Where are we now

Nearly nine out of ten people age 65 and older receive Social Security retirement benefits, and more than 61 million people are covered by Medicare. The number of Americans 65 and older will increase from about 57 million in 2021 to about 76 million by 2035. These are two of the bedrock Federal programs in the United States, almost universally enrolled. Yet, irrespective of income, education level, and race, navigating retirement claiming timing and Medicare enrollment processes are time consuming, confusing, complex, and often require back-and-forth with these two programs.

Further, the relation between the two programs is unclear, and often requires re-telling the same information multiple times to multiple agencies of Government. Thresholds of eligibility also change for the elderly for many programs, resulting in under enrollment of financially, housing, and nutrition-insecure individuals missing out on critical supports for which they are eligible.

Where we want to be

Any route you begin (via SSA, Medicare, other supports) leads you to an integrated experience that only requires giving the government information once.

  • The number of people applying for Medicare “late” (in the General Enrollment period) will decline
  • The confusion around where to apply for Medicare goes down
  • The confidence in people feeling that they applied for retirement benefits “at the right time” goes up
  • Seniors who are eligible for and need nutrition, housing, or other supports are proactively connected with these programs

Where we will start

Through the Summer of 2022, the team will focus on activities that occur beginning around age 60 through age 70. The primary focus will be on the journey of applying for Retirement and Medicare and looking for opportunities to simplify the experience.

Additionally, we will explore the connections to other benefits available to seniors that can be leveraged at the same time (financial, nutritional, housing assistance) and provide warm connections, integration points, and further assistance to seniors who need these benefits the most.

The journey map will identify pain points in the Retirement journey from different perspectives, including differences in experiences depending on income/education level, access to guidance/support, online experiences, phone experiences, and in-person experiences when applying for Retirement and Medicare benefits. It will highlight difficulties identified in the decision-making process about when, where, and how to claim Retirement and Medicare benefits, and document people’s understanding of how different federal programs may benefit them, as well as confusion around different benefit programs.