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A Breakfast with Medicare Colleagues

The Medicare Rx Access Network of Ohio (MRAN) recently sponsored a

breakfast discussion with central Ohio partners at the Central Ohio Area
Agency on Aging (COAAA). The focus was to discuss the latest news
surrounding Medicare, and how each attendees organization benefits their
communitys senior populations.
Andy Haggard, Medicare Outreach Manager for COAAA, welcomed
attendees to the COAAA facility on S. High St. in Columbus and provided
an overview of COAAA services. COAAA serves an eight-county region
and around 8,000 individuals. The Agency coordinates and arranges
services that provide community based long-term care programs including
PASSPORT, MyCare Ohio, the Ohio Home Care Waiver and the Franklin
County Senior Options Program. Local Advisory Council Members in each
county work with COAAA to provide local guidance. COAAA also
advocates for policies and programs that benefit older adults and people
with disabilities, as well as providing resources and education to families,
caregivers and professionals.
Following Andys comments, Jenny Camper with the MRAN of Ohio
reviewed new materials that were developed to assist MRAN chapters in
states throughout the country, with basic information on Medicare. The
information included the origins of the Medicare Rx Access Networks,
which serve as a consortium of statewide and local organizations that serve
seniors and people with disabilities. MRANs work with these partner
groups to facilitate education and promotion of Medicare for seniors, people
with disabilities and caregivers. In addition, MRANs serve as an advocate
for Medicare and the seniors who depend on its services. The materials
also reviewed vulnerabilities in the Medicare that advocates need to watch:
Part B (covers doctor appointments, outpatient care &
medications administered by a physician): The Center for
Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), as well as some
Congressional elements, have proposed changes to the payment
models that would reduce reimbursements for Part B medications.
Changing payment systems is concerning to medical providers,
health advocates and patients because typically the medicines
covered by Part B treat complex and serious conditions such as
cancer, arthritis and immune disorders. Typically, patients receiving
these medications often have no other treatment options.
Part D (covers outpatient prescription drug coverage: Despite
being a program recognized for efficiency and high rates of
satisfaction with beneficiaries, Part D is a target. Threats include
repeal of the Non-Interference Clause, altering Low-Income Subsidy
(LIS), imposing Medicaid-style rebates and weakening the six
protected classes of medications covered by Part D. Of particular
concern for Part D is the proposed Independent Payment Advisory
Board (IPAB) which was created by the Affordable Care Act and
tasked with achieving savings in Medicare once a spending threshold
is exceeded. Advocates are concerned that this 15-member board,
appointed by the President and unaccountable to Congressional
oversight, could make sweeping changes to Part D, affecting the care
of seniors and those with disabilities.

Central Ohio MRAN partners offer vital services

Those in attendance shared highlights of the programs and services
offered by their organization, as well as their concerns for seniors access
to healthcare:
Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging (COAAA) Provides Assisted
Living, transportation, congregate housing services, and home-
delivered meals
Sourcepoint Provide professional expertise, services, and programs
for Delaware County seniors, which include Meals on Wheels, chore
assistance, and in-home care services
Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA) OSMA represents nearly
16,000 physicians, residents and medical students in the state of
Ohio on issues including state and federal legislation and regulatory
affairs. OSMA physicians, residents and medical students advocate
on behalf of their patients and profession.
Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP)
Through the Ohio Department of Insurance, OSHIIP provides
Medicare beneficiaries with free, objective health insurance
information and one-on-one counseling. OSHIIP's hotline experts,
speaker's bureau, and trained volunteers educate consumers about
Medicare, Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D), Medicare
Advantage options, Medicare supplement insurance, long-term care
insurance, and other health insurance matters.
Licking County Aging Program Provides the largest senior center in
the county and helps meet local seniors essential need for meals,
health and home care and social connections. The Meals on Wheels
program delivers almost 1,000 meals, 5 days per week.
Central Ohio Diabetes Association CODA serves Franklin county
and a ten-county region with assistance regarding education around
diabetes and nutrition, and detection programs for identifying
diabetes, as well as camp and youth programs, outreach to high-risk
populations and financial resources information and support
programs. Ohio State Grange - Through fellowship, service and
legislative advocacy, the Grange serves rural and farming families
throughout Ohio. In addition to land use and agricultural issues, the
Grange advocates for health care access, especially for rural
populations and for senior citizens.
During the discussion, MRAN partners shared best practices for outreach
to seniors, as well as concerns they are hearing from seniors regarding
access and affordability of prescription medications and other health
The MRAN will continue providing updated information to all Ohio MRAN
partners on the status of the Medicare program. For copies of the
Medicare booklet, please contact Jenny Camper at or Angela Snyder at
MRAN partners in attendance included:
Clare Edwards, Sourcepoint
Paula Dean, Sourcepoint
Reggie Fields, Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA)
Darlene Turner, Licking County Aging Program
Linda Havens, Licking County Aging Program
Bob White, Ohio State Grange
Sue Roy, Ohio State Grange
Andy Haggard, Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging
Becky Hayward, Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program