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Tag Archive for: independent seniors
Living with depression can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. This is how to ask for help with depression.
Are you experiencing a loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy? Do you have feelings of sadness and hopelessness or difficulty sleeping? If so, you may be struggling with depression.
As we get older, life can become more lonely and it may leave you feeling lost.
Living with this disorder can be challenging, especially if you don’t know how to ask for help with depression. You might feel it’s not worth reaching out to someone.
If this describes you in any way, keep reading. This article discusses depression, the symptoms, and how to ask for help so you don’t have to feel this way any longer.
What Is Depression?
Depression, also called depressive disorder, is a mental disorder. It’s common and is characterized by an all-encompassing sadness or negative view of life. Depression affects how you think and act, leading to various emotional and physical problems that interfere with daily functioning.
Depression can occur at any age; however, it begins more commonly as an adult. There are several types of depression, such as:
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Persistent Depressive Disorder
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
Signs of Depression
Depression can present differently from person to person. Typically, symptoms include:
- Feelings of sadness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyed activities
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in weight
- Trouble sleeping
- Excess fatigue
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Feelings of guilt
- Difficulty concentrating
- Thoughts of suicide or suicide ideation
How to Ask for Help With Depression
Depression as a senior is manageable if you seek treatment. A medical professional will typically prescribe an antidepressant and possibly a mood stabilizer. If you’re unsure of how to ask for help with depression, there are a few things you can try.
Find a Trusted Person
Identify a trusted person with whom you can confide in. This can be a family member, friend, pastor, etc.
Be Open and Honest
When you sit down and chat with a trusted person, you must be open and honest about your feelings. Ask them if they’re willing to help you through this difficult time.
Seek Professional Depression Treatment
If you need help seeking professional help, ask someone you trust to help find a professional or accompany you to one. A professional will have the necessary experience to help.
Help Is Around the Corner
Living with depression can be challenging as a senior, but it’s not something you have to battle alone. If you’re unsure how to ask for help with depression, ask someone you trust if they’re willing to listen.
You want to choose the right time to ask, and when they accept, be honest with how you feel. Professional help is strongly recommended wherever possible to assist with medications if necessary.
WelbeHealth provides full-service healthcare and personalized support to help you age well at home and in your community. Our Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) meets the changing needs of seniors, often at no cost. Many of our centers have support groups available to help you through your difficult times. To learn more visit: https://welbehealth.com/contact/
As the summer heat approaches, everyone loves to head outside and enjoy the outdoors after months of being cooped up indoors. However, the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays can cause serious skin damage and lead to different types of skin cancer. For seniors, sun safety is essential to avoid skin damage and protect themselves from excessive heat. Let’s discuss some important tips and tricks on how seniors can stay safe in the sun.
- Wear Sun-Protective Clothing
One of the easiest ways for seniors to stay safe in the sun is to wear sun-protective clothing. This includes wearing long-sleeved shirts, wide-brimmed hats, and other clothing that will keep your skin protected from the sun. Look for fabrics that are lightweight, moisture-wicking, and provide UV protection. Opt for clothes that cover your arms and legs as much as possible to minimize sun exposure.
- Apply Sunscreen Regularly
Sunscreen is a must regardless of age. Seniors should choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply sunscreen liberally at least 30 minutes before you go outside and reapply it every two hours or more often if you sweat or swim. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your ears, back of the neck, hands, and feet. These areas are often overlooked but can be severely affected by harmful UV rays.
- Avoid Peak Sun Hours
Typically, the sun’s UV rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Seniors should avoid being outside during these peak hours or plan outdoor activities early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun’s rays are less intense. Even on cloudy or overcast days, it’s essential to stay cautious and wear sun-protective clothing and sunscreen.
- Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is essential in the summer heat, especially for seniors. Make sure to drink plenty of water even if you don’t feel thirsty. Carry a water bottle with you at all times when you’re outside and avoid sugary drinks like soda or energy drinks. Dehydration can quickly set in, making you feel dizzy or nauseous, and can lead to heat exhaustion.
- Seek Shade and Cool Off
Lastly, if you start to feel overheated or uncomfortable in the sun, it’s important to seek shade and cool off. Find a shady spot under a tree or bring a parasol or umbrella with you. Take breaks regularly, go indoors to an air-conditioned room, or take a dip in the pool or ocean to cool off.
Sun safety is essential for seniors, and following these tips can help keep them safe and protected when enjoying the outdoors. Wearing sun-protective clothing, applying sunscreen, avoiding peak sun hours, staying hydrated, and seeking shade are all simple and easy ways to avoid harmful UV rays. Being proactive about sun safety can help seniors reduce their risk of skin damage and keep them healthy and happy all summer long.
Seniors deserve to have access to the greatest care possible. Learn more about PACE so you can improve the quality of your life.
The secrets that an eye exam can unlock
Making regular eye care a priority can be life-changing. Eleven million Americans need help with their vision, and technology has improved drastically in recent years. Eye exams can prevent trouble by alerting your doctor to health conditions you didn’t know you had and prevent vision loss. The typical eye exam is fast, simple, and pain-free.
What is a basic eye exam?
Just by taking a few simple eye images, a doctor can get an early glimpse of eye diseases and use treatments to preserve your vision or restore what you may have already lost. The first step is usually a dilated eye exam given by an optometrist. The test measures eye alignment, eye movement, visual sharpness, and depth perception. New technology offers an alternative to dilated eye exams. Sometimes, a doctor will snap a simple picture of your pupil, allowing them to see as far inside as they need without eye drops.
“Eye exams can also highlight other health issues. If we can see trouble coming, we can treat it faster and get ahead of it,” says Otashe Golden, MD, Regional Medical Director at WelbeHealth.
Many people, when they try on a new pair of glasses, suddenly see clearly and realize how out of focus the world had become. “Most of us have experienced it – and it can be scary,” says Dr. Golden. “One day you can read street signs perfectly well, and the next, you are driving on the highway at night and can’t find your exit.”
Many eye diseases are relatively common and can go unnoticed for a long time, such as cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration.
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults
Diabetes patients are at higher risk for glaucoma and cataracts. Diabetic retinopathy — scarring on the retina’s blood vessels — can happen due to high blood sugar levels and is the leading cause of blindness in American adults. Diabetic retinopathy is also the most preventable cause of blindness. By seeing an eye doctor, early detection and treatment can prevent or delay blindness. For most people with diabetes, there can be very little treatment available if the diagnosis comes too late.
How often do you need an eye exam?
How often should you get an eye exam depends on certain factors. For people with diabetes, it is recommended to get an eye exam every year. On the other hand, individuals who are African American and aged 40 years and older, Mexican Americans who are 60 years or older, and those with a family history of glaucoma should have an eye exam at least every two years.
Get Ways to Protect Your Vision
- Get regular eye exams.
- Eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight.
- Wear sunglasses that block out 99% to 100% of UA and UVB sunlight.
- Don’t smoke.
- Use protective eyewear to avoid injury.
- If you are reading on a screen, be sure to take frequent breaks to give your eyes a rest.
Pay attention to symptoms of eye trouble.
Call your family doctor, nurse, or eye doctor if you notice eye symptoms such as:
- Difficulty seeing or double vision
- Redness of the eye or pain in the eye
- Flashes of light
- Floaters (specks look like they float in front of you)
- Circles/halos around lights
Located at 1224 Scenic Drive, the center is designated a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) alternative care setting. Integrated with WelbeHealth and Sutter’s PACE center in Stockton, the new Modesto location provides day services to PACE-eligible medically frail seniors age 55 and over. The center, which will employ more than 100 full- and part-time employees when at capacity, features:
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Personal care and supportive services
- Meals and nutritional counseling
- Recreational therapy
- Access to in-home care and mobile clinic
The new Modesto center addresses a community need, since only a fraction of the over 3,000 PACE-eligible seniors in Stanislaus county are receiving PACE services, according to a WelbeHealth analysis of U.S. Census data and the Medi-Cal Managed Care Enrollment Report.
“WelbeHealth was built on the mission of serving our most vulnerable seniors with greater quality and compassion in underserved communities,” said WelbeHealth CEO Si France, M.D. “As the first provider of PACE services in Modesto since 2019, we are proud to complement our care with a beautiful facility.”
PACE is a national Medicare and Medicaid program that helps keep seniors living in their own homes instead of nursing homes. PACE programs are proven to reduce depression, lower hospitalizations, decrease rehospitalizations, reduce nursing home admissions and improve preventive care, according to recent data from the National PACE Association.
“We are proud to partner with WelbeHealth to enrich the lives of seniors, their caregivers and the broader community,” said Christopher Stanley, M.D., Sutter Health’s chief population health officer. “WelbeHealth shares our commitment to high-quality, community-based healthcare services that help frail older adults anticipate problems and prevent hospitalization or early entry into a nursing home.”
Todd Smith, M.D., foundation area CEO for Sutter Health in the South Valley, said that the importance of good health for aging seniors can’t be underestimated.
“Creating greater access to comprehensive home and community-based healthcare services helps seniors achieve their best health and maintain their independence,” Dr. Smith said.
In addition to the new Modesto center, WelbeHealth has locations in Stockton, Pasadena, Long Beach and Fresno. More than 1,500 seniors were served in 2021. Sutter Health is a not-for-profit integrated health network that serves more than 3 million people in 22 California counties.
July is UV Safety Month
Enjoying the warm weather is one of the delights of summer. However, it is important to practice Ultraviolet (UV) light safety. For seniors and others, this means limiting your exposure to the sun’s harmful rays, which can cause skin damage and lead to skin cancer. Around 90% of the signs of skin aging are caused by the sun. Those who have accumulated the most exposure to UV rays over the years are – you guessed it – seniors.
July is UV Safety Month. Using better UV protection can protect your skin from harm. And there are even ways to reverse some damage. Use these simple tips:
UV Safety for Seniors – Go By the Clock
UV protection is most important between 10 am and 4 pm because the sun’s harmful rays are the strongest between these hours. Aim for early morning or evening if you can plan your time outside. If you must be outside mid-day, try to stay in the shade.
The Best UV Safe Sunscreen for Seniors
Not all sunscreen is equal for UV protection. Choose one that has an SPF of 30 or higher. UVA and UVB sun rays both damage skin cells. Read the label to make sure your sunscreen has “broad spectrum” or “UVA and UVB” printed on the bottle.
Using SPF Correctly
Apply your sunscreen 20 minutes before sun exposure for it to work best. Re-apply sunscreen every 2 hours and after you sweat or swim. People with fair skin, especially those with light-colored eyes and hair, accumulate sun damage more easily and should use UV protection carefully. You can take a quick quiz to find your skin type here.
Reverse Years of Damage
Even if you have had many sunburns or avoided using sunscreen over the years, you can reverse the damage using new technology. Creams or gels with retinoids can help to remove precancerous lesions. Ask your doctor about these topical medications.
You have options for protection in addition to sunscreen. Some clothing is designed to protect your skin from the sun. A long-sleeved shirt, long pants, sunglasses that filter UV rays, and a hat with a wide brim can offer protection. Remember also to protect yourself from heat stress during the summer months.
Skin Changes with Age – Lifestyle Matters
Our skin thins as we age. This can weaken the skin’s defenses to UV light. Proper sun protection for seniors, a balanced diet, and avoiding smoking and pollution can help prevent skin diseases.
Watch for Skin Changes
Be aware of any suspicious growths on your skin. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a self-examination once a month. You can find out how to do one here. Visit your dermatologist once a year to check for skin cancer. Bring questions about anything you have noticed that has changed size, is new, or has an irregular border. Also, if you have a growth that causes crusting, irritation, or bleeding, tell your doctor right away.
Remember: skin cancer is among the most treatable cancers. So do your best to catch it early. Enjoy the sunshine safely this summer.
Forming friendships as you age can sometimes be challenging. When you were a child, making friends may have come easily. A simple, “Can we be friends?” often brought us a dedicated playmate. If only it were that easy to make friends in our adult years!
Forming friendships can be more difficult as an adult, but it is still important. Researchers have discovered major benefits of maintaining friendships as we age. Below, we’ll fill you in on the power of friendship and share some tips on how to make friends as you get older.
Want to live longer? Form close friendships as you age! An Australian study found that close relationships with family members had little impact on longevity. But people with the most friends outlived those with the fewest by 22%.
Keeping a close circle of friends also alleviates loneliness. In this study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, social isolation and loneliness were predictors of functional decline and death in those 60 years and older.
Not only do your friends add years to your life, but you also do the same for them. So when you’re spending time with friends, you can remind them of your life-extending superpower, and thank them for extending your life in return.
Researchers at Northwestern University have been studying SuperAgers since 2008. These are individuals who are 80 and older whose memory is similar to those 50-65 years old. They found that SuperAgers have more satisfying relationships than their peers in the control group.
“You don’t have to be the life of the party, but this study supports the theory that maintaining strong social networks seems to be linked to slower cognitive decline,” author Emily Rogalski, an associate professor at Northwestern, said in a press release.
Next time you call up a friend for lunch, remember that it will be a great social activity and benefit your brain!
How to Create Friendships as You Age
There are opportunities to make friends right in your community. Your new friends may be waiting for you just a few blocks away. Here are ways to meet new people near you:
- Help at a local food pantry
- Mentor a child with Big Brothers, Big Sisters
- Join a community or church choir
- Attend city council meetings
- Take an art class
- Visit your local senior center
- Join a gym and participate in group exercise classes
- Find a support group
Making new friends as adults can feel awkward. One of the best things you can do is accept that it may feel a little unnatural at first. Like any new relationship, it takes a while to feel comfortable.
Studies suggest that it takes several months to form a close friendship. Continue to ask engaging questions and get together on a regular basis. If you keep trying despite being a little uncomfortable, you’re bound to have budding friendships.
WelbeHealth participants enjoy the benefits of companionship and participate in activities that can help make you less likely to suffer from depression. WelbeHealth helps seniors live independently in their homes and communities and provides opportunities to socialize with new friends.
At WelbeHealth, friends:
- Play dominoes, Bingo, and other games
- Talk about common interests such as music and books
- Share a bowl of popcorn while watching HBO movies
- Eat meals together and swap favorite recipes
- Support and check in on one another
Contact us today to see if you might qualify for WelbeHealth’s all-inclusive care for seniors.
The FBI estimates that American seniors lose $3 billion a year to elder fraud. Unfortunately, scammers often target seniors because they can be trusting and may have built up a healthy savings account over their lifetime.
Being aware of scams targeting seniors can help you protect yourself. It’s important to recognize the common tactics used in elder fraud so you know if it is happening to you or a loved one before it is too late.
What is Elder Fraud?
Elder fraud is any fraud that targets older adults. Scammers may target seniors by phone call, text message, email, or mail.
For victims, the financial impact of elder fraud can be devastating. The average victim of elder fraud loses around $34,000. Not only does it take a toll financially, but being a victim of fraud can hurt your mental and emotional health too.
Common Scams that Target Seniors
During the pandemic, there has been an increase in scams targeting seniors. As older adults spent more time online to connect with friends and family, fraudsters targeted seniors through emails and other online avenues.
Here are some of the top scams targeting seniors.
- Romance Fraud
The criminal targets widows and single elders, earning their trust. Eventually, the scammer asks for small sums of money and then larger.
- Fake Grandchild
Scammers will call a senior and say something like, “Hi Grandma, it’s your favorite grandchild.” Then they ask for money for rent, a car repair, or similar.
- Charity Scams
Using a fake charity name, criminals ask seniors to donate to a charity that supports a good cause. Online fund-raising pages can also be fraudulent.
- Government Impersonation
Criminals claim they work for the government and tell elders they’ll be prosecuted or fined if they do not comply with their request.
- Tech Support Schemes
A pop-up appears on the computer screen and says to call a number to resolve a computer issue. When the senior calls, the scammer poses as a tech support representative. They pretend to “fix” the computer remotely while gaining access to sensitive information and asking for payment in return.
- Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams
Criminals call or email claiming that the designated senior has won a prize. They say that an initial payment needs to be made by the individual to gain access to the prize.
- Phishing Emails
Phishing emails may look like they’re from a company you know or trust. Scammers disguise themselves to gain access to your passwords, bank account numbers, and other sensitive information.
- Widow Schemes
Scammers will call a surviving spouse after losing a husband or wife. They claim to work for a financial institution associated with the deceased spouse and claim they need money to pay for fees, overdue bills, etc.
How to Avoid Being a Victim of Elder Fraud
Scammers are always creating new tactics and avenues to target seniors. Here are steps you can take to stay on guard and protect yourself.
Hang Up and Call Back
Scammers often disguise themselves as a business or organization you’re familiar with. They may even disguise their number, so it looks like you’re receiving a call from a local area code. If you receive a call from a person claiming to be from your bank, the Social Security Office, or a particular charity, and they ask for personal information, hang up.
Then, find your most recent bank statement or the official phone number online and call back. This ensures that you speak with the legitimate organization or business.
Be Careful of Links and Attachments
Even if you know and trust the individual who sends you a link via email, social media, or text message, be cautious before clicking on it. You may want to call your friend or family member to verify that they sent you the link. Clicking on suspicious links can lead to viruses or spyware being downloaded to your device–something you want to avoid.
Be Aware of Acquaintances
Sadly, scammers aren’t always strangers. Be cautious when lending money to friends or family members with addiction issues, financial difficulties, or a history of criminal activity.
Reporting Elder Fraud and Scams
If you think you may be a victim of elder fraud, reach out to someone you trust. Don’t feel embarrassed. It’s important to address the issue before it becomes worse.
You can also report the scam to the local police, file an internet crime complaint, or call your local FBI office. Reporting the crime is the first step in getting the scam shut down so other seniors won’t be defrauded.
What comes to mind when you hear the word yoga? If it’s a young person twisted into a pretzel-like position, you’re not alone. Many people don’t realize that yoga for seniors is incredibly flexible – even if you’re not! Yoga can be adapted to meet the abilities of all age groups, from children to older adults.
Yoga is ideal for seniors looking for a gentle way to care for their mind and body. Here’s how to start a regular yoga practice. (No pretzel formation is necessary!)
The Benefits of Yoga for Seniors
Shelley Newhouse is the Director of Talent Attraction & Enablement at WelbeHealth. She is also a 500-hour certified yoga instructor with Yoga Alliance. She says yoga for seniors can help relieve stress and tension in the body.
“Yoga can make us more comfortable and at ease. When you start to integrate the breath and the mindfulness of the practice, it can be really calming,” Newhouse explains. “Yoga allows people to be more present. They aren’t as caught up in what happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow. Yoga can help people enjoy what is truly meaningful.”
By lengthening and stretching muscles, yoga can provide some relief for tight muscles and joints. If you have arthritis, you may find regular yoga helpful when paired with your other treatments.
Best Types of Yoga for Seniors
Chair Yoga for Seniors
If your mobility is limited, you can still get the benefits of yoga while sitting in a chair. In most cases, chair yoga is gentle and good for seniors who may be new to the activity.
During chair yoga for seniors, poses are done while seated comfortably in a chair. Or, you may use the chair for support during standing poses. You can choose how much you use the chair depending on your body and mobility. With time and regular practice, you may find that you need the chair than when you began!
Restorative Yoga for Seniors
While traditional yoga focuses on stretching and strengthening, restorative yoga focuses on relaxation. During restorative yoga for seniors, poses are gentle and often held longer. You’ll focus on your breath and quiet your mind.
Many restorative yoga poses are done lying on the ground. These poses are supportive to the nervous system and have a calming effect on the mind.
How to Get Started
Before you begin your yoga practice, there are a few things you’ll want to do to prepare. Take these steps to choose the yoga practice that is right for you.
Talk to Your Healthcare Provider
Speaking with your healthcare provider is the first step and one you won’t want to skip. Let your doctor know that you’d like to try yoga, and make sure they don’t have any concerns.
Your physician may tell you to avoid certain poses or suggest you start with chair yoga. This conversation will help you stay safe, prevent injury, and know your limits.
Decide on Virtual or In-Person
In a post-pandemic world, yoga for seniors is more accessible than ever thanks to the internet. Do a quick search on YouTube to find many yoga videos. You’ll want to decide if you’re going to stream your yoga practice or find an in-person class.
Newhouse says there are advantages and drawbacks to virtual classes. “Virtual yoga classes are great because you can do them anywhere,” she says. “But people need to be mindful when they are doing a virtual class. They have to pay close attention to how their body feels because an instructor isn’t there to correct their alignment.”
Many beginner yogis may benefit from an in-person class where they can ask questions and get hands-on help from the instructor. Plus, being in a class with other seniors creates a sense of community. Check your local YMCA, recreation center, or senior center to find an in-person yoga class for older adults
Set the Mood
Whether you’re practicing at home or in a class, there are a few things you can do to optimize your yoga practice.
- Choose a time of day – Pick whether you want to practice yoga in the morning or the evening. Make sure it is a time that you can stay consistent with.
- Eliminate distractions – For some people, this may be silencing their phones or turning off the television. For others, it may mean decluttering their space.
“If your mind tends to wander, creating a distraction-free space can help you stay focused,” says Newhouse.
- Wear comfy clothes – You don’t have to buy special clothes for yoga. Just wear something comfortable that you can move in.
Listen to Your Body
Like any activity, don’t push your body to its limit. If your body tells you to stop a certain movement, listen.
“You don’t need to go to the fullest extreme,” Newhouse advises. “If a movement creates pain or discomfort in your body, then definitely back off.”
Yoga Poses to Try
If you want to try yoga on your own, Newhouse recommends these poses.
Seated Mountain Pose
Benefits: Relaxes shoulders and promotes awareness in the body
Sit tall in your chair with your back straight and your hands on your knees. Gently soften your gaze, let your shoulders relax away from your ears, and focus on the sensation of your breathing.
Benefits: Stretches chest muscles and releases tension in the neck
From your Seated Mountain Pose, inhale and arch your spine, moving your shoulders down your back. Exhale and round your spine, bringing your shoulders away from each other and your chin to your chest. Repeat 5-6 times.
Seated Side Bend
Benefits: Promotes balance and stretches the side of the body
From your Seated Mountain Pose, reach your right arm above your head and gently lean your upper body to the left. You’ll feel a lengthening sensation along the right side of your body. Hold for 3-4 breaths. Return to Seated Mountain Pose and repeat on the left side.
Standing Mountain Post
Benefits: Teaches the body alignment and awareness
Stand tall with your feet hips distance apart. Roll your shoulders back and bring your arms by your sides with your palms facing toward your body. Fix your gaze softly or close your eyes. Hold for 5-6 breaths.
Benefits: Builds heat in the body and strengthens legs
From Standing Mountain Pose, sit your hips back like you’re about to sit into a chair. Shift most of your weight into your heels rather than your toes. Tuck your pelvic bone under to engage your core. Lift your arms over your head while pulling your shoulders away from your ears. Hold for 3-4 breaths.
Whether you practice once a week or every day, the benefit of yoga for seniors is the same. Many studies have shown that older adults can increase their strength, flexibility, and balance through a regular yoga practice. Speak with your healthcare provider to see if yoga is a good activity for you!
New and expanded Medi-Cal eligiblity criteria in 2022 will allow more people to access Medi-Cal coverage. Medi-Cal changes for California seniors offer many a new chance to qualify for Medi-Cal. Read on to learn more about these changes, which for some seniors could include becoming eligible for WelbeHealth or other PACE programs in your area.
For more detailed information, see the resources listed at the bottom of the article.
- Expanded Coverage for Undocumented Seniors
Beginning in May 2022, Medi-Cal benefits will be provided to all individuals over the age of 50 who meet financial eligibility requirements, regardless of immigration status. This includes primary, specialty, behavioral health, long-term care, and much more. Those not currently enrolled in restricted scope Medi-Cal will need to apply to find out if they meet eligibility requirements.
- Increased Asset Limits
In July of 2022, the asset limit will increase for many Medi-Cal programs from $2,000 to $130,000 for individuals (plus $65,000 for each additional family member). Once this change is in effect, DHCS will send letters to those who were denied Medi-Cal or terminated coverage for being over the asset limit during the 90 days before the effective date of the change.
How this may affect you: If you were previously denied Medi-Cal enrollment due to immigration status or assets, you may want to consider re-applying.
Changes to Medi-Cal Managed Care in 2022 and 2023
The California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) initiative standardizes managed care enrollment and benefits, addresses social determinants of health, and reduces inequities. As part of the CalAIM initiative, some health coverage changes will impact Medi-Cal enrollees across all of California. Other changes only impact certain populations or enrollees in certain counties.
How this may affect you: The way you receive Medi-Cal benefits through your managed care plan may be changing, including the health plan you are enrolled in or the services available through your current Medi-Cal managed care plan.
- Changes for Dual-eligible, Medi-Cal and Medicare Individuals
Starting January 2023, dual-eligible individuals will be required to enroll in a Medi-Cal managed care plan. If you are eligible for both Medicare and Medi-Cal, you will receive enrollment forms to choose the plan you want to enroll in. PACE programs such as WelbeHealth will be listed as an option on these enrollment forms. This is a great time to consider participating in WelbeHealth’s PACE services if you are eligible and live in one of our service areas.
- Changes for those with a Medi-Cal share of cost
As part of CalAIM, some Medi-Cal beneficiaries* with a share of cost are moving out of managed care, into fee-for-service Medi-Cal. If you have been on a Medi-Cal plan that has a share of cost, you will automatically be enrolled in fee-for-service Medi-Cal unless you live in a long-term care facility. This change affects those enrolled in both Medi-Cal and Medicare and those enrolled in Medi-Cal only.If you were previously enrolled in a Cal MediConnect plan, you will be disenrolled from Cal MediConnect. You will need to select a new Part D prescription plan to cover prescription drugs.Note that under fee-for-service Medi-Cal, there may be some changes to how transportation is made available to you. DHCS’s Transportation Services web page provides instructions on how you can get transportation under fee-for-service.
- Managed Care Enrollment for Certain Populations
Certain population groups who are required to enroll in a Medi-Cal managed care plan are expanding statewide. If you are part of one of these special groups, you would have received two notices in the Fall of 2021. You can make a managed care selection or be added to a state-selected managed care plan.
- End of MediConnect Plans in December
As of December 31, 2022, if you are enrolled in a Cal MediConnect plan, you will automatically move to a dual special needs plans operated by the parent organization of your Cal MediConnect plan. If you have questions or would like to select a different health plan (including PACE), contact the Health Consumer Alliance (HCA) at 1-888-804-3536. The HCA can assist Californians who are trying to get or keep their health coverage.
Could you now be eligible for PACE?
WelbeHealth’s PACE provides all-inclusive coordinated care. Visit welbehealth.com for information about our services.
You may have questions about these Medi-Cal changes for California seniors. At WelbeHealth we have experts available to assist you in evaluating whether you qualify for Medi-Cal. Call us at (888) 530-4415, TTY (800) 735-2922 to learn more.
References and Resources:
- “DHCS Frequently Asked Questions for Medi-Cal Transportation Services” https://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/medi-cal/Pages/Transportation_Beneficiaries_FAQ.aspx
- Justice In Aging Fact Sheet: https://justiceinaging.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Important-Health-Care-Changes-Coming-in-2022-for-Low-Income-Older-Californians.pdf
- Justice in Aging, Free Webinar, “Upcoming Changes to Medi-Cal in 2022” https://vimeo.com/657159550?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=2631b516-92df-470c-aca3-4d63c7480c2a
*Some changes only affect individuals residing in a CCI county (Los Angeles, San Bernadino, Riverside, Orange County, San Diego, Santa Clara, and San Mateo) or a COHS county (Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Marin, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Monterey, Napa, Orange, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Trinity, Ventura, and Yolo).