Medicare and Social Security Update:
What You Need to Know for 2016

senior living

Medicare beneficiaries received some good news during the recent federal budget negotiations. Due to the fact that there is no Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2016, coupled with an increase in Medicare Part B premiums, 2016 monthly Social Security payments would have been smaller in 2016. But a last minute budget deal prevented that calamity. The budget that passed and was signed by President Obama did not include any Social Security (COLA) increases, but it did remove or delay the Medicare Part B premium increases for the majority of seniors. The net result: most seniors will not see a decrease in their monthly payments.

Additionally, Americans receiving Social Security Disability payments were spared a potential 20 percent decrease for 2016 due to a long-standing deficit in the fund. That’s because, of the 12.4 percent combined employee and employer contribution to the Social Security trust funds only 1.8 percent is allocated to the disability fund. Congress alleviated some of the burden by increasing this contribution to 2.37 percent over the next three years, giving Congress time to come up with a long-term solution.

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It’s That Time of Year! Tips for Choosing a Health Insurance Plan


Recently CFYM sat down with DBSA Texas Grassroots Organization (“GO”) Chair Kimberly Allen to discuss the Affordable Care Act. Ms. Allen is a former insurance broker who has advised individuals living with a mental health condition and their families on matters pertaining to health insurance. In this informative interview, Ms. Allen shares tips on how to find the ACA policy that best fits your circumstances. Additionally, we’d like your feedback on High Deductible Insurance Plans. 

Care for Your Mind: It’s been three years now since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). What effect has it had on individuals living with a mental health condition and their families?

Kimberly Allen: People now have a lot more access to mental health services. For starters, no one can be denied insurance coverage based on preexisting conditions and plans cannot charge more based on medical history or current health care needs.

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Where Do Service Members Get Mental Health Support? (For many, it’s not where you think.)

Dianna Watkins

Families for Depression Awareness for Care for Your Mind

Mental health issues for members of the military run the spectrum, but major depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder are especially prevalent. Mental health is still taboo in the military; though sometimes for good reason, revealing a mental health concern can result in loss of livelihood, way of life, and identity. There is a shortage of providers. And there is another layer of stigma beyond that in civilian society. As a consequence, service members find it difficult to get the professional help they need.

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What Can Families Do to Help Returning
Service Members?

Dianna Watkins

Families for Depression Awareness for Care for Your Mind

Adjusting to home after deployment can be difficult for service members and their families. Service members undergo life-changing experiences while deployed and, of necessity, create their own support groups – families, if you will. The situation back at home can be awkward – or worse – for all involved. It will probably take time to rebuild relationships. And for most, life and relationships will be different than they were prior to deployment.

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Veterans Supporting Veterans Through Innovative Veteran “X” Program

Mr. Thomas E Pratt

Thomas E. Pratt, CPSS and David B. Shaw, Ph.D.

Veteran “X” is a peer-led mental health recovery program in which the participants serve as the treatment team for a fictitious Veteran “X”. Veteran “X” has a number of social barriers that are similar to those faced by the group’s participants. While empowering Veteran “X” to solve issues, the participants gain valuable recovery skills and factual information to resolve their own concerns.

Veteran “X” was established at the Hampton (Virginia) VA Medical Center in 2009 and, since its inception, the program has helped more than 1,800 Veterans in the Hampton Roads area. In addition to helping Veterans locally, Hampton’s Veteran “X” program has developed a national training program for Veteran “X” facilitators. Sixteen Peer Support Specialists have become certified Veteran “X” facilitators and 24 programs have been established at VA medical facilities nationwide.

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Collaborative Care: Good for Employees, Good for Employers, Good for Health


Laurel Pickering

When it comes to mental health issues—particularly depression—research has shown that collaborative care is the most effective treatment available.

This model allows patients to access their Primary Care Physician (PCP), a consulting psychiatrist, and a case manager through one practice for coordinated mental health care. For patients, it offers faster, more comprehensive, and personalized care; for employers, it helps increase productivity and lower disability claims; and for health care plans, it helps reduce costs over time.

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The Mental Health Tragedy in the US:
What Can Be Done?

vic headshot

Victor Schwartz, MD, Medical Director, The Jed Foundation

In an October 2015 segment of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver did a stunningly effective report on the tragic state of mental health services and care in the US. While it seems we only talk about mental health care as a national policy issue after mass shootings – which, as Oliver pointed out, is exactly the wrong time and context for this discussion – we have a national tragedy around mental health care.  Given that we only recently commemorated World Mental Health Day, it behooves us to take a few moments to consider the problem and what we might do about it, apart from the debate around gun violence and mental health.

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It Takes a Campus

Nance Roy Photo

How colleges and universities can better support students with behavioral health issues

Nance Roy, Ed.D.
Clinical Director, The Jed Foundation

The need for campus-based support for students with behavioral health conditions is clear. According to NAMI, nearly 73 percent of students living with a mental health condition experienced a mental health crisis on campus. Yet, 35 percent of those students reported that their college did not know about their crisis. Overall, 40 percent of students with diagnosable mental health conditions did not seek help.

Colleges can best meet students’ needs by enhancing institutional awareness and response to students who are struggling. While most colleges and universities have behavioral health services to support students, often not everyone on campus is aware of the resources. Even the best of programs and services can’t be effective if they remain largely unknown and not well utilized.

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