Expanding Health Care Coverage

Grantee Name

Medicare Rights Center, Inc.

Funding Area

Expanding Health Care Coverage

Publication Date

December 2012

Grant Amount

Phase 1: $60,000
Phase 2: $84,841

Grant Date:

Phase 1: April 1, 2009–December 3, 2009
Phase 2: October 1, 2009–November 3, 2010

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At the time of this grant, approximately 350,000 of New York State’s senior citizens were enrolled in both the federally financed Medicare Part D drug benefit and New York State’s Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) programs; roughly 150,000 of these individuals reside in New York City.

Medicare Part D provides prescription drug coverage for these seniors, and EPIC provides wraparound coverage for prescription drug benefits not covered by Part D with State funds. An analysis of EPIC data revealed that approximately 15,000 EPIC enrollees were likely to be eligible for more generous Federal prescription drug coverage through the Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) program. In addition, they may be eligible for one of three Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs). The New York Health Foundation (NYHealth) funded the Medicare Rights Center (MRC) in a two-phase project aimed at increasing the number of low-income Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in MSPs and the LIS program.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

In Phase 2 of the grant, MRC accomplished the following:

  • Contracted with the Benefits Data Trust, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization that employs list strategies, direct mail, and call center technologies to reach low-income senior citizens and enroll them in programs.
  • Conducted seven mailings to 7,500 EPIC recipients who could not be reached during Phase 1.
  • Assessed the State’s benefit recertification process and published an issue brief describing ways to improve the process so eligible recipients would retain their benefits without disruption.
  • Simplified the State’s recertification process.
  • Identified and secured ongoing support for enrollment and recertification into MSPs and the LIS program.

Read the report associated with this grant, “Recertification in New York State: The Revolving Door of the Medicare Savings Program.”