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Community Health Law Project to Assist the Elderly and Disabled Save Money on their Healthcare Costs

The Community Health Law Project (CHLP) has been awarded a grant to help seniors and individuals with disabilities save money on their healthcare costs. Founded in 1976, the Community Health Law Project (CHLP) is a non-profit advocacy and legal services organization with 10 offices located throughout New Jersey. CHLP President/ Executive Director, Harold Garwin said, “We are pleased to spearhead this initiative. It augments the Law Project’s mission to provide services to the elderly and disabled throughout the State of NJ, where so many people are eligible for benefits, but so few apply.”

The grant, made possible by the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA), will be used to conduct community outreach activities and help eligible individuals apply for programs that can help them save money on their Medicare premiums, deductibles, coinsurance and/or co-pay costs.

Seton Hall Law Professor and CHLP Chairperson of the Board, Paula Franzese said “Like so many government programs, the eligibility and paperwork can be a little confusing. Fortunately this grant will allow us to get seniors and the disabled the help they need and are entitled to. The benefits can literally add up to hundreds of dollars per month.”

The programs promoted by the grant include the Medicare Savings Programs known as QMB, SLMB and QI-1; the Medicare prescription drug program’s Low Income Subsidy(LIS) (also known as Extra Help), and the state’s Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled Program (PAAD).

It is estimated that only 33% of individuals eligible for QMB and 13% of those eligible for SLMB or QI-1 have actually signed up for benefits. Likewise only 53% of those eligible for LIS who are not automatically enrolled through their participation in Medicaid or SSI are believed to receive the subsidy.

Seniors and people with disabilities, especially those who now receive Medicare are encouraged to call the CHLP Hotline at 1-888-838-3180 to see if they might be eligible. Advocates are available 5 days each week from 9-5 to answer questions and provide assistance in applying. Staff is also available to make presentations to community groups and organizations who are interested in learning more about these cost saving benefit programs.