September 26, 2017

Medicare Rights Center Highlights Ways to Improve Access to
Medicare Savings Programs for People with Low Incomes in New York
New Brief is Informed by Client Experiences Heard on Center’s Helpline 

New York, NY—Today, the Medicare Rights Center released a new brief, Medicare Snapshot: Stories from the Helpline: Improving New York State Access to Medicare Savings Programs, which spotlights ways to improve access to Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) in New York. MSPs can help Medicare beneficiaries with low-incomes save thousands of dollars in health care costs each year, however, they are consistently under-enrolled and under-utilized. Drawing on its experiences in New York and other states, Medicare Rights identifies a series of actions that state and local agencies could take to further improve access to MSPs and related benefits in New York.

“Each year, the Medicare Rights Center successfully processes more than 1,000 Medicare Savings Program applications on behalf of older adults and people with disabilities with low-incomes in New York,” said Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center. “While some states, including New York, recognize the challenges inherent in enrolling people in these programs, people who need this benefit continue to face needless difficulty in accessing it.”

To address these difficulties in New York, the Medicare Snapshot outlines needed improvements to the MSP application, enrollment, and recertification processes for those transitioning from expansion Medicaid or Qualified Health Plans, including:

  • Automatic “sweeps” to enroll eligible individuals in Medicare Savings Programs;
  • More automatic transition process for people with disabilities;
  • Movement toward Medicare and Medicare Savings Program notification for individuals aging out of a Qualified Health Plan;
  • Movement toward passive recertification for Medicare Savings Programs in New York City; and
  • Improved Medicare Savings Program information for people with Medicaid who are turning 65.

“The Medicare Rights Center’s helpline offers a window into how individuals access MSPs, and the trends we identify motivate our ongoing efforts to further increase awareness of MSPs and improve enrollment rates,” said Baker. “We will continue to monitor implementation of new reforms and continue to advocate for additional improvements to MSP processes, with the goal of seeing statewide MSP enrollment rates increase over the coming years.”

To learn more about MSPs and get help applying for the benefit, people with Medicare and caregivers can visit Medicare Interactive, the Medicare Rights’ informational website at, or call its national helpline at 800-333-4114. Other resources include 1-800-Medicare and the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).

Medicare Snapshot: Stories from the Helpline is available at:

Support for this work was provided by the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth).


Press Contact: Mitchell Clark –

– end –

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs, and public policy initiatives.

Available only through the Medicare Rights Center, Medicare Interactive (MI) is a free and independent online reference tool that provides easy-to-understand answers to questions posed by people with Medicare, their families and caregivers, and the professionals serving them. Find your Medicare answers at

266 West 37th Street, 3rd Floor ∙ New York, New York 10018
1825 K Street NW, Suite 400 ∙ Washington, DC 20006 ∙