May 2021

The Medicare Savings Programs and Extra Help are important programs designed to help low-income Americans afford Medicare coverage. Many people who are eligible for these programs are not yet enrolled. Each May, the Social Security Administration (SSA) sends letters to 2 million low-income Medicare beneficiaries, informing them about the Medicare Savings Programs and how they can help with Medicare costs. These include the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB), Specified Low-income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB), and Qualifying Individual (QI) programs. The letters provide information on what Medicare Savings Programs cover, a brief description of the income and asset criteria, and how to apply. SSA also sends a data file to each state – sent this year on May 7, 2021 – identifying the Medicare beneficiaries to whom the outreach letters are being mailed. States can use these data files to conduct targeted outreach to individuals who may qualify and support customer service representatives at Medicaid hotlines who may receive calls. More information on this outreach effort and the model letters (see specifically SSA-L447 and SSA-L448) are on the SSA website; the data file name is OLBG.BTI.S**.MEDOUT1.Ryymmdd. See also the data file specifications.