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'Tis the SeasonOTo Check Your Prescription Drug Benefit.

-BenefitsCheckUp([R] )Ready to Help Thousands of Eligible Seniors Re-Apply for Part D Extra Help/Low Income Subsidy-

WASHINGTON -- This holiday season hundreds of thousands of older Americans counting on federal assistance with their prescription drug costs in 2010 need to make sure they still qualify for this important benefit. BenefitsCheckup.org, a free, online tool from the National Council on Aging, can help.

During 2009, approximately 9.6 million Medicare recipients with limited income and resources automatically received a Low Income Subsidy (LIS) for prescription drug costs because they were in Medicaid, got Supplemental Social Security income (SSI), and/or were enrolled in one of the Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs). LIS pays part or all of the monthly premiums most Medicare Part D prescription drug plans charge. It also limits cost-sharing for prescriptions to modest co-payments.

Since September, the federal government has sent notices to older people informing them they will no longer automatically qualify for the benefit in 2010 because they lost eligibility to Medicaid, SSI or MSPs before July 2009. Nevertheless, low-income seniors may still be eligible for prescription drug help, and they can find out quickly and easily by going to BenefitsCheckUp at www.benefitscheckup.org. If eligible for LIS, they can also apply for the benefit online at the same time.

"Trying to keep up with changes to eligibility for prescription drug coverage each year can be daunting, but it's critical," said Stuart Spector, senior vice president at NCOA. "Our goal is to help older people, particularly those with limited income and resources, find out if they're eligible to continue receiving LIS in 2010 and then to sign up right there."

Beyond LIS prescription drug support, BenefitsCheckUp includes 2,000 federal, state, and local benefits programs and can determine an older adult's eligibility for help with utilities, food, housing, and other basic needs. Enrollment forms for these programs are provided as part of BenefitsCheckUp's interactive screening process. Since 2001, more than 2.3 million people have used the service, identifying benefits valued at more than $7.7 billion.

About NCOA

The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA is a national voice for older Americans--especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged--and the community organizations that serve them. It brings together nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently and remain active in their communities. For more information, please visit www.ncoa.org.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Nov 9, 2009
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