50 Wishes for
Medicare’s Future

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Wish #12:
Improve and streamline the application process for Medicare low-income assistance programs

Beneficiaries must navigate multiple state and federal agencies to apply for low-income assistance programs (Medicare Savings Programs and Part D’s Extra Help) to help afford Medicare premiums and cost-sharing. Some information sharing between agencies occurs, but only in one direction—federal to state. Yet state agencies are not required to accept the information from the federal government as true, leading some to seek duplicative information from applicants. For beneficiaries, this sometimes results in unnecessary delays and improper denials. Congress should integrate the application processes, qualifying criteria, and administration of these interrelated low-income assistance programs.