Latino – Latina Medicare Savings Program Morning Focus Group

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Date/Time
Date(s) - 09/10/2014
9:30 am - 10:30 am

Location
Mile High United Way

Medicare Savings Program/Low Income Subsidy
Latino Engagement Focus Group
September 10, 2014

 

PURPOSE: The purpose of the Medicare Savings Program/Low Income Subsidy (MSP/LIS) initiative is to increase enrollment of Medicare beneficiaries in these programs to increase the amount of money that individuals have to spend each month on personal needs other than medical expenses.  The purpose of the Latino Engagement Focus Group is to increase enrollment of Latino elders in the Medicare Savings Program and Low Income Subsidy.

FOCUS GROUPS: There will be two focus groups on September 10, 2014 at Mile High United Way, 2505 18th Street, Denver Colorado. You may register for the morning session (9:30 am to 10:30 am) or the afternoon session (2:00 pm to 3:00 pm)

WHAT IS THE PROGRAM?

MEDICARE SAVINGS PROGRAM – pays the Medicare Part B premium of $104.90 per month (plus possibly some additional out-of-pocket medical costs for very low income individuals) individuals whose monthly income from all sources is less than $1333 and who have less than $8660 in assets, excluding a car, house, burial policy and life insurance.  OUTCOME:  ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUALS RECEIVE AN ADDITIONAL $104.90 ON THEIR SOCIAL SECURITY CHECK EACH MONTH FOR OTHER ESSENTIALS.

LOW INCOME SUBSIDY – pays the Medicare Part D premium and reduces the out-of-pocket expenses by paying the monthly premium and for co-pays to $1.15 to $6.35 per prescription saving as much as $4000 per year for eligible Medicare beneficiaries.  OUTCOME:  ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUALS ARE MORE ABLE TO AFFORD THEIR MEDICATIONS IF THEY HAVE TO PAY $1.15 TO $6.35 PER PRESCRIPTION AND EXPERIENCE BETTER HEALTH.

PROBLEM: More than 20,000 Medicare beneficiaries are eligible but not receiving assistance to pay for the Medicare Part B premium and about 15,000 Medicare beneficiaries who are eligible for assistance with prescription drug costs in Colorado.  Colorado Medicare beneficiaries are losing more than $1250 per year in additional income plus costs for medications.

CURRENT ENROLLMENT PRACTICE for Medicare Savings Program

Individual must submit an application online at Colorado PEAK or complete a hard copy application and submit it to the appropriate county department of human services.  The problems are:

  1. LENGTH AND COMPLEXITY OF THE APPLICATION. The application is about 12 pages long and requests personal and financial information about income, money in the bank, home ownership, owning a car, life insurance, burial policies and other assets.
  2. ESTATE RECOVERY/OTHER LEGAL DOCUMENTS. To be approved Medicare beneficiaries must sign legal documents indicating that the information is accurate.  Although not applicable, some counties also ask beneficiaries to sign a form indicating that a lien can be placed on their house.
  3. COORDINATION WITH FOOD STAMP APPLICATION.  It is easy to apply for food stamps on the same application, however, sometimes at the county department of human services or at Maximus there are processing problems which delay and/or deny benefits.
  4. CHANGE REPORTS. When approved, beneficiaries are sent a series of letters with instructions that say “if anything has changed, please complete this Change Report”.  If beneficiaries follow the instructions and do not submit the change reports, they may lose benefits, because the Colorado Department of Human Services actually wants you to complete and return those forms.  You may receive 2-3 copies of the same form within a 4-6 week period following enrollment.  All of them must be returned to continue benefits.
  5. RE-DETERMINATION. A large number of people who are enrolled do not follow-through with the re-determination one to two years later to continue benefits and the $104.90 is taken out of the Social Security check.  The individual may or may not receive notice about the loss of benefits from the county and/or Social Security.

CURRENT ENROLLMENT PRACTICE for Low Income Subsidy

Individual must sign up online at Social Security’s website (www.ssa.gov) or complete an application form and submit it to Social Security.

  1. ENROLLMENT.  The application requests personal and financial information about income, money in the bank, home ownership, owning a car, life insurance, burial policies and other assets.
  2. APPROVAL FOR LOW INCOME SUBSIDY.  When approved, Medicare beneficiaries receive a notice from Social Security.  Medicare beneficiaries can have notice of their approval for Low Income Subsidy sent to the Colorado Department of Human Services.
  3. REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE TO ENROLL IN MEDICARE SAVINGS PROGRAM.  Beneficiaries receive a letter from Colorado Department of Human Services directing them to request assistance through the Senior Health Insurance Counseling Program (SHIP) at Centura Links.  Very few people follow through and are enrolled in the Medicare Savings Program through Centura.

PURPOSE OF FOCUS GROUP

  1. To identify three strategies that The Society can use to increase awareness of the both programs.
  2. To identify three strategies that The Society can use to increase enrollment in the both programs.

Please register below to join us.

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This event is fully registered.