Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people aged 65 and older, certain younger people plagued by a disability, and those with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD is permanent kidney failure that requires dialysis or a transplant).
While Medicare helps qualified people with some of their medical expenses, those enrolled in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) will still have to pay coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles for covered services. Part B also comes with a premium amount of $144.60 a month for the year 2020.
Some essential health services and products are not covered at all. All of this could be frightening for someone on a fixed income. We are here to let you know that there are some options that may be available to Medicare beneficiaries with low incomes. Many may be eligible to receive additional help for important doctors, prescriptions, and needed services.
Where can Medicare beneficiaries with low incomes find Extra Help?
Medicare Savings Program: The first place to look for extra help may just be with your state Medicare Savings Program. In some cases, these programs may help pay Medicare premiums as well as help to cover deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments.
- For example, there are four programs available to assist those who still have income from working.
- Three of these programs- QMB, QI, and SLMB- may also help pay Part C prescription drug plan premiums. Typically the qualifications for these programs depend upon both income and available resources. While available resources include cash, savings, and stocks, they do not include home, vehicle, burial plot, a small amount of cash set aside for burial expenses, furniture, and other personal items
Free and Low-Cost Clinics: Many seniors also worry about things that are not covered by Medicare. Some examples of these are routine trips to the dentist and eye doctor. PPARX.org is the official website of the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, and this organization has a low-cost clinic finder online. All you need to do is enter your home zip code to use the system.
Medicare Advantage plans to control medical costs: Medicare Advantage plans that are offered from private insurance companies who provide benefits that are as good as or better than original Medicare. Some of these plans have modest additional premiums, some have no additional monthly premium, and some even refund part of the Part B premium that most recipients must pay. While these plans are not specifically for seniors or disabled people with low incomes, they might help control access and provide simple access to good doctors, hospitals, and other health providers.
Are your Medicare health costs out of control? Do you want to get more information about programs that might be available to you?