Letters Alert Eligible Medicare Beneficiaries to Missed Benefits

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Vanessa Sink

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NCOA, Local Partners Can Help Older Adults Enroll

Arlington, VA – Medicare beneficiaries soon will receive a letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) if they are eligible for help with their out-of-pocket medical and drug expenses. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) encourages beneficiaries who receive these letters to take action to learn more about the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) and Extra Help. For many beneficiaries, it’s as easy as contacting a community organization in their neighborhood.

The letters are sent annually to Medicare beneficiaries with limited incomes who could be eligible for—but are not enrolled in—an MSP, which helps with Medicare out-of-pocket costs, or Extra Help, which helps with the costs of prescription drugs.

To assist local organizations coordinate their outreach, NCOA has created a visualization tool based on information provided by the SSA about the number of letters mailed to each zip code. The tool will help community-based organizations, and state and local agencies more effectively target outreach.

“These letters are not a scam, but an important notification that Medicare beneficiaries should review and consider,” said Leslie Fried, Senior Director of the NCOA Center for Benefits Access. “We work with many local organizations who can help individuals determine if they’re eligible, enroll, and even understand how to use their new benefits once they’ve been approved.”

Each state has a State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) that provides free, unbiased, one-on-one insurance counseling and assistance to Medicare beneficiaries and can help older adults and people with disabilities find and apply for benefits. People with Medicare questions can find their local SHIP by calling 1-877-839-2675.

In addition, NCOA’s Center for Benefits Access funds 48 Benefits Enrollment Centers (BECs) across the country to assist Medicare beneficiaries with limited incomes access programs that help pay for health care, food, and more. Medicare beneficiaries can find a list of BECs here: www.ncoa.org/centerforbenefits/becs/meet-the-becs/.

“We appreciate the Social Security Administration’s help in providing this information, so local partners can connect with eligible beneficiaries in their area,” said Fried. “These community organizations work tirelessly to help those in need, and this year they’ll have new information that can help them identify and target those people who can benefit the most.”

Medicare beneficiaries who are eligible for MSPs and Extra Help also may be eligible for other benefits to supplement their monthly budget. To find state, local, and federal benefits through a free, confidential screening, visit NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUp.org.

About NCOA

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a respected national leader and trusted partner to help people aged 60+ meet the challenges of aging. Our mission is to improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling. Through innovative community programs and services, online help, and advocacy, NCOA is partnering with nonprofit organizations, government, and business to improve the health and economic security of 10 million older adults by 2020. Learn more at ncoa.org and @NCOAging.