Thousands of low-income New Jersey seniors and adults with disabilities are potentially eligible for, but not enrolled in, the Medicare Low Income Subsidy (LIS/Extra Help) and Medicare Savings Programs (MSP). Through its Medicare Improvements to Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) grant, New Jersey is drawing on creative local partnerships to reach out to these individuals and help them receive benefits to assist with their prescriptions and health care costs.
What did they do?
With a culturally diverse, largely urban population, New Jersey has had to identify creative and varied outreach strategies to reach its multiple target audiences. Here are a few of the local partnerships the MIPPA grantees have cultivated to expand their LIS/MSP outreach:
- Spanish language media. In order to reach Spanish-speaking seniors in their county, one Area Agency on Aging (AAA) has partnered with a local nonprofit social service and cable television production agency, DH/Perfil Latino TV, which serves the region’s Latino population. Radio and television promotion has been used to draw Latino seniors to enrollment events, including a breakfast at a supermarket in a Latino area.
- Religious institutions. Another local agency implementing MIPPA activities has partnered with a Hindu temple to further outreach to the Hindu community. This MIPPA partner has given presentations at the temple, and trained a temple member to help individuals complete the state pharmaceutical assistance program application used for LIS and MSP enrollment.
- Freeholder (County Commissioner) Partnership. In another local area, an AAA partnered with a freeholder (New Jersey’s equivalent of a county commissioner), who serves as the lead spokesperson of its outreach campaign around MSPs (tag line: Everyone likes a Free-B!). In addition to writing a letter that was published in seven newspapers, the freeholder has mailed letters, flyers, and fact sheets to each local mayor and to supermarkets, ministers, and caregivers. He also appeared with the AAA director on several local radio and television programs to promote the enrollment campaign.
What was the result?
Each of these partnerships resulted in an increased number of members of the target population applying for LIS and MSP. The AAA that partnered with DH/Perfil Lation TV, for example, observed a greater number of calls from Latinos seeking help with Medicare costs. Likewise, more members of the Hindu community have submitted benefits applications, and the strong partnership between the MIPPA agency and temple now means this partner has become a trusted source of benefits enrollment and counseling for this community. And as of September 2010, the Ocean County AAA – site of the freeholder partnership –had directly submitted 423 MSP and/or LIS applications, plus distributed hundreds more to Medicare beneficiaries who completed and submitted the applications on their own.
These are just a few of the many diverse partnerships and other creative approaches being used to bolster benefits outreach and enrollment. As of September 2010, New Jersey has helped more than 800 Medicare beneficiaries to find over $2.2 million in much-needed benefits.
For more information
To learn more about New Jersey’s activities, please contact Dennis McGowan of the New Jersey Division of Aging & Community Services at email@example.com