As of January 1, more New Yorkers are eligible to enroll in a Medicare Savings Program (MSP). MSPs pay the monthly Medicare Part B premium on behalf of people with limited resources and may provide other cost assistance as well.
We applaud New York’s efforts to increase eligibility and urge other states to follow its lead. In addition, late last year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a set of proposals to ease enrollment into and retention of MSPs nationally. We supported these proposals and hope states will go even further.
Currently, people who were enrolled in Medicaid at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic are largely still enrolled. In 2020, Congress put limits on states curtailing coverage for those individuals, but that requirement ends in April of 2023, at which point states will begin recertifying Medicaid eligibility. Those who no longer qualify will lose coverage, and enrollees who have difficulties navigating these burdensome administrative processes are also at risk. As part of this shift, Medicaid enrollees who first became eligible for Medicare during the pandemic but did not sign up will have to do so, and apply for an MSP.
Importantly, the BENES Act final rules establish a new Medicare Special Enrollment Period (SEP) that will allow Medicare-eligible individuals who lose Medicaid to enroll more easily. While this will improve timely access to Medicare, the MSP application and enrollment process remains needlessly complex. This contributes to MSPs being widely underenrolled, which in turn means many people who need help are not getting it according to government watchdogs. Other sources estimate that 40% of eligible people (2.5 million people) are not enrolled.
We urge all states to ease eligibility rules for MSPs and to create avenues for people to be automatically enrolled in MSPs if they are eligible rather than having to initiate application or verification processes.
Read more about MSPs at Medicare Interactive and Medicare.gov.
Read Medicare Rights’ comments on the proposed rule to streamline MSP enrollment.
Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who have a limited income may be newly eligible to receive help with their health care costs through a Medicare Savings Program in 2023. To learn more or get enrollment assistance, call the Medicare Rights helpline at 800-313-4114 or visit www.medicareinteractive.org/mspny.
Spread the word and learn more about this crucial benefit by using the Medicare Rights Center’s outreach kit. Use these resources as is or download and edit them to make them your own.
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