Health care affordability is one of the main trends that the Medicare Rights Center sees on its helpline. The cost of Medicare premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, and copays can be overwhelming for older adults, people with disabilities, and their families—but there are programs that can help.
Medicare Rights’ helpline counselors screen every caller for their eligibility for Medicare cost assistance programs like Extra Help, the Social Security program that lowers Medicare Part D drug costs, and Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs), which help pay Medicare costs. By helping eligible clients apply for these programs, Medicare Rights secures up to $6,700 annually for enrolled individuals, increasing their ability to afford care.
Medicare Rights is always considering new ways to reach people with Medicare about assistance with affording health care. In July, Medicare Rights launched an online screening tool on its educational website, Medicare Interactive (medicareinteractive.org), to help more people apply for needed benefits. New Yorkers can use the tool to determine if they are eligible for one or more Medicare cost-saving programs, and a Medicare Rights benefits enrollment counselor follows up to help them apply. Anyone—regardless of where they live—can still call the Medicare Rights’ helpline for assistance to apply for Extra Help.
Many people are eligible for help with Medicare costs and do not know it. Through education, one-on-one counseling, and policy advocacy, Medicare Rights is working to ensure that older adults and people with disabilities can afford the care they need.