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NCOA Receives a Major Grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies to Enroll Limited Income Beneficiaries in Medicare Part D

Resource type: News

National Council on the Aging |

Contact: Scott Parkin (202) 479-6975

WASHINGTON, DC, January 25, 2006 The National Council on the Aging (NCOA) has received a $7.9 million grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies to bolster its work enrolling Medicare-eligible seniors and people with disabilities who have limited incomes and resources in Medicare Part D’s Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) program. Through this grant, NCOA seeks to enroll 300,000 beneficiaries in the Extra Help (the LIS program) available through Medicare Part D. The 55-year old non-profit will also create and strengthen a national infrastructure for ongoing outreach and enrollment in public benefits and lay the groundwork for substantial, long-term public and private engagement in this work.

Beginning January 1, 2006, all Medicare beneficiaries became eligible for the new Medicare prescription benefit, called Part D. An estimated 14 million limited-income beneficiaries became eligible for the new Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) program. For those who qualify and enroll, 85 to 100 percent of their prescription costs can be covered. However, more than half–7.2.million of the 14 million–have to apply for the extra help through the Social Security Administration (SSA) first. To date, only 1.1 million of the 7.2 million limited income beneficiaries have applied to SSA, leaving more than 6 million who have not.

According to NCOA’s research, the history of enrolling vulnerable populations into benefits programs indicates that finding and enrolling the remaining beneficiaries will be difficult and challenging, but not impossible. This grant builds on our proven work to reach, engage, and assist those who need the most help in accessing benefits, said James P. Firman, Ed.D, President and CEO, National Council on the Aging. We are grateful to The Atlantic Philanthropies for recognizing the importance of NCOA’s work in finding, educating, and enrolling those who are normally the hardest to reach. NCOA is well-positioned to provide leadership in this arena, given its thorough understanding–based on solid research–of the best strategies to reach these beneficiaries, as well as their families and the organizations that serve them, said Laura A. Robbins, Program Executive at The Atlantic Philanthropies.

NCOA brings to the table a network of national and local member organizations in communities across the country, pioneering work in developing conceptual and technological tools that assist in this work, and a focused commitment on serving vulnerable people. There is a great deal of work to be done, and we are confident that NCOA and all of the groups with which it partners are up to the task. NCOA has played an important role in determining, implementing, and fostering best practices in this work of reaching vulnerable populations and enrolling them in benefits programs. It completed extensive research with The Bridgespan Group this past year, evaluating a broad spectrum of efforts to identify the best and most replicable practices for enrolling beneficiaries with limited means in prescription savings programs. This research showed the need for integrated strategies such as: Web-based decision-support tools Person-centered screening and enrollment Cost-effective community mobilization List-driven inreach to complement traditional outreach

The major findings are summarized in Pathways to Success: Meeting the Challenge of Enrolling Medicare Beneficiaries with Limited Incomes. The study forms the basis of the grant strategies. NCOA developed BenefitsCheckUpRx™, found at It is an online decision support service that beneficiaries, families, and organizations use to assess their current situation in terms of prescription drug coverage and allows them to make an informed choice in terms of enrolling in Part D. NCOA also chairs the Access to Benefits Coalition (ABC), with its 104 national member organizations, and manages the activities of its 54 community-based coalitions. The ABC is committed to finding and enrolling low-income seniors and younger adults with disabilities in the new Medicare LIS benefit. Founded in 1950, The National Council on the Aging is a national network of organizations and individuals dedicated to improving the health and independence of older persons, and to increasing their continuing contributions to communities, society, and future generations.

For more information on NCOA, visit The Atlantic Philanthropies are dedicated to bringing about lasting changes in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Atlantic makes grants through its four programme areas – Ageing, Children & Youth, Population Health, and Reconciliation & Human Rights – and through Founding Chairman grants. Programmes funded by Atlantic operate in Australia, Bermuda, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Viet Nam.

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National Council on Aging, NCOA, senior citizens