date. When you visit an ADAP enrollment worker after July 1st, your enrollment worker will create an account on A.J. Boggs portal with you. After that, you can update your account and do annual re-enrollments on your own.

We have been able to preview the new enrollment system and are excited for some of the changes. These include:

  • Improved communication abilities, including secure email within the web access portal.
  • Improved error checking to identify missing items before an application is submitted.
  • Ability to provide additional explanatory comments on application forms.
  • Tags to indicate when an applicant has changed an answer from their last application. These tags will help ensure that entered changes (e.g., in address or viral load) are intended.
  • Interactive pharmacy locator, searchable by address. Starting July 1st, this will be available without logging in at https://cdph.magellanrx.com.

 What about the six-month self-verification form?

You will continue to receive this in the mail. Please look for correspondence from A.J. Boggs. If you are enrolled in both ADAP and OA-HIPP, this process will be more streamlined. You will now be able to use the same SVF form to re-certify for both programs.

How can I keep up-to-date on any changes?

We expect to continue to receive more information as we get closer to the transition. We will remind you as key dates arrive and update you if we learn anything new. Call Positive Resource Center at 415-777-0333 and follow us on Facebook and Twitter (#UpOnADAP).

 

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PRC Now Provides ADAP and OA-HIPP Enrollment Assistance!

By Chuan Teng,

Positive Resource Center’s Equal Access to Healthcare Program (EAHP) now offers enrollment and re-certification assistance with the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) and the Office of AIDS Health Insurance Premium Payment program (OA-HIPP).

ADAP and OA-HIPP provide assistance with paying prescription co-pays and health insurance premium payments. HIV-positive individuals making less than $58,850/year may be eligible for assistance. Couples and families may also be eligible, as income rules depend on household income and size.

In addition to these new services, EAHP also provides healthcare access consultation and legal representation on many other issues. HIV-positive San Francisco residents may access services by calling 415-777-0333.

We’ve Been Nominated!

Get Excited! We’re excited to announce that we’ve been nominated for not one but two awards, including “Best Employer: Nonprofit” and “Most Community-Oriented Employer” for the 2016 Work Local Awards, Presented by: Local Wise.

The Work Local Awards shines the spotlight on the boutiques, cafes, nonprofits, startups, and all the local employers that make our local communities thrive. Positive Resource Center prides itself on being an organization that is truly engaged with the needs and concerns of people in San Francisco who are living with HIV/AIDS and or have a mental disability. Positive Resource remains the only place for people living with HIV/AIDS or mental disabilities to get comprehensive benefits counseling and employment services in San Francisco. For more than 29 years Positive Resource Center has been providing crucial services to the community. Since our inception, we have helped our client’s access lifesaving disability income and gainful employment, ultimately providing them with a baseline of financial and healthcare security.

Positive Resource Center exists for the community, we thrive with the community, and more importantly we are the community! Again, we would like to thank Local Wise for nominating Positive Resource Center for these prestigious awards. Please check out the links below to learn more about our services and to RSVP for the award ceremony on April 28th, 2016.

 

Thank you,

Positive Resource Center: http://www.positiveresource.org/

Localwise: https://www.localwisejobs.com/

RSVP Link for Work Local Awards Ceremony: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/work-local-awards-tickets-22673329539

 

 

 

 

 

The Ins and Out of Medi-Cal

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By, Tuquan Harrison

Positive Resource Center (PRC) would like to thank SF HIV Workers Frontline Organizing Group for hosting The Ins and Outs of Medi-Cal training on March 4, 2016. The training was attended by over 50 service providers including social workers, case managers, peer navigators, and many others who serve San Francisco’s HIV-positive community.

We would like to especially acknowledge Lashenna Sirles, from the San Francisco Human Services Agency for presenting this vital information to our community.

The goal of this training was to educate service providers on the Medi-Cal program, including how to apply for benefits and eligibility rules. For clients and service providers alike, navigating Medi-Cal is quite challenging due to lack of training on the program. By the end of this training, participants were able to:

  • Identify the different types of Medi-Cal programs and eligibility rules.
  • Describe the timeline from application to enrollment in Medi-Cal.
  • Better answer client questions about accessing services through Medi-Cal.

Again, PRC would like to thank Lashenna Sirles and the Human Services Agency, SF HIV Workers Frontline Organizing Group, and service providers for participating in this training and sharing information to help better serve our community!

Open Enrollment Closes January 30, 2016

Open Enrollment Deadline

By,

Chuan Teng

Open enrollment closes on January 30, 2016, so now is the time to purchase health insurance. For many, finding a health insurance plan that meets basic needs and works in coordination with other public benefits such as the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) and the Health Insurance Payment Program (HIPP) is a daunting task. Positive Resource Center’s benefits counselors are available to help with healthcare coordination and planning.

Here are some tips for buying health insurance:

  • Check to see what insurance plans are accepted by your doctor
  • Make sure your prescriptions are covered under prospective insurance plans
  • Find out co-pay amounts for routine services and any special procedures you expect to undergo in the next year
  • Find out maximum out of pocket annual limits
  • Find out monthly premiums

If you are HIV-positive and a San Francisco resident, call Positive Resource Center for help at 415-777-0333. Remember, open enrollment closes on January 30, 2016, so make sure you are covered today. Don’t forget—you can enroll in Medi-Cal anytime, even outside the open enrollment period. Finally, stay connected with Positive Resource Center to learn about new ADAP and HIPP enrollment services to come in 2016!