MAY 2015 Medicare Cards Will No Longer Display

MAY 2015
Medicare Cards Will No Longer Display Social Security Numbers
In an effort to protect Medicare beneficiaries from identity theft, President Obama signed a bill that will end the use of
Social Security numbers on Medicare cards. In his budget for 2016, Obama requested $50 million as a down payment “to
support the removal of Social Security numbers from Medicare cards” — a step that federal auditors and investigators
had been recommending for more than a decade.
In lieu of Social Security numbers Medicare beneficiaries will be assigned a randomly generated identifier, although the
details are still being worked out. Medicare officials have up to four years to issue cards with new identifiers to new
beneficiaries, and four more years to reissue new cards held by current beneficiaries.
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Food Help NYC
NYC has launched a campaign to encourage eligible individuals and families to apply for SNAP (Food Stamp)
benefits. As part of the campaign the city created a new website,, which includes videos
featuring real SNAP clients sharing stories of how the program helped them and also links to the recently revamped
ACCESS NYC site where people can be screened for and apply for SNAP benefits.
The federal government estimates that $1 of SNAP spending generates $1.80 in economic activity, which means
SNAP brought about $5.4 billion to the New York City economy, much of it to small businesses around the city. The
official SNAP participation rate is 77% in NYC, which suggests that there may be approximately 550,000 residents
who may be eligible for, but who are not receiving SNAP benefits.
Basic Health Program (BHP)
A provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows states to establish a Basic Health Plan (BHP), which will provide the
essential health benefits required under the ACA, including inpatient and outpatient care, physician services, diagnostic
services and prescription drugs among others for low-income families ineligible for Medicaid. The BHP will become
available through the NY State of Health Marketplace and families will be able to enroll during the Open Enrollment
Period beginning November 1st for a January 1st start date.
Households with income levels between the Medicaid income guidelines and 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL) will
be eligible for the benefit. Households with incomes at or below 150% of the FPL will not be required to pay a monthly
premium; while those households with incomes between 150 and 200% of the FPL will have a $20 monthly premium.
There are no deductibles. See press release:
Reauthorization of Children’s Health Insurance Programs
Funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has been reauthorized for two years, through 2017 through
the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). CHIP provides affordable health coverage for
low‐income children who do not qualify for Medicaid. In New York State, CHIP affords 490,000 children the opportunity
to receive free or low‐cost health insurance, providing access to primary, specialty, ancillary and urgent health care. In
NYS families can have an income up to 400% of the federal poverty level and still be eligible to enroll. Families enroll
through the NY State of Health Marketplace.
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families and individuals, disabled and elderly populations in NYC.
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