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VULNERABLE AREA RESIDENTS MAY BE MISSING OUT ON MEDICARE SAVINGS

Tuesday, December 17, 2013
by Gwynn Stewart

Millions of low-income older Americans struggle to pay their prescription, health care, food, and energy costs. The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) has been instrumental in helping these disadvantaged seniors to regain their economic footing and lead healthy, independent lives.

The Area Agency on Aging 8 (AAA8) can help Medicare beneficiaries apply for the Medicare Part D Extra Help/Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) and the Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs). AAA8 will help qualified low-income seniors and younger adults with disabilities submit applications for benefits that make Medicare affordable.

VULNERABLE OHIO RESIDENTS MAY BE MISSING OUT

• An estimated 17.7 % (or nearly 400,000) of seniors in Ohio live on less than $16,755 per year (150% of the 2012 federal poverty level).

• Over 67,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Ohio are eligible for, but not receiving the Medicare prescription drug Low-Income Subsidy (LIS/Extra Help).

• Across Ohio, nearly 2 out of 3 seniors who qualify for food assistance (SNAP) don’t get it. These numbers may keep growing as more people age into Medicare. Nearly 642,000 Ohioans will turn 65 in the next five years and 186,000 of these Baby Boomers may be eligible to receive benefits.

“The Area Agency on Aging is working to identify low-income older adults throughout our region who may be missing out on these programs, and assist them with applying,” said AAA8 Certified Information & Assistance Specialist Gerri VanNoy, SWA, CIRS-A. “For someone with very low income, the savings offered by public benefits can mean not having to make tough choices between paying for food or medicine, health care or utilities.”

The Social Security Administration estimates the value of the Part D Low Income Subsidy at $4,000/yr. Medicare Savings Programs save, at a minimum, $1,200/yr. while the average annual benefit for seniors under Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is $1,428/yr.

Also, every dollar spent in federal benefits also generates local economic activity. When people miss out, it affects not only them, but their communities as well, as benefits are spent or used at local pharmacies, grocery stores, and physicians’ offices.

AAA8 can help educate vulnerable seniors about how to use and retain these programs. Those interested in learning more should request a free in-home consultation by calling AAA8 at 1-800-331-2644 or visiting www.areaagency8.org . AAA8 serves Athens, Hocking, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Perry and Washington Counties.

 

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A Program of Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District