Dual Special Needs Plan expands access to health services for low-income Medicare population

By Dennis Archambault

The “silver tsunami” is a real phenomenon, as demographics of the United States increases in age. Many older adults find themselves struggling on fixed income with only Medicare benefits to help them get through a medical crisis. The “Dual Special Needs Plan,” also known as “dual-eligible” provides enhanced Medicare and Medicaid benefits for no extra cost to qualified enrollees. This is a benefit available at any time of the year, but as people are focused on the Medicare enrollment period, this is a good time to consider this benefit. It’s a benefit that many older adults miss out on because it’s not well-publicized.

The Special Needs Plan combines Medicare Part A and Part B hospital and medical coverage with Part D prescription drug coverage. There are also additional benefits beyond what traditional Medicaid or Medicare provide. There is no monthly premium or deductible. The program covers dental, vision, and hearing benefits, as well transportation, telehealth, and other services. Some insurers offer additional benefits such as nutrition support and home care. For more information on the Dual Special Needs Plan, contact Cheryl Porter-Hawkins, Authority Health’s Medicaid Finance Manager at cporter@authorityhealth.org, or call 313-871-3751.

Dennis Archambault is vice president of Public Affairs for Authority Health