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Expanded financial assistance available to Medicare beneficiaries


Tue, May 9th 2023 11:55 am

Newly expanded monthly income eligibility levels expected to help an additional 300,000 Medicare beneficiaries with up to $7,300 in annual financial assistance

The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) urged income-eligible Medicare beneficiaries to apply for up to $7,300 annually in financial assistance through an expansion in the Medicare savings program (MSP).

Medicare beneficiaries in New York are encouraged to apply now that the newly expanded MSP eligibility income limits are official, based on updates to the federal poverty levels. The 2023 income eligibility limits are $2,280 for an individual and $3,077 for a couple. An application is available on the New York State Department of Health website here

New York State Office for the Aging Director Greg Olsen said, “Under Gov. Kathy Hochul’s leadership, this program expansion is providing up to $7,300 in much-needed financial assistance for older adults to help cover costs like groceries, rent, or utility bills. This financial assistance is vital as New York continues its work to assure health care affordability, economic security, and supports for older adults.”

New York State Department of Health Acting Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “The expanded Medicare savings program is an outstanding resource older adults can use to cover everyday expenses such as food and housing. I encourage eligible New Yorkers to take advantage of this vital benefit that enables them to afford the necessities and needed health care without having to choose one over the other. This is another example of Gov. Hochul’s leadership in ensuring affordable, quality health care for all New Yorkers.”

Fred Riccardi, president of the Medicare Rights Center, said, “The Medicare savings program can be a lifeline, allowing enrollees to maintain their Medicare coverage, access needed care, and afford other necessities, like food and rent. We encourage everyone who thinks they might be eligible for the MSP to be screened. For enrollment assistance, the Medicare Rights Center is standing by to help."

A press release stated, “The MSP helps older adults and people with disabilities living on limited incomes by paying their Medicare Part B premiums, and automatically enrolls them in ‘Extra Help.’ This financial assistance can be a lifeline for enrollees, allowing them to maintain their Medicare coverage, access needed care, and afford other necessities. The newly expanded program is estimated to save beneficiaries an average of up to $7,300 annually.”

Applicants who are approved for the program will receive reimbursement through their Social Security check. To apply, applicants will need photocopies of their Medicare card, proof of income, documentation about health insurance premiums other than Medicare, proof of date of birth and residence.

Application assistance is also available in every county through the statewide Health Insurance Information, Counseling and Assistance Program (HIICAP), which is administered by the New York State Office for the Aging. The press release noted, “This program offers free and objective counseling for Medicare beneficiaries needing assistance applying for the Medicare savings program or any other Medicare-related questions. Simply call HIICAP at 1-800-701-0501. Callers will be routed to their local program for assistance.

“Even if your income is just above the posted limits ($2,280 for an individual and $3,077 for a couple), beneficiaries should still consider reaching out to New York HIICAP for assistance in the application process, as you may be paying for out-of-pocket costs that can be deducted from your gross income to make you eligible.”

NYSOFA has more information on its website, including a video explaining the MSP application process, flyers, and social media tools to help spread the word about this program. See https://aging.ny.gov/medicare-savings-program.

Director Greg Olsen also recently held a social media livestream with Riccardi and Heather Leddick of New York HIICAP to discuss the MSP and answer questions from the public. An archive of the program is available on NYSOFA’s Facebook page at https://fb.watch/kjysU-27Zf/

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