NCOA Awarded $57.5 Million to Continue Connecting People with Medicare to Cost-Saving Benefits

Grant will support online and one-on-one efforts to enroll millions of eligible individuals into benefits

Arlington, VA (September 3, 2020) – The National Council on Aging (NCOA), a trusted national leader working to ensure that every person can age well, has been awarded a 5-year, $57.5 million grant from the U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL) to continue its decades-long leadership in connecting Medicare beneficiaries to programs that help them pay for daily expenses.

“NCOA is humbled to continue this critical work, which is more important than ever as people with Medicare struggle to stay financially secure during the pandemic,” said Ramsey Alwin, NCOA President and CEO. “We are committed to working with ACL and our local partners across the country to ensure that all people with Medicare receive the benefits they’ve earned, so they can live with health and dignity.”

Under the grant, NCOA will maintain and enhance its online benefits screening tool BenefitsCheckUp® ( and support up to 90 Benefits Enrollment Centers across the country that provide one-on-one benefits counseling in their communities either in person, by telephone, or by video conferencing. The grant is funded under the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 and subsequent legislation.

Over the course of the grant, NCOA and its partners will help older adults submit over 4 million applications for benefits programs. These programs include the Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy, which reduces the cost of prescription drugs; the Medicare Savings Programs, which help pay Medicare Part B costs; and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps), which helps pay for food.

“Estimates suggest that over a third of Medicare beneficiaries aged 65+ who are eligible for these programs are not enrolled,” said Josh Hodges, NCOA Chief Customer Officer. “Often it’s because they simply don’t know these programs exist or how to apply. This work addresses both challenges.”

Over the last decade, NCOA has helped more than 5 million people access over $6 billion in benefits online through BenefitsCheckUp and in-person through its support of local grantees, State Health Insurance Assistance Programs, Area Agencies on Aging, Aging and Disability Resource Centers, and Tribal organizations.

“We are so proud of our local partners, who work hard every day to find and enroll hard-to-reach populations that are in desperate need of these benefits,” said Leslie Fried, Senior Director of the NCOA Center for Benefits Access. “A quarter of the nation’s Medicare beneficiaries live on less than $17,000 a year, including millions of Black, Hispanic/Latinx, rural, Tribal, and LGBTQ+ individuals. These benefits help them afford health care, food, utilities, and more. We’re working to make sure everyone who is eligible is enrolled.”

For more information about NCOA’s benefits access work, please visit For a free, confidential benefits screening, please visit

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