The pandemic has been especially hard on the elderly population. Being in a high at-risk group meant that many older individuals could have no visitors and had their interactions hugely restricted even when living in the same home. This combined with staff shortages in hospices meant the levels of loneliness and isolation have skyrocketed in the past two years.
Initiatives such as introducing virtual reality headsets into residential homes, helped provide a solution for this loneliness. Also, because of the vaccine many are feeling safer to leave their homes, giving seniors more control over their lives again.
New incremental legislation changes also gave seniors more agency in their medical care, especially those with limited income.
Rights to appeal Medicare decisions
Previously Medicare could decline to pay for rehabilitation in a residential home after patients left the hospital due to their status of being “on observation.” This is due to the technicality that their records say they were an outpatient, even if this status had been reclassified from an inpatient. This left many families angry and with expensive medical bills.
“You can appeal just about every issue regarding your Medicare coverage, but not that one,” stated Alice Bers, litigation director at the Center for Medicare Advocacy. Things have changed, though. Patients can now appeal their cases and get the vital coverage for treatment they deserve when coming out of the hospital.
Medicaid requirements relaxed in California
This important service supplies medication and hospice coverage for people with low income, people with disabilities, and for seniors. Due to strict policy requirements, many people who needed this coverage weren’t getting it. For example, people over 6 could individually have no more than 2,000 dollars in assets (usually without including a house or car). Thankfully, California is now abolishing this cap on assets, opening up new eligibility for an estimated 17,000 residents.
Reopening of Social Security offices
Since March 2020 when the Pandemic hit, many Social Security offices have been shut per public safety protocols. This is problematic because there are multiple applications that can only be completed in person with original documents. This meant some seniors missed out on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and survivors’ benefits, when their spouses died.
Finally, around 1,200 local centers are reopening this spring, providing thousands of people across the US with the support they’ve been missing out on for the past two years.