Medicare Savings Programs for Help With Premiums

Medicare Savings Programs for Help With Premiums

If you’re having trouble paying for Medicare, one of these programs could be your answer.

For those who meet the age and eligibility requirements, Medicare offers a world of benefits. But some people still have trouble making payments. If you’re struggling with your premiums, maybe a Medicare Savings Program (MSP) can help.

Help with your premiums

To qualify for MSP assistance, you must meet certain income and asset requirements. Income levels vary from program to program, but the maximum allowable assets are the same. You can have up to $4,000 if you’re single or $6,000 if you’re married. While these numbers might seem quite low, the rules are more generous than you think. Medicare exempts a variety of assets, which means you don’t have to count them. They include your:

  • Home
  • Automobiles
  • Valuables, such as jewelry and furniture
  • Burial plots

On the other hand, you do have to count:

  • All bank balances
  • Investments
  • Cash holdings
  • Secondary real estate

If your assets still fall below $4,000 (or $6,000), then you might want to apply for one of these programs.

Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB)

QMB is a program for people who can’t qualify for Medicaid because their income or assets are too high. If you earn less than $923 a month ($1,235 for a couple), you might be able to get QMB. The program is generous. It pays almost all the costs of Medicare Parts A and B. This includes premiums, deductibles and even some copayments.

Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB)

SLMB is a more limited program that pays only Medicare Part B premiums. This can still be a help, though, especially if you’re having payments taken out of your Social Security check. The monthly income limits are $1,103 for a single person and $1,477 for a couple.

Qualified Individual (QI)

This is another plan that covers Part B premiums. If you don’t meet the cutoff for QMB or SLMB, you still might be able to get QI help. That’s because it has slightly higher income limitations. They are $1,239 for singles and $1,660 for married folks.

Qualified Disabled Working Individual (QDWI)

QDWI is for individuals with a disability who earn too much for Social Security or Medicare. If you qualify, it will cover all of your Part A premiums. It has more generous income limits, too. You can bring in $3,695 a month ($4,924 for couples) and still be eligible.

Extra Help

Though Extra Help isn’t a Medicare Savings Program, you should know about it all the same. It’s a Social Security benefit that covers all your Part D prescription premiums. If you are able to get into any of the other MSPs, then you also qualify for Extra Help. Your enrollment should happen automatically. If it doesn’t, contact your nearest Social Security office for help.

With any luck, you’ll be able to qualify for one of these programs. That means you’ll get the Extra Help too. Even if you think you might be turned down, you should still apply. What counts as income differs from state to state, and you might be pleasantly surprised. MSPs are provided through your county’s Department of Social Services. Call today and get the process started.

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