Improving Medicare Savings Program Education and Enrollment Procedures
Expanding Health Care Coverage
December 8, 2015
Half of all New Yorkers with Medicare live on yearly incomes of $24,150 or less. Given that people with Medicare on average spend 15% of their household incomes on health care, it is imperative that this population is receiving all public benefits that it is eligible for.
Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) are Medicaid-administered benefits for low-income Medicare beneficiaries. MSPs pay for Medicare Part B monthly premiums, covering services that include outpatient care, preventive services, and doctor visits. They also lead to automatic enrollment in the Medicare Part D Extra Help drug subsidy program, which saves enrollees in out-of-pocket drug costs. Currently, an estimated 200,000 New Yorkers are eligible for but not enrolled in MSPs, in part because of a lack of education about MSPs, a negative stigma associated with them, and difficulty navigating the enrollment system. In 2015, NYHealth awarded the Medicare Rights Center (MRC) a grant to increase access and enrollment into MSPs throughout New York State.
Under this grant, MRC pursued a series of policy and education solutions to sustainably increase MSP enrollment. It identified the challenges to MSP enrollment and developed actionable solutions needed to simplify and streamline enrollment procedures statewide. It conducted analysis and stakeholder interviews, as well as held State convenings, to develop a set of concrete policy and education actions. MRC developed a report on its findings and recommendations for distribution throughout the State and to other states seeking to simplify MSP enrollment procedures.