Expanding Health Care Coverage

Project Title

Saving State Dollars by Expanding Enrollment in Medicare Savings Programs

Grant Amount

$60,000

Priority Area

Expanding Health Care Coverage

Date Awarded

April 1, 2009

Region

NYC

Status

Closed

Website

http://www.medicarerights.org/

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 State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) 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.

Approximately 350,000 New York State seniors are currently enrolled in both the federally financed Medicare Part D and New York State’s Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) programs. Medicare Part D provides prescription drug coverage for these seniors, and EPIC provides “wrap-around” coverage for prescription drug benefits not covered by Part D.

MRC and BDT join forces for this project to target approximately 15,000 low-income New York seniors for enrollment in federally financed Medicare Savings Programs. MRC and BDT will mail letters and Medicare Savings Programs informational packages about the Medicare Savings Programs to individuals identified as potentially eligible by the EPIC program. Based on past experience, MRC and BDT estimate that they will successfully enroll at least 1,000 seniors in Medicare Savings Programs. In the first year alone, it is projected that New York State could save more than $1.4 million and that New York seniors could save an estimated $3.6 million. MRC and BDT will provide follow-up assistance to enrolled seniors to ensure they remain enrolled in these Federal benefits in future years, generating multi-year savings.