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Welcome to Helping Seniors News

Joe Steckler

Welcome to the Inaugural Helping Seniors of Brevard County (“HSOBC”) News column. We will do our best to get senior news to you on events, information, things happening to seniors and those who care for them. We will have no criteria for length other than it must be applicable to seniors and reasonable in article length.  On other parts of the web site you will see the history of Helping Seniors of Brevard County but let me again tell you that our mission/vision is to promote the dissemination of information, development of an aging plan for Brevard County, assist seniors in connecting to services and ultimately fund an endowment so that we can help seniors and senior programs in the future.

It is no secret that times are changing. The Governor wants to  accept the Medicaid Program under the Affordable Health Care Act, as well as privatize the State of Florida’s Medicaid program. The new program is too complicated to go into detail on here but basically Medicaid care dollars will be managed by a designated number of Health Management Organizations which we know as HMO’s. The program will be implemented in Brevard starting 1 July 2013. If you will go to the “Florida Today Focus on Seniors Column” section of the web site you will see an excellent and informative article by attorney William Johnson. I ask you to read the column.

Pertinent facts that you should know include the following:

1.    Medicaid currently accounts for $22 billion of Florida budget, roughly 25%. These are State of Florida dollars, serve Floridians and come from  Florida revenue sources.

2.    The Affordable Health Care Act was designed to provide low cost insurance to all. While the law says all will have insurance, there are those who still can not afford nor will they ever have insurance so we now have the Super Waiver program where Medicaid now becomes a medical payment program. Under the Super Waiver program 900,000 new clients would be added to Florida Medicaid rolls for medical services. The cost will be paid for entirely by the Federal Government for the first three years and then 90% thereafter. Informed sources now say that the Florida Legislature  is opposed to Governor Scott’s Plan so we will see how it all plays out. Regardless, we will see some major changes to Medicaid in Florida.

There are various schools of thought about privatization. It makes it easier for management purposes but will it be the most cost effective way to manage precious resources and will we get the same bang for the buck? My opinion is that the most difficult part of all this will be to determine the value of the new program. Pilot programs have been in operation for several years and no conclusive results were obtained as to whether or not money was saved. Point in contention: under the Diversion Program, a State program with funding at 367 million, serving 22,00 clients, if the care manager determined that a client needed 3 days of Daycare a week, times 4 weeks a month at a total cost of $600 the remainder of the payment rate of about $1400 minus the $600 payment resulted in a profit of $900 dollars. Pretty good profit level. Of course  not all outcomes were so lucrative but, in the main, I would state that care managers from the HMO’s operated to the benefit of the HMO.

This is the type of information that you will see on the News Section from our contributors.  We also invite you to ask questions so that we can get a two way flow of information in place. Questions can and will be asked and answered over the Internet. We believe this will generate new and exciting information sources and enable us to think out of the box so to speak. Hope you have enjoyed.

Joe Steckler

Joe Steckler – President 

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