Social Security Administration (SSA)
Outreach to Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries
Extra Help and Medicare Savings Programs
Data about the L447 and L448 Notices
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Section 1144 of the Social Security Act requires SSA to notify low-income Medicare beneficiaries about specific programs that may be able to assist them with medical and prescription drug expenses. Each year, SSA mails notices about the Medicare Savings Programs (MSP) to provide information that may help beneficiaries with:
- Medicare expenses; and
- Medicare Part D prescription drug costs.
Use the links below to view the notices from the most recent mailing.
The major objective of this annual mailing is to increase enrollment of eligible low-income individuals into programs that assist Medicare beneficiaries with their out-of-pocket expenses.
This dataset shows the number of notices SSA sent to beneficiaries potentially eligible for an MSP or Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan costs. The dataset includes annual data at the zip code level. See below for an Explanation of Medicare Benefits.
Agency Program Description
Medicare is our country’s health insurance program for people age 65 or older. Certain people younger than age 65 can qualify for Medicare, too, including those who have disabilities, permanent kidney failure or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease). The program helps with the cost of health care, but it does not cover all medical expenses or the cost of most long-term care.
Medicare is financed by a portion of the payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers. It also is financed in part by monthly premiums deducted from Social Security checks or by direct payment by the beneficiary.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in the Department of Health and Human Services is the agency in charge of the Medicare program. For complete information about Medicare, go to CMS.gov online. SSA provides general information about the Medicare program. Individuals apply for Medicare at SSA.
Medicare has four parts:
- Hospital Insurance (Part A) helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (following a hospital stay), some home health care and hospice care.
- Medical Insurance (Part B) helps pay for doctors’ services and many other medical services and supplies that are not covered by hospital insurance.
- Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) are available in many areas. People with Parts A and B can choose to receive all of their health care services through a provider organization under Part C.
- Prescription Drug plans (Part D) helps cover costs of medications.
Medicare beneficiaries may be able to get help from their state to pay their Medicare premiums. In some cases, Medicare Savings Programs may also pay Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments if you meet certain conditions. Individuals can call their State Medical Assistance (Medicaid) office to get more information and apply for a Medicare Savings Program. To get the number for their State Medicaid office, they should visit Medicare.gov/contacts online. First, choose your state under “Choose your location for contact information,” and then, under “Choose an organization OR topic of interest,” select “State Medicaid Assistance Office” at the bottom of the list of options, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.
Medicare beneficiaries can qualify for Extra Help, a provision to subsidize costs for Part D prescription drug plans for qualifying low-income applicants. To qualify for the Extra Help, a person must be receiving Medicare, have limited resources and income, and reside in one of the 50 States or the District of Columbia. Some individuals automatically qualify (or are “deemed”) for Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug plan costs because they also have Medicaid or receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
SSA takes and decides applications for Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs from individuals who are not automatically enrolled into the Extra Help program. Individuals who file an application for Extra Help do not have to file a separate application to get help from their state. SSA will send information to an individual’s state to find out if they qualify for a Medicare Savings Program. SSA will not send information if an Extra Help application shows an individual is not interested in Medicare Savings Programs.
Medicare beneficiaries can apply for Extra Help online by completing the Social Security Application for Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs (SSA-1020). Individuals may call SSA at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to locate a local SSA office, to apply over the phone, or to request an application. More information about Extra Help is available on SSA.gov on the page titled Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs: What help can I receive?
These datasets provide the number of L447 and L448 notices SSA mailed to beneficiaries who SSA found potentially eligible for either an MSP or Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs. The datasets include data at the zip code level. Zip codes with 10 or less mailed notices are indicated by an asterisk for privacy protection purposes.
Data Collection Description
SSA identifies beneficiaries who should be notified, including income-tested new Medicare beneficiaries, beneficiaries that have experienced a drop in income, and 20 percent of those whom SSA previously notified of potential eligibility.
Field A: State
Field B: Zip Code
Field C: Year the notice was sent