New grant focuses on providing assistance to at-risk populations in nine rural Missouri counties

NOTE: This news release originally appeared in DIFP News, Jan. 23, 2019, at https://difp.mo.gov/news/newsitem/uuid/9e79ae6f-140e-4403-a3e2-43253a6207f0

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Insurance has announced a new grant from the National Council on Aging’s Center for Benefits Access (NCOA). The Benefit Enrollment Center (BEC) Grant provides funding for a 20-month period (January 2019 through September 2020) to implement a BEC in nine rural Missouri counties. 

CLAIM is the new BEC, a one-stop shop to provide screening and application help for multiple assistance programs. The Primaris Foundation operates CLAIM through a grant from the Administration for Community Living.

As a result, BEC’s use “person-centered” strategies in a coordinated, community-wide approach to find and enroll Medicare beneficiaries — both seniors aged 65 and older and adults living with disabilities. BEC is intended to assist those who have limited income and resources to access available benefits. The primary focus is on five core benefit programs.

Core benefit programs.

  • Medicare Part D Extra Help (or Low-Income Subsidy, LIS);
  • Medicare Savings Programs (MSP);
  • Medicaid;
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps); and,
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

Consequently, a person-centered approach is one in which someone is screened for and assisted with applying for multiple benefits at one time. Currently, CLAIM assists Missourians with the first three of these core services through the State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) and the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) funding. This additional grant will allow CLAIM to assist 1,000 individuals to apply for and receive assistance for which they may qualify.

Keeping focus.
In addition, the BEC grant focuses on nine rural counties, and senior and disabled individuals in those counties who are most in need of the services. The target area includes these central Missouri counties: Callaway, Camden, Cole, Laclede, Miller, Morgan, Moniteau, Osage, and Pulaski. 

The total population in these targeted counties is 328,992, of which:

  • 15.8 percent are age 65 and older; 
  • 16.4 percent have a disability (higher than the state’s total of 14.4 percent and the U.S. total of 12.5 percent);
  • 15.5 percent live at or below the Federal Poverty Level and per capita income is $23,004, below the Missouri average of $27,044; 
  • More than 17.3 percent of the population receives Medicaid; and, 
  • 14.4 percent of the adult population, age 18-64, lacks health insurance.

Current Medicare program data indicate there are 12,973 disabled individuals residing in this defined area; 15,881 are low-income and 13,802 are estimated to need and be eligible for MSP. 

About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration
The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals. The department’s seven divisions work to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.

About CLAIM
CLAIM is a program of the Missouri Department of Insurance through a grant from the Administration for Community Living. Services are provided by Primaris Foundation. CLAIM is not connected or affiliated with any insurance company and does not sell or recommend any insurance.  CLAIM provides helpful Medicare information. To ask questions or to learn more about Medicare benefits and eligibility and enrollment contact CLAIM at 1-800-390-3330 or visit www.missouriclaim.org. Individuals contacting CLAIM will be contacted by a trained counselor.