These letters about healthcare aren’t a scam

The Social Security Administration has started sending more than 2.2 million Medicare beneficiaries letters alerting them to programs that could help pay their out-of-pocket healthcare expenses, and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) is reassuring the public that the form letters aren’t a scam.

“These letters are an important opportunity for beneficiaries to evaluate their budgets and seek help if their healthcare and prescription costs are overwhelming,” said Leslie Fried, senior director of NCOA’s Center for Benefits Access. “There are organizations in every community can help people with Medicare determine if they’re eligible for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) and Medicare Part D Extra Help, help them enroll, and explain how to use the benefits.”

Roughly 8.5 million people nationally are enrolled in MSP, and about 12 million use Extra Help to afford their Medicare premiums, co-payments, deductibles, and prescriptions. Millions more Medicare beneficiaries are likely eligible for the programs but haven’t applied, Fried said.

“Each day, thousands of Baby Boomers turn 65, and many are retiring with increasing amounts of debt and a fixed income,” she said. “Spiraling healthcare costs are a significant cause of that debt, and these programs go a long way to help reduce that burden. If you receive one of these letters, a quick phone call could make a significant difference.”