Approximately 800 People Set to Lose Brokerage Services OCT 1

As a result of budget cuts during the 2011/2013 session, the State of Oregon Department of Human Services has instructed support services brokerages statewide to exit customers without Medicaid from brokerage services on October 1st.

Statewide, it is estimated that 800 people will lose services. If you aren’t on Medicaid and you need help applying, call your Personal Agent at your brokerage as soon as possible.

How does eliminating services for people without Medicaid/OHP save the state money?

  • The state currently provides services for customers who are not Medicaid eligible solely from the state general fund budget.  When a customer in services becomes eligible for Medicaid, the state can access federal funding on their behalf. If a customer is on a Medicaid waiver, the federal government funds approximately 60% of their services, therefore saving the state money.

I have a job; can I still apply for Medicaid?

  • Most likely.  Currently, brokerage customers can potentially access Medicaid if they have resources under $2,022.00.  “Resources” means the amount of money left over in your bank account the following month after you’ve paid your bills.  Your primary vehicle or home does not count as a resource.  If you are an adult over the age of 18, your parents’ resources no longer count and the Medicaid worker would be considering your resources alone. There are also other incentive programs out there which help working people with disabilities qualify for Medicaid such as the Employed Persons with Disabilities (EPD) program. Ask your Personal Agent to set you up with a benefits planner to discuss your options.

I have private insurance already, why should I apply for Medicaid?

  • You can keep your private insurance AND still be eligible for Medicaid. Your private insurance will remain your primary insurance benefit.  In some cases, once you become eligible for Medicaid, it will even cover your premiums on your private insurance or Medicare insurance plan, saving you money! If you are a brokerage customer, having Medicaid also increases the amount of plan dollars you are eligible for. Even if you are not utilizing all the money in your plan now, you may need additional supports some day.

Who do I talk to about my options for applying for Medicaid?

  • Talk to your Personal Agent. They can help direct you to the right office and can assist with the application process if needed.  Sometimes it’s helpful to talk to a benefits planner beforehand to make sure you are taking advantage of all the incentive programs that might be available to you.

NOTE: The original entry was written by Erin Graff on the Independence Northwest blog. Some edits have been made to update the content.

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5 thoughts on “Approximately 800 People Set to Lose Brokerage Services OCT 1

  1. Non-Medicaid customers will return to their Community Developmental Disabilities Program (usually run by their county of residence) for case management services. The case managers will be charged with finding resources in an environment of shrinking options. Unfortunately, this change puts these Oregonians in the same position they were in prior to enrollment with brokerage services. They will have access to a case manager and specific crisis services in the event of emergency or serious need, but there will likely be no ongoing funding available to them for day to day living supports. The impact of this decision on our community cannot be overstated – it is a significant change to the way Oregon supports the developmental disabilities community. The brokerage community fought hard to advocate against this decision, but in the end the State of Oregon arrived at this decision to meet their budgetary challenges.

  2. So now Oregon will be paying $40,000 or more per year for each person going into crisis instead of $4000 per year for each person’s daily living supports to keep them out of crisis (and often also enabling them to keep their jobs and generate revenue for the State of Oregon). I do not see crisis and unemployment as a viable answer to what should be done to access services.

    I wish I’d seen more evidence of interest in this issue on the part of family members and support providers (including the brokerages) than I did. There are a lot of parents of 18 – 21 year olds out there, but very few people who care about older adults who don’t meet medicare thresholds. “Oh, they have resources, they’ll be fine.” That is not true at all. “They’re the case manager’s problem now, bye!” Unfortunately the minority of a minority (non-medicaid eligible adults with developmental disabilities and few or no family advocates) can’t make enough noise to be heard.

    I’ll stop now. I get the message. I just felt it’s important that anyone reading this knows a little more about the reality of what is going to happen to those who can’t follow the original post’s exciting steps to medicaid application.

    (P.S. As someone who is losing their services, I loved learning about the details of my fate from a comment on a public blog rather than my PA. That really made me feel extra cared about during this stressful time.)

  3. How about we just not have a special election to fill Congressman Wu’s
    position, which is said to cost the state approximately $400,000? That
    money could be used to help pay for the less than $4,000/yr. plans customers
    have, and there would be money left over to carry on for the following year.

    By saying people will still receive case management only services is kind
    of misleading. People will be added to an already overwhelmed comprehensive
    system. Basically, people won’t be getting any help at all, except maybe an
    annual check-in from a social worker.

    Oregon, we can do much, MUCH better than this!

  4. This is a sad event all around, agreed. At brokerages, we see many reasons why a person isn’t Medicaid eligible – some people are non-citizens, some are in their third appeal with Social Security and yes, some are over resource (though that doesn’t necessarily mean they can afford to pay for the supports they need to live independently). We shared these concerns with anyone who would listen. For months and months, brokerage staff have been meeting with legislators, testifying at public meetings, calling/writing elected officials and developing online advocacy projects such as The Dear Legislator Project (www.dearlegislator.org).

    This was a decision made by the Department of Human Services, not support service brokerages. The decision to exit individuals equals money savings at the state level (to fill budget holes as directed by the legislature). At the brokerage level, it potentially means layoffs, loss of income and downsizing of workforce. People are losing services and people are losing livelihoods. Contractors and domestic employees are losing contracts and jobs. Personal Agents and administrative staff are losing jobs.

    Brokerages have just received word recently that this service cut is actually happening. It quickly moved from a “maybe” to a “definitely.” The Department of Human Services has yet to issue any statement to those affected and may not for weeks still. We do know they are working on it. I posted this on the blogs and social media sites I am responsible for (OSSA and Independence Northwest) to get the word out.

    I can only speak for my organization Independence Northwest, but we have sent mailers to every person affected, our staff has been in communication for months with every person affected, we have been updating our Facebook page and blog with information as we received it and we have been working closely with county and state personnel to develop a proper plan for transitioning people back to the counties. Brokerage personnel have worked hard to assist people to become Medicaid eligible for months now and many people will not be affected as a result.

    This loss is hard on the entire disability community and if we could change it, I promise we would. After nearly ten years working in the brokerage system, I consider this to be the most unfortunate, damaging and unfair ramifications of budget cuts the brokerage community has seen.

    – Larry Deal, Executive Director of Independence Northwest

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