Programs are available to people with limited income and resources who need help paying their Medicare costs. The programs have guidelines to qualify and cover different things. It may be worth looking into these for yourself and sharing what you learn with friends and family.
Medicare Savings Programs
These are Medicaid programs for people with Medicare. They help cover Medicare premiums and cost-sharing for those who don’t qualify for full Medicaid.
What it pays
Qualified Medicare Beneficiary
Part A and Part B premiums, deductibles, copayments and coinsurance
Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary
Part B premium
Part B premium
Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals
Part A premium
How do you know if you’re eligible?
To start, you must already have or be eligible for Medicare Part A, and your income and resources must be below a set amount. The amounts may change each year, so your eligibility could change each year, too.
What are resources?
These are assets you might have—such as cash, money in bank accounts, stocks, bonds, property, vehicles, and life or burial insurance—that these programs count when determining eligibility. Other items don’t count. For instance, your home and your primary car aren’t counted.
Medicare’s Extra Help Program
This program is also known as the low-income subsidy, or LIS. When you qualify for a Medicare savings program, you automatically get extra help—which helps pay Part D prescription drug costs, like deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. It may also pay a Part D plan’s premium. And if you don’t automatically qualify, you can apply for extra help.
There are two kinds: full extra help and partial extra help. Both help pay for your drugs. When you have extra help, you’re assigned an LIS level (1, 2, 3 or 4). Your level determines your costs for prescription drugs. Full extra help also pays your full Part D premium, while partial extra help pays a portion.