The Medicare Rights Center in Westchester

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Our Westchester program is a wonderful community success story, and a national model of volunteerism.

Westchester County, north of New York City, includes suburban areas of affluence, and also large patches of poverty, reflecting the growing tendency of low-income and immigrant families to bypass urban centers for the suburban ring.

140,000 Westchester residents currently have Medicare. They and their families need accurate information about benefits, including the confusing Part D prescription drug benefit. Many also need help enrolling in low-income assistance programs to pay for their health care and medications.employees

The Medicare Rights Center is committed to providing information and counseling to help meet these needs, and to developing a model that will work for other communities throughout the U.S.

Seniors Out Speaking on Medicare
Health Advocacy Programs
Senior Benefits Information Centers

Seniors Out Speaking on Medicare (SOS Medicare)vicky and dave

The award-winning SOS Medicare program trains and mobilizes volunteers to educate their peers about Medicare issues in their own communities. Our volunteers visit senior centers, religious institutions, public housing projects, clubs and other sites throughout Westchester to speak about health care topics that interest people with Medicare and their families.

Volunteers also provide counseling and help people in need enroll in low-income assistance programs.

In 2009, SOS volunteers reached roughly 1,354 Westchester County residents each month with a "Medicare Minute," a brief presentation on Medicare benefits, rights and options.

If you are interested in becoming an SOS Medicare volunteer, please contact us.

Health Advocacy Programs

In December 2006, the Medicare Rights Center in Westchester, in conjunction with the Sarah Lawrence College Health Advocacy Program, launched a new series of programs to train members of the community to become health advocates for themselves and their peers.

The Health Advocacy Players, made up of volunteers in this program, tell stories that show participants how to stand up for their rights in difficult situations with health care professionals in a non-confrontational way.

The first program teaches people "How to Talk to Your Doctor," and the second addresses "How to Navigate a Hospital Stay."

New program topics are continually under development. Based on surveys completed by program participants and volunteers, the programs will address the issues of most concern to the Medicare community.

In 2009, volunteers reached 1,156 people through Medicare information programs and health advocacy workshops.

The Health Advocacy Programs are funded by the Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation, a leader in supporting efforts to create "elder-friendly" communities.

The Medicare Rights Center works with the needs of a growing number of older volunteers who are eager to acquire new skills while helping their peers.

If you are interested in becoming a Health Advocacy Program volunteer, please contact us.

Senior Benefits Information Center


In 2007, the Medicare Rights Center established the Health Advocacy Resource Center program to help guide older adults and their caregivers through the vast array of health care information.

In April 2010, the Centers were renamed Senior Benefits Information Centers to reflect the wider range of services available. Visitors to the Centers continue to have access to the Westchester Library System's print and online health care resources, and continue to receive guidance from trained counselors to find answers to their Medicare questions. Visitors can also learn about public benefits for older adults, including food stamps (also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP), programs to help with the cost of prescription drugs and the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE).

The Senior Benefits Information Centers are located in public libraries in Yonkers, Shrub Oak, Tarrytown and Mount Kisco.

In 2009, counselors provided one-on-one counseling and advice to 410 people.

If you are interested in volunteering at a Senior Benefits Information Center, please contact us.