Fewer than one-third of eligible Medicare beneficiaries enroll in Medicare savings programs, which pay premiums and, in some cases, eliminate out-of-pocket cost sharing for poor and near-poor enrollees. Many beneficiaries don't participate in savings programs because they must complete a cumbersome application process, including a burdensome asset test. We demonstrate that a streamlined alternative to the asset testletting seniors avoid the asset test by showing a lack of investment income-would let 78 percent of currently eligible seniors bypass the asset test. Eligibility would increase by 30 percent, compared to 104 percent if the asset test were eliminated.
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