CCC Wednesday Communique — November 23, 2022

Our long, warm, downeast autumn is finally over and winter is here.  Several Organizations are holding winter clothing drives,
like Sunrise Prevention Council and Mano en Mano.

Happy Thanksgiving!

New this week:

Understanding the Impacts of Trauma – Now a Virtual Event

Due to a series of developments, this free training  presented by Julie Redding, LCPC, originally an in-person event, will be held virtually only on December 9, 2022 from 9 am — 12 pm. Designed for Family Futures Downeast partner staff, this training is available to all staff at CCC partner organizations. We will be exploring different kinds of stress and trauma, PTSD and ACEs, as well as practical skills to build greater capacity for self-regulation and self-care in both service providers and clients. CEUs will be available and all participants will receive contact hour certificates.  Register here.

Certified Clinical Medical Assistant Program

Washington County Community & Adult Education has an amazing offer for people who want an exciting, challenging, and rewarding career in healthcare working in physicians’ offices, clinics, and group practices: a free certified clinical medical assistant program. Beginning on December 14th, this is a blended program to provide students with the knowledge to perform administrative and clinical procedures. Classes will be held Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings, live online with onsite lab sessions in Bucksport, Machias, and Sullivan.  See flyer for details.  Sign up for an info session on December 1st or 6th at 5:30pm via Zoom.

UMM Winterfest

The University of Maine at Machias invites you to Winterfest at the Reynolds Center, Saturday, December 3rd, from 11 am — 5 pm, with an evening concert by Downeast Dead at the Performing Arts Center beginning at 7 pm.  See flyer for details.

Gift of Knowledge Community Resource Fair

The Career Center is hosting a Gift of Knowledge Community Resource Fair here at the Machias CareerCenter, located at 53 Prescott Drive in Machias, on Wednesday, December 14th from 11 am to 2 pm (snow date Dec 15th at the same time) and we would love to have your agency join us! For more information, contact Emerson at  Download a flyer to share.  Also, here are the webpage and Facebook links to the event.

Braving a New England Winter
Rights & Resources to Access Critical Services

Join the Tri-State Learning Collaborative on Aging community on December 13th from 12-1:30pm for an important discussion and networking opportunity highlighting critical information & resources as we head into the winter months. With heating and other utility costs soaring, this important conversation will explore rights and access to critical services and emergency preparedness to keep older adults in our communities safe and healthy through the cold, dark months ahead.  This is a call to action: no person and no organization is in this alone. We can do our best work and have the most impact when we band together and share resources to raise awareness. We invite and encourage you to bring information about key resources you have to offer and to think about how you can share with others on the webinar and in your community.  Register here.

Questions about Heating Help, Answered

Many people in Maine are worried about heating their homes this winter, especially with costs rising. Maine Equal Justice has a new guide to answer your questions about getting help. You (or someone you know) may be eligible for HEAP if your income is at or below the amount in this chart for your family size. If you have SNAP or TANF, you just need to show proof that you get that benefit to get HEAP, too.  If you or someone you know is having trouble making ends meet and might qualify for HEAP, be sure to read our HEAP 101 guide.

The Great Escape Auction is Back!

Wayfinder Schools’ fundraiser, The Great Escape Auction, will be live online on November 25th! We have more than a dozen great Maine escapes for you to bid on this year, including overnights at Migis Lodge, Smuggler’s Cove Oceanfront Inn, The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Lord Camden Inn, and Hidden Valley Nature Center; dinners and tastings at Primo, Long Grain, King Eider’s Pub, The Honey Paw, Barren’s Distillery, and Horn Run Brewing; sailing on Schooner Olad and Downeast Windjammer Cruises; golf at The Samoset Resort; skiing at Sugarloaf, Lost Valley, and The Camden Snow Bowl, and so much more. We have fantastic art and jewelry, and everything you need for the book lover, art lover, oyster lover, or outdoor adventurer on your holiday shopping list. This year we will offer a “buy now” option for those looking to have something secured in time for the holidays.

New CMS FAQs on Medicare Part D Insulin Costs

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 limits the out-of-pocket cost for all Part D insulin drugs to no more than $35 per 30-day prescription under all Medicare drug prescription plans. This change took effect too late to be reflected in the drug cost estimates in the Medicare Plan Finder. As a result, when researching the cost of insulin drugs on the Plan Finder, the out-of-date copays for insulin drugs still appear. It is therefore especially important for people who use insulin to get help from SHIP counselors to understand the true cost of their insulin options and to thereby determine which plan in fact best meets their needs at the lowest cost. If individuals using insulin choose the wrong plan during the Annual Open Enrollment Period, they can contact 1-800-Medicare and ask for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) to allow them to change plans. The opportunity to ask for a SEP runs through December 2023. Individuals with the Low-Income Subsidy (“LIS,” a.k.a. “Extra Help”) will continue to pay the lower LIS co-pays as reflected on the Plan Finder. Learn more in this FAQ from CMS on the new insulin copay rules.

Inflation Reduction Act: CMS Implementation Timeline

View how the Inflation Reduction Act will impact Medicare benefits through the year 2029 on this Timeline of Upcoming Changes to Medicare Drug Benefits.

Filling gaps in Part D coverage
If you are enrolled in Part D and having trouble affording your prescriptions or finding plans that will cover your drugs, there are several ways you may be able to fill the gaps in your coverage:
  1. Apply for Extra Help. This federal program helps pay for some to most of the out-of-pocket costs of Medicare prescription drug coverage.
  2. Check for State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs (SPAPs) in your state. These programs help residents pay for prescription drugs. Each program works differently, and not all states have SPAPs.
  3. Keep your retiree drug coverage. Talk to your or your spouse’s former employer to find out if your retiree drug coverage will fill gaps in Medicare’s prescription drug benefit.
  4. Buy an enhanced Part D plan. Enhanced plans charge higher monthly premiums than basic plans but typically offer a wider range of benefits. For instance, these plans may not have a deductible, may provide extra coverage during the donut hole, and may have a broader formulary. Some of these plans may also cover excluded drugs. Keep in mind that benefits vary by plan.
  5. Join a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage with lower out-of-pocket costs. Medicare HMOs, PPOs, and other private health plans may offer drug coverage that lowers your up-front costs (such as the deductible). However, you will need to look at more than just the plan’s drug coverage: Also make sure the plan covers your preferred doctors and hospitals at a cost you can afford.

New Guidance from the DOL

From Rudman Winchell : The Maine DOL has issued an interpretive guidance on the new legislation addressing vacation entitlement upon cessation of employment. These are the relevant points: As stated in the law, it only applies to private employers with at least 11 employees. The guidance clarifies that those employees are employees “who work” in Maine. It gives the example of an employer who has six employees in Maine and six in NH; that employer is not covered.  However, the guidance does not further clarify how remote workers might be counted or affected; presumably those working remotely out of state would not be counted. … Read More

Read full newsletter….