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“100 things to know about Medicare and Medicaid — 2015 update”

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This July 2, 2015 article written by Emily Rappleye and found on Becker’s Hospital CFO website, offers some facts about Medicare, including but not limited to things like, who qualifies, who pays for it, a comparison in the growth of Medicare payment growth compared to that seen in private pay payment growth (bit of an eye-opener when I saw that one) and even talks about the history of the Medicare program including Presidents who start the program or who made changes to it.  There are far too many things for me to list here, but if you want some facts about Medicare and who benefits from it, I highly recommend this particular piece.  It is easy to understand and not written in an overly technical way, so I think anyone should be able to understand it easily.  It is not a complete answer to every question, and doesn’t combat every myth out there, but it does offer a lot of good starting points for understanding Medicare, and it even touches on Social Security a little also.

English: image edited to hide card's owner nam...

English: image edited to hide card’s owner name. author: Arturo Portilla (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“White men more likely to utilize mental health services than black, Hispanic men”

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This June 11, 2015 article from the Healio Psychiatric Annals talks about the differences between several racial groups among men between the ages 18 to 44 and their willingness to seek mental health care.

“Pa. Medicaid enrollees being transferred into new benefits program”

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This April 24, 2015 Morning Call article talks about the changes that are happening now with Medicaid in Pennsylvania as the Wolf administration makes changes to simplify the Medicaid program implemented under the Corbett Administration.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Me...

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Medicaid administrator) logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Pennsylvania Lawmakers Tackle Mental Health Stigma “

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This April 2, 2015 WESA – Pittsburgh NPR article talks about what lawmakers in Pennsylvania are realizing about the impact stigma has on the lives of people with mental health issues.

“Mental health coverage unequal in many Obamacare plans”

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This March 9, 2015 Article on the USA Today website talks about the inequalities seen in insurance coverage for mental health issues as it compares to the greater coverage offered for physical health care.

“Pa. Medicaid expansion switch to be done by September”

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This March 5, 2015 The Inquirer article found on the Philly.com website talks about the hope that Medicaid Expansion in Pennsylvania using the Federal expansion plan will be completed in September of this year.  This will be a multiphase process with the expectation that phase one will be completed in April.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Me...

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Medicaid administrator) logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Here’s why Gov. Wolf’s Medicaid expansion is a win for behavioral health services: Richard Edley”

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This February 23, 2015 Penn Live Op Ed article talks about what is hoped to be an improvement as Gov. Wolf transitions Pennsylvanians from HealthyPA to a more streamline traditional Medicaid program.

“Paid more, doctors see more Medicaid patients, Penn study finds”

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Me...

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Medicaid administrator) logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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This January 21, 2015 InsuranceNews.net article offers some insight into the reason that more primary care physicians don’t accept patients who are on Medicaid.  The article also indicates that Pennsylvania and New Jersey are among the states with the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rates in the country.

“‘Super-utilizer’ Medicare, Medicaid patients weigh heavily on hospitals”

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This February 19, 2015 article on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website talks about a part of Medicare and Medicaid patients referred to as “Super-users” because they typically are admitted to the hospital 5 or more times per year with one of the most common reasons being mental health issues.

“Parity for mental health care is still lagging, study says”

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This January 11, 2015 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article talks about the ways that mental health parity is still lagging behind physical health care in terms of access to and the availability of services.  Some of the factors the study uncovered include but were not limited to…. people with mental disorders tend to be at a high risk for being uninsured, and the fact that there is a shortage of mental health professionals (the article indicates there is roughly 1 professional for every 790 people with mental disorders.

One thought I had as I read this particular article was to wonder if there was a connection between the lack of health insurance in the mental health community, and other data that shows a person with a serious mental illness is likely to die 25 years earlier then someone without a mental illness.  Or how about the fact that the majority of the people currently smoking either have a mental illness or are mental health professionals and that the number of smokers in this population isn’t decreasing at the same rate as the decrease in the number of smokers who do not have a mental illness.  The overall health of people in the mental health community seems to be poorer than is seen in the overall population of non-mentally ill people.  I had often wondered what the reason behind these pieces of data were, but after reading this particular article I have to wonder if something as simple as getting people in the mental health community health insurance might be a way to begin to combat this imbalance in the comparison of the overall health of people with and without mental illnesses.  I know that insurance won’t solve every issue, but could it be a starting point?  I’m thinking that if people without mental disorders are more likely to be insured, then that would explain why they tend to be healthier. They would have better or at least more consistent access to health care evaluations, treatment and education then someone who is uninsured would have.

Mental Health Awareness Ribbon

Mental Health Awareness Ribbon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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