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Monday, July 15, 2024

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After the Trump assassination attempt, defining democracy gets even harder; Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate; DC residents push back on natural gas infrastructure buildup; and a new law allows youth on Medi-Cal to consent to mental health treatment.

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Former President Trump is injured but safe after an attempted assassination many condemn political violence. Democrats' fears intensify over Biden's run. And North Carolina could require proof of citizenship to vote.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

MA seniors encouraged to take advantage of dual-use special needs plans

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Monday, April 1, 2024   

Health care advocates in Massachusetts said special health care plans are available for seniors and people with disabilities to help ensure they get the care they need.

Dual-use special-needs plans combine services and coverage for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and they often include extra benefits like dental care, eyeglasses and hearing aids, even meals.

Katherine Howitt, director of the Massachusetts Medicaid Policy Institute, said enrollees also benefit from having a case manager help coordinate it all.

"They'll be checking in with the member," Howitt outlined. "Keeping up with their needs, ensuring that their care plan is updated regularly to really reflect what that member needs in that moment."

Howitt pointed out more than 64,000 people in Massachusetts were enrolled in dual-eligible special needs plans in 2022. Advocates for those with disabilities or low incomes said the numbers could be higher if more people knew the plans exist, and they are ramping up public education efforts.

Dr. Gina Williams, associate medical director for UnitedHealthcare, said dual-eligible special-needs plans try to take a dynamic approach in serving those who are eligible.

"Everything from managing your wellness to managing your behavioral health needs," Williams explained. "And then, everyday needs. It's kind of a more comprehensive package for people who need a little bit more support."

Williams noted everyday needs include in-home care services, bathroom safety devices or transportation. They also offer zero-dollar copays on certain prescriptions. She added the effort to increase enrollment in the dual-eligible plans aligns with the public's increased awareness about preventive health care in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Disclosure: UnitedHealthcare contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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"I truly love our Country, and love you all, and look forward to speaking to our Great Nation this week from Wisconsin," wrote Former President Donald Trump on social media. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

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