Thursday, March 26, 2015

Information about the #ABLE Act

ABLE accounts:
 Are established in the new Section 529A Qualified ABLE Programs
 Are qualified savings accounts that receive preferred federal tax treatment
 Enable eligible individuals to save for disability related expenses
 Are NOT yet available, and there are still some unknowns
 Assets in and distributions for qualified disability expenses will be disregarded or given special treatment in determining eligibility for most federal means-tested benefits

The following slides (embedded) explain the ABLE Act in more detail.

This webinar was recorded and the materials will be
placed on the National Disability Institute website at

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

DDRS Waiver Renewal and Amendment

To: Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services Providers
From: Nicole Norvell, Director, Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services 
Re: Wavier Renewal and Amendment 
Date: March 24, 2015 

The Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services (DDRS) submitted an application for renewal of the expiring Family Supports Waiver (FSW) to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in December of 2014. 

CMS has responded to DDRS with questions regarding some of the content of the renewal that the Division will need additional time to review, beyond the standard 90 day period for CMS approval. Therefore, a three month extension was requested of the current waiver to allow for uninterrupted services to continue beyond the expiration date of March 31, 2015. CMS has granted this extension and the new date by which the proposed changes within the FSW renewal will be implemented, pending CMS approval, will be July 1, 2015. 

Programmatic functions will continue to be consistent during this three month extension as individuals will continue to be granted entrance into the FSW from either a priority category or from the FSW waitlist. Additionally, due to similar questions posed by CMS for the Community Integration and Habilitation (CIH) waiver amendment, the effective date of that amendment was revised to July 1, 2015. DDRS will continue to work with CMS to gain approval for both the FSW renewal and CIH amendment to ensure that high quality services continue to be delivered through both waivers. We appreciate your continued partnership and patience as we work to gain approval for these much needed changes. 

Questions about the extension or the renewal and amendment can be emailed to . 

Protecting Your Child from Sexual Abuse

Family Voices Indiana shares this resource, created by our specialist Heather Dane.

Children who have been identified as having a disability are at an increased risk for becoming victims of sexual abuse. It is estimated that children with disabilities are 2.9 times more likely than children without disabilities to be sexually abused. Within those disabilities, children with intellectual and mental health disabilities are at 4.6 times the risk of their non-disabled peers for sexual abuse. (Smith & Harrell, 2013) 

Identifying signs and symptoms in children with disabilities can often be difficult due to the nature of the disability. It is important to know how to best protect your child, know when to become concerned, and understand what to do in situations that are cause for concern. This guide is intended to give parents tools and resources needed to protect their child(ren). Please remember that each child and situation is unique therefore each family may need to modify to fit their individual needs. 

The guide is embedded below, but you can also access it here.

Action Alert: Contact Your Legislator about Children's Special Health Care Services #INLegis

Family Voices Indiana shares the following information about CSHCS and potential changes to the program:

Children's Special Health Care Services (CSHCS)
Indiana Children's Special Health Care Services provides supplemental medical coverage to help families of children who have serious, chronic medical conditions, age birth to 21 years of age, who meet the program's financial and medical criteria, pay for treatment related to their child's condition.  A family with an income, before taxes, no greater than 250% of the federal poverty level may be eligible for the program. It is often called a gap filler because it pays in addition to a family’s insurance and often is the difference between a child having inadequate or adequate coverage.  In short, it closes the gaps faced by underinsured families.

Language is being suggested that would move the program from its home at the Indiana State Department of Health to the Family and Social Services Administration Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning, and to “study” the future of the program.

Action Step:
Call and Email your State Senator and Representative today to explain the this small program is different and critically important to Hoosier families raising children who have special health care needs. 
You can find your legislators at:
You can call your  Representative at (800) 382-9842
You can call your Senator at (800) 382-9467

Sample Messages:
I am NAME, I live in your district, my family include a child who has a special health care need (you can name the diagnosis) Children's Special Health Care Services helped my family by cutting our high out of pocket expenses.  It is important to families like mine that this program continues.   Please do not support language to move or change this program.

I am NAME, I live in your district, I serve children who have  special health care needs in my work as  (name your job/role). Children's Special Health Care Services helps many families I serve  by cutting their  high out of pocket expenses.  It is important to the  families I serve  that this program continues.   Please do not support language to move or change this program.

I am NAME, I live in your district, I care about children who have  special health care needs in my work community. Children's Special Health Care Services helps many families  by cutting their  high out of pocket expenses.  It is important to the  families my community   that this program continues.   Please do not support language to move or change this program.

Bonus Action Steps:
We know that legislators need to hear from 30-50 people about an issue.  Ask your friends, neighbors, co-workers, family and contacts to email and call, too.  Use social media and direct messages to spread the request.

Monday, March 23, 2015

FAQ about Hoosier Care Connect

Many of our members have been receiving letters about Hoosier Care Connect. You can read more about it at this post:

The most common question is how to choose a plan. FSSA addressed this in their FAQ:

Q28. What should I consider when choosing a health plan? 

A. Choosing a health plan is a personal decision. While FSSA is confident that all health plans are able to meet your needs, you may want to consider the following points when choosing a health plan: 

Doctor: If you already have a favorite doctor that you want to continue to see, you should find out which plans he or she participates in. You can call the Hoosier Care Connect Helpline at 1- 866-963-7383 to find out if your doctor participates in any of the health plans.

Locations: You may want to make sure that the health plan has providers that are conveniently located for you. This may mean they are near your home, your work, your child’s school, or on a bus line. You can call the Hoosier Care Connect Helpline at 1-866-963-7383 to find out what doctors are located near you in each health plan.

Special Programs: Hoosier Care Connect health plans each offer special programs such as disease management and wellness programs. You may want to select the health plan that offers special programs for something that is of interest to you. You can call the Hoosier Care Connect Helpline at 1-866-963-7383 to learn more about the special programs offered by each health plan.

You can find the entire FAQ embedded below:

Call about #CHIP Funding

from Families USA:

Last week, the House of Representatives released bipartisan legislation proposing an extension of funding for CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  CHIP is being included as part of a legislative package on the Sustainable Grown Rate (SGR), commonly referred to as the “doc fix.”  This package includes a clean, two-year extension of funding for CHIP.  While Families USA prefers a four-year extension of CHIP to align the program’s funding with its authorization (which runs through fiscal year 2019), we applaud the House for their quick, timely, and bipartisan efforts to cleanly extend funding for the program. For additional information, here is Families USA’s letter of support for this package and an analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Please join us for a teleconference on:
Tuesday, March 24th at 2pm EDT
Call-in number: (855) 643-3095/ID: 13731744

Go here to register.

Families USA and colleagues from Center on Budget and Policy Priorities will discuss the merits of the legislative package for children and review next steps needed to move forward on securing an extension of funding for CHIP.  We have also asked colleagues from the Georgetown Center for Children and Families to discuss what the package means for children's health coverage. Co-sponsors of this call include American Academy of Pediatrics, Community Catalyst, and Partnership for America’s Children.

Patrick Willard, Field Director
Shannon Donahue Attanasio, Deputy Director Government Affairs
Families USA

The 5th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act #ACA

Today marks the 5th Anniversary of The Affordable Care Act

In collaboration with The Catalyst Center, the National Center for Medical Home Implementation (NCMHI) has created four fact sheets which describe provisions of the Affordable Care Act which benefit children and youth with special health care needs. Written in plain language, each fact sheet is easy to read and understand. Families will find information related to:
If you need further information, feel free to contact 317 944 8982