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Disability Resources

Resources for Disabilities The Americans Disabilities Act defines a disability “as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.” For cancer patients some of these disabilities may be temporary or permanent. Some of the disabilities may be due to the cancer or other due to the lingering side effects. In any case if a disability has impacted your life in any way it is a good idea to find out what resources might be available in your community to access help. Listed below are a small sampling of resources in the DFW area and nationally. Job Accommodation Network-With Disabilities Cancer Legal Resources Reach of Dallas Easter Seals North Texas North Central Texas Aging & Disability Resource Center Lighthouse for the Blind Deaf Action Center  


 

Recursos para discapacitados

La Ley para Personas con Discapacidades  define a una persona discapacitada “como aquella persona que tiene una discapacidad física o mental que limita considerablemente una o más de las principales actividades vitales, una persona que tiene un historial o antecedentes de una discapacidad tal, o una persona que es percibida por otros como alguien que tiene una discapacidad tal.” Para los pacientes con cáncer, algunas de estas discapacidades pueden ser temporales o permanentes. Algunas de las discapacidades pueden deberse al cáncer u otras debido a los efectos secundarios persistentes. En cualquier caso, si una discapacidad ha afectado su vida de alguna manera, es una buena idea averiguar qué recursos podrían estar disponibles en su comunidad para acceder a la ayuda. A continuación hay una una pequeña muestra de recursos en el área de DFW y a nivel nacional. Job Accommodation Network-With Disabilities Cancer Legal Resources Reach of Dallas Easter Seals North Texas North Central Texas Aging & Disability Resource Center Lighthouse for the Blind Deaf Action Center  
 

Have questions about disability resources?

Need to connect with our Cancer Resource Specialist Jackie? ALL of her services are FREE.

Call (214) 345-8428 or email Info@CancerSupportTexas.org.

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Volunteer of the Month: Vivian Partridge

Vivian Partridge November 2018I have been a member of CSC for several years after successfully surviving breast cancer initially diagnosed in February 2014. As a member of the CSC, I attend many of the activities, lectures and support groups offered in the Collin County Clubhouse. I have developed many friendships over the past few years and these new friends are very dear to me. We share a common bond as cancer survivors but it goes farther than that. We often get together outside of the clubhouse to share a meal or see a movie. I was offered the opportunity to train to be a volunteer and I found that there is always time to help, even though I have other responsibilities like everyone else. I found that I really enjoyed the volunteer work I do at the Clubhouse. As a hostess, I answer phones and greet visitors, assist with set up and/or clean up of special events. This year I even helped to decorate the clubhouse for the Holidays.    


 

Want to become a volunteer at your local clubhouse? Click here!

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Fletcher Family Story

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My name is Melissa Fletcher and my husband Aaron was diagnosed with Stage 4 Chromophobe Kidney Cancer last February.  As our journey through kidney cancer moved overwhelmingly fast, Aaron’s health turned from bad to worse in a blink of an eye.  I quickly realized I needed to find a support group for my 10 year old daughter.

I work in a local school district and first approached many counselors that I am friends with and they really did not know anything for my daughter in our area.  I decided to turn to the internet and “googled” counseling groups for children.  The first thing that popped up was the Cancer Support Community North Texas (CSCNT).  I searched some more and found out that the Tarrant County Clubhouse (one of three local DFW clubhouses) was just 2 miles from my house!

In April, we found out my husband’s tumors were, for the 2nd time, growing out of control – one the size of a liter bottle attached to his colon.  At this point, I was in a panic and called the Tarrant County Clubhouse.  Cyndy, the CSCNT Program Director, immediately scheduled me for a new member meeting set for the very next day.  I was very nervous but knew I needed to find an outlet for my daughter.  Cyndy was very calm and welcoming as we went through the two hour meeting.  She acknowledged my fears and immediately started sharing resources to help our family out during my husband’s illness. received_1892337057525014

As we talked, she shared with me that the clubhouse was not just for patients (past and present) and their children, but also for the caregiver! She immediately placed me in a caregivers support group that met two days later.  I had no time to back out- and that was the best thing for me.  The first meeting was very awkward for me because all I wanted to do through this whole health crisis (and in life) was “blend in.” I have been attending group now since April and every time gets easier. I feel more at “home” with my group.  We come together to share our celebrations, struggles and look for hope and new ideas when we are out of them ourselves.  I have found that my caregivers group has become a necessity for my “self-care” through this cancer battle with my husband.  He too has a group for his metastasized cancer.  After many months off of work, he has been able to return full time and is not always able to go to his weekly meetings.  Any time we are at CSCNT’s Tarrant County clubhouse (for everything from Noogieland to the social events) his fellow group members go out of their way to find him and catch up with him.  This little act of kindness has given him strength to fight through the horrible side effects of him immunotherapy.

My daughter has also been able to become an active member through CSCNT’s Noogieland program, devoted to children affected by a cancer diagnosis.  This summer, in the midst of an almost month-long hospital stay at UT Southwestern, she was able to attend the summer day camp that totally took her mind off the stresses of her daddy’s disease.  It truly was a Godsend to our family.

Of all the wonderful things that have happened to us after joining Cancer Support Community, the best thing has been  reconnecting with families from our local schools (I have worked in our local school district for 18 years) that have been impacted by cancer and supporting each other through this journey has been a Godsend.  I now am a huge advocate for this organization and program of support… I share information with anybody and everybodyto help them along in their cancer journey find the right support they need at the right time for their families.


Membership at Cancer Support Community is completely free of charge. 

To learn more about becoming a member, please call (214) 345-8230 or email Info@CancerSupportTexas.org.

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Open Enrollment Information

Open Enrollment Open Enrollment is here. Now is a great time to compare plans to determine your potential medical expenses for the coming year. Below are some tips and suggestions when looking at the new plans for 2018.

  1. How to understand the basics of an insurance plan.
    1. Insurance can be very complex. Understanding how your insurance plan works is incredibly important. Triage Cancer is a great site to view animated short videos on how insurance works
    2. Triage Cancer-Animated Videos
  2. Will you still be in treatment for cancer in 2018?
    1. Take a look at the out of pocket expenses of all plans to see what your potential expenses might be. The longer you are in treatment the more likely you will reach your out of pocket max
  3. HSA/FSA Accounts? Yes, this money does come out of your check but it can be a great way to access money pretax to pay your medical bills.
  4. Affordable Health Care Plans
    1. Make sure that once you have selected you plan you call the clinics to ensure that the plan is IN NETWORK for ALL of the doctor’s you want to maintain.
    2. Open Enrollment dates November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017
  5. Medicare
    1. Open Enrollment: October 15- December 7.
    2. If you want to shop around with plans or have questions a good place to start is with your local Area Agency on Aging. They have certified navigators that can help you understand the health insurance plans. They can also help you determine if you qualify for any extra help programs.
    3. Tarrant County Area Agency on Aging- 817-258-8125
    4. Dallas County Area Agency on Aging-214-871-5065
    5. North Central Texas Area Agency on Aging- 800-272-3921

Inscripción Abierta

La inscripción abierta está aquí. Ahora es un buen momento para comparar los planes para determinar sus posibles gastos médicos para el próximo año. A continuación se presentan algunos consejos y sugerencias al examinar los nuevos planes para 2018.
  1. Cómo entender los conceptos básicos de un plan de seguro.
    1. El seguro puede ser muy complejo. Comprender cómo funciona su plan de seguro es increíblemente importante. Triage Cancer es un gran sitio para ver videos cortos animados sobre cómo funciona el seguro
    2. Triage Cancer-Animated Videos
  2. ¿Todavía estarás en tratamiento para el cáncer en 2018?
    1. Mire a los máximo de gastos de su propio bolsillo de todos los planes para ver cuáles podrían ser sus posibles gastos. Si usted va a estar en tratamiento por un tiempo, es probable que alcance su máximo de gastos de su propio bolsillo
  3. Cuentas de HSA / FSA? Sí, este dinero sale de su cheque, pero puede ser una gran manera de acceder al dinero antes de impuestos para pagar sus facturas médicas.
  4. Planes de Affordable HealthCare
    1. Asegúrese de que una vez que haya seleccionado su plan de llamar a las clínicas para asegurarse que el plan está EN LA RED para TODOS los médicos que desea mantener.
    2. Fechas de inscripción abierta son el 1 de noviembre de 2017 al 15 de diciembre de 2017
  5. Medicare
    1. Fechas de inscripción abierta: del 15 de octubre al 7 de diciembre.
    2. Si tiene preguntas, un buen lugar para comenzar es con su Agencia de Área local sobre el Envejecimiento. Ellos tienen navegadores certificados que pueden ayudarle a entender los planes de seguro de salud. También pueden ayudarle a determinar si califica para cualquier programa de ayuda adicional
    3. Tarrant County Area Agency on Aging- 817-258-8125
    4. Dallas County Area Agency on Aging-214-871-5065
    5. North Central Texas Area Agency on Aging- 800-272-3921
 

Need assistance or more information?

Contact our bilingual Cancer Resource Specialist, Jackie Castillo, at (214) 345-8428!

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Medicare + Open Enrollment

These Changes Will Benefit Medicare Recipients The Open Enrollment Period for residents in Texas will take the place of the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) which was January 1 through February 14 of every year. This MADP only allowed beneficiaries to disenroll from their Medicare Advantage plan and switch back to Original Medicare, they wouldn’t be able to switch from MA plan to MA plan. The return of the Medicare Open Enrollment Period will benefit many Medicare beneficiaries; especially if you forgot to change your Medicare Advantage plan or decided a different healthcare plan would be more suitable for your needs. There are some things you’ll be able to do during the OEP, like:

  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
    • You can only make one change, so make it count!
  • Disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and switch back to Traditional Medicare with or without a Part D plan.

The “Open Enrollment Period” Mix-up

The reason this gets confusing is because CMS failed to create better terminology for the different enrollment periods available to Medicare beneficiaries. The Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period is for beneficiaries that are new to Medicare Part B and just turned 65. This gives beneficiaries the lowest possible premium on the most comprehensive coverage. With not health questions asked, which for cancer patients, getting the best coverage is ideal. Then the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is commonly (an incorrectly) referred to as an Open Enrollment Period. This is the enrollment period that happens every year from October 15 through December 7th, during this time anyone with a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Part D plan can change coverage for the following year. The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is typically confused with the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period. The IEP gives Medicare beneficiaries 7 months to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan; three months before, the month of and the three months after they become eligible for Medicare Part B and are 65 years old.

The Open Enrollment Period Simplified

It can be confusing when talking about the Open Enrollment Period. Especially since there are so many enrollment periods referred to as the “Open Enrollment Period”. The reinstated Open Enrollment Period is for Medicare Advantage plan beneficiaries and will begin on January 1 and end on March 31. The new Medicare changes of 2019 will make changing from one Medicare Advantage plan to a more suitable plan, simple. While there’s opportunity here that allows beneficiaries to change plans, you should understand that you won’t be able to switch Part D plans during the Medicare Open Enrollment Period. Medicare eligible beneficiaries that are enrolled in a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan need to make changes to their Part D Prescription Drug plan during AEP (October 15 through December 7). Each year around September 30th, Medicare Advantage beneficiaries will receive an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) from their existing insurance carrier for their Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription drug plan providers. When you receive this information, take responsibility and note changes. This will give you control, and you can adjust your coverage if needed. You need to be aware of what your plan and Medicare will cover. CMS will post plan changes for the following year in October, several months before the new year. Medicare.gov is a valuable resource for Medicare beneficiaries, they can compare plans, look up information and learn more about Medicare.  ]]>

Volunteer of the Month: Tito

TitoAndMe“I got involved with CSC to earn community service hours for a class at school called AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination). It’s a class about college readiness, and teaches organization and prioritization of time. My mom is a cancer patient and a member of CSC and suggested getting more involved with the community through volunteering. At CSC I help out with group gatherings like holiday dinners, where I help prepare and set out the food and clean up. I also help prepare and set up activities at events for the kids who’s lives have been impacted by cancer.”

– Tito

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Volunteer of the Month: Zainy Naveed

20180921_182304“I stumbled upon CSCNT through school as I was looking for places to volunteer and give back to my community. I did not know at the time that I was about to meet some of the kindest people on earth who eventually would be like family. I work as a hostess for the clubhouse so I greet whoever walks through the door and feel so proud representing what this institute stands for. I am lucky to be a small part of this fantastic institution!”

-Zainy Naveed

Want to become a volunteer at Cancer Support Community? Email Info@CancerSupportTexas.org or click here!

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Health Insurance Appeals Process

Health Insurance – Appeals Process Insurance denials can occur when dealing with such a complex issue, such as cancer. Reasons for denials can vary from things like coding mistakes to more information needed from the doctor. ALWAYS ATTEMPT A HEALTH INSURANCE APPEAL. There are a few steps to filing an internal appeal, but in many cases, it is worth your time to attempt the appeal and explain your situation to see if the decision can’t be overturned. Before you begin the process always check in with your medical team first. In many circumstances, the clinic may file an appeal on your behalf saving you time and effort. Most insurance companies do require the appeal to be initiated in writing. Check with your insurance company to see how to begin the process. Most appeals are time sensitive, so you want to make sure and check the mail in a timely manner. Patient Advocate Foundation, offers detailed tips on what factual information should be included in the appeal letter to for the insurance to reconsider. Working with your medical team will be vital, they can assist in gathering evidence based information.  Patient Advocate-Navigating Insurance Appeals If the internal appeals process does not work or you need a faster response because it is a life threatening condition you can also ask for an External Review. The health insurance would be required to have an Independent Review Organization consider your case. Understanding of this process can help you to better advocate for yourself.


 

Proceso de apelación de seguros de salud

Las negaciones de seguro pueden ocurrir cuando se trata de un problema tan complejo, como el cáncer. Las razones de los rechazos pueden variar desde cosas como errores de codificación hasta más información necesaria del médico. SIEMPRE INTENTE UNA APELACIÓN DE SEGURO DE SALUD. Hay algunos pasos para presentar una apelación interna, pero en muchos casos, vale la pena dedicar tiempo a intentar la apelación y explicar su situación para ver si la decisión no se puede anular. Antes de comenzar el proceso, siempre consulte primero con su equipo médico. En muchas circunstancias, la clínica puede presentar una apelación en su nombre para ahorrarle tiempo y esfuerzo. La mayoría de las compañías de seguros requieren que la apelación se inicie por escrito. Consulte con su compañía de seguros para ver cómo comenzar el proceso. La mayoría de las apelaciones son sensibles al tiempo, asegurarse de revisar el correo de manera oportuna. Patient Advocate Foundation, ofrece consejos detallados sobre qué información objetiva debe incluirse en la carta de apelación para que el seguro la reconsidere. Trabajar con su equipo médico será vital, ya que pueden ayudarlo a recopilar información basada en evidencia. Patient Advocate-Navigating Insurance Appeals Si el proceso de apelaciones internas no funciona o si necesita una respuesta más rápida porque es una condición que amenaza la vida, también puede solicitar una Revisión externa. Se requeriría que el seguro de salud tenga una Organización de Revisión Independiente que considere su caso. La comprensión de este proceso puede ayudarlo a abogar mejor por usted mismo.]]>