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Toward Making Medicare Work for Low-Income Beneficiaries: A Baseline Comparison of the Part D Low-Income Subsidy and Medicare Savings Programs Eligibility and Enrollment Rules

Toward Making Medicare Work for Low-Income Beneficiaries: A Baseline Comparison of the Part D Low-Income Subsidy and Medicare Savings Programs Eligibility and Enrollment Rules

This report examines how the low-income provisions of the Medicare drug benefit interact with state-level assistance provided through the Medicare Savings Program.

The Medicare drug benefit provides additional help with premiums and cost-sharing requirements for eligible, low-income beneficiaries. The Social Security Administration oversees enrollment in this program. Separately, each state runs a Medicare Savings Program, which also assists low-income Medicare beneficiaries by helping to pay Medicare premiums and, in some states, helping with cost-sharing requirements. The eligibility and enrollment requirements vary from state to state.

The report surveys all 50 state programs (and the District of Columbia) to help assess the feasibility of aligning the two programs. The study specifically examines the differences in eligibility rules, the extent in which the enrollment information gathered for the Medicare drug benefit's low-income assistance program can be used to make determinations for eligibility under the state programs and the differences in how application might be reviewed depending on whether they apply through Social Security or through the state program.

The report was prepared for the Foundation by the Center for Medicare Advocacy.

Report (.pdf)