Community MAP: Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Project for the Southeast Bronx
Expanding Health Care Coverage
November 15, 2007
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Many seniors living in the South Bronx who have incomes below the poverty level are eligible for low-income benefit programs, such as the Medicare Savings Program; however, less than one-third of these eligible individuals were actually enrolled in low-income programs. The disproportionate share of poor senior residents and those affected by diabetes in this community resulted in an urgent need for direct assistance in accessing benefits programs and teaching senior residents to effectively use these benefits.
South East Bronx Community Organization (SEBCO) housing is home to roughly 1,000 seniors—most of them poor and Hispanic. Many of these senior citizens are eligible for low-income Medicare programs, but are not enrolled. The Medicare Rights Center plans to train SEBCO staff to provide Medicare counseling and enrollment assistance to these residents.
In South East Bronx Community Organization (SEBCO) housing, located in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx, less than one-third of residents are enrolled in low-income programs for which they are eligible, including low-income Medicare programs. Health coverage expertise among residence coordinators who serve these clients is currently lacking. The Medicare Rights Center hopes to remedy this deficiency by training SEBCO staff to provide Medicare counseling and enrollment assistance as part of the services offered to residents. The Medicare Rights Center aims to reach at least 800 SEBCO residents through bilingual presentations and information distribution and will provide personalized assistance to at least 250 residents. By training residence coordinators and their staff, the Medicare Rights Center will build capacity to provide ongoing, sustainable health care information and assistance to residents. Training will emphasize three topics most likely to interest and assist SEBCO residents: the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit; low-income Medicare programs; and diabetes, which affects a disproportionate number of South East Bronx seniors.