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Extending Medicare Rights’ Reach

The Medicare Rights Center answers 20,000 questions from people with Medicare and their families each year through its National Consumer Helpline, and the organization’s expertise reaches even further in New York State through professional trainings and partnerships. Working statewide with the Health Insurance Information, Counseling, and Assistance Program (HIICAP) and assisting hundreds of community-based organizations in New York City, Medicare Rights helps more people with Medicare, especially in underserved and lowincome communities.

HIICAP helps New Yorkers with Medicare by offering counseling, assistance, and advocacy through local county offi ces. When HIICAP counselors hear from clients with especially complex Medicare cases, they contact Medicare Rights for assistance through a designated helpline and email portal. Most commonly, Medicare Rights answers thorny questions about Medicare-related cost-saving benefi ts and Medicare Part B enrollment rules, both of which are key to helping people access affordable health care. In addition to counseling support, Medicare Rights’ staff provides in-person trainings, monthly call updates, and customized newsletters to HIICAP staff.

Through its Community Partners program, Medicare Rights trains professionals at community-based organizations in New York City to help older adults and people with disabilities with limited incomes apply for cost-saving benefi ts, like the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) and the Extra Help drug subsidy. Medicare Rights also provides ongoing technical assistance, helps track the status of their clients’ applications, and ensures partner organizations have the tools and Medicare knowledge they need. Through these partnerships with more than 200 organizations, more professionals are able to secure needed benefi ts for people in the communities they serve, making it possible for Medicare Rights’ low-income enrollment efforts to better target hard-to-reach communities and extend beyond clients that call the helpline.

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