Each May, the Social Security Administration (SSA) mails letters to people enrolled in Medicare who are likely eligible for but not receiving the Part D Low-Income Subsidy (LIS), also known as Extra Help, and the Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs).
There are two variations of these letters (examples are from 2017):
- Form SSA-L447 provides information about the MSPs.
- Form SSA-L448 provides information about both LIS and MSPs.
SSA has released the number of letters mailed to each zip code in the United States in May-June 2018 in order to help community-based organizations and state and local agencies more effectively target outreach on these vital benefits programs.
Note: While these data help identify those likely eligible for these two programs based on their Social Security benefit, remember that Medicare beneficiaries may have additional sources of income or assets above the amounts allowed for the programs, and not all letter recipients may be eligible to enroll.
Using the visualization tool
Click on the map image to go to the full visualization tool or visit the tool using this link.
The map includes:
- A Fusion Table, where you can sort or search any column. Click on the arrow that appears when you hold your mouse over the column. In addition, you may filter results using the blue Filter button. (Note: In the table (but not the maps), where zip codes span multiple counties, the numbers appear duplicated. For example, if 10 letters were sent to one zip code that crosses 3 counties, the number 10 will be listed 3 times, one for each county, however, that does not mean 30 letters were sent, only 10.)
- A county/zip-code level map of where letters outlining both LIS and MSP were mailed.
- A county/zip-code level map of where MSP-only letters were mailed.
The two maps can be panned by clicking and dragging the screen. Zoom in and out using the controls in the lower right or with your mouse wheel. At the farthest zoom, the data points will appear as red dots, but when you zoom in, it will fill in the zip codes with a gradient based on the number of letters mailed (dark shades = greater number of letters). Clicking on a zip code will provide the following information: the state name, the zip code, the name of the place in which the post office for that zip code is located (in parentheses), and the total number of letters mailed to that zip code.
Example: Say you want to find the zip codes in New York where more than 200 MSP letters were mailed. You would do this by clicking the blue Filter button, selecting State in the dropdown box, and placing a check in the box next to NY. This will return all zip codes in New York. Now, click the Filter button again, select MSP, type 200 in the first box that appears, and click Find. This can be done either in the map view or in the table view. Mousing over an area will provide a box with the number of letters mailed, as illustrated in the example.
You may download either the full dataset or what you have filtered by clicking on File and then Download, and selecting either All rows or Filtered rows. The CSV file, which can be manipulated or printed in Excel or a spreadsheet program, will contain at least one column that is hidden in the online table view. These can be safely deleted; the only important columns are State, ZIP, MSP, and LIS.