National Council on Aging

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Nov. 7, 2012

MMAP commercialA “live” connection to MI seniors

Inspired by TV telethons in other states, Michigan’s MMAP, Inc. launched a series of TV ads that looked like live, on-the-street interviews. The ads—aired in four MI markets—focused on Medicare, and the benefits that make it affordable.
Read about the resultsWatch one of the adsFind more promising practices

Food and pharmacy access following a disaster

Following Hurricane Sandy, you may have concerns about clients’ ability to receive their prescriptions and benefits. According to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) guidelines, Medicare Part D plans must guarantee immediate refills of medications for any members located in disaster areas. Likewise, the Food and Nutrition Service is able to offer quick, short-term food assistance benefits to families in need through the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP).
Read the CMS disaster access rules | Learn about D-SNAP

What’s at stake for aging programs

fiscal cliffElection Day may be over, but the future of the federal budget still looms large. Without a bipartisan plan from Congress, across-the-board cuts under a sequester are scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 2. Senior transportation, LIHEAP benefits, and congregate meals are among the programs that could see drastic cuts.
Learn more

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LIS resource amounts increased for 2013

The resource amounts for the Part D low-income subsidy (LIS)/Extra Help program have been increased for 2013. Starting Jan. 1, the new amounts are $8,580 if single ($13,620 if married) for full LIS, and $13,300 if single ($26,580 if married) for partial LIS.
Get more info | Read the memo from CMS | Download our LIS eligibility chart

IMPORTANT UPDATE from CMS re: LIS reassignment

woman at mailboxDue to a coding error, a certain number of people with LIS had been incorrectly reassigned to the wrong plan for 2013. CMS has now corrected the error, and these folks will get a pink-colored notice in mid-November letting them know about the mistake, along with information about the correct plan they will be assigned to for 2013. There will be approximately 87,000 pink-colored notices. Your LIS clients who get this notice may need your help with understanding how this notice supersedes the blue-colored notice they got back in October.
See CMS memo | Get our guide to mailings and events

Check out two more helpful OEP-related resources

CMS recently shared two additional resources that may help you this open enrollment period (Oct. 15-Dec. 7). One is a state fact sheet, which includes the number of drug plans and the percentage of people in your state who get the Part D LIS/Extra Help. The other is a list of the national drug plans—something that may be of interest to your clients who are snowbirds.
Get list of national drug plans (click on 2013 PDP landscape files) | Download state fact sheets | Get complete compilation of OEP tips and resources

What you need to know about benzos and barbs in 2013

PillsStarting in 2013, all Part D plans are required to cover benzodiazepines and certain barbiturates when used to treat epilepsy, cancer, or a chronic mental health disorder. CMS recently sent a clarification memo to all plans about the addition of these drugs. The memo explains that plans must treat these drugs as they would other drugs, and as if a continuing therapy, under the transition policy for both new and existing plan members.
Read the CMS memo | Learn more about the transition policy

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Benefits Alert is published by the National Center for Benefits Outreach and Enrollment and National Council on Aging. Your contributions and comments are welcome and should be sent to

The National Center for Benefits Outreach and Enrollment helps organizations enroll seniors and younger adults with disabilities with limited means into the benefits programs for which they are eligible so that they can remain healthy and improve the quality of their lives. For more information, visit


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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, visit