With both the cost of living and medical expenses on the rise, retiring from work and settling into old-age is not as relaxing as it once was – especially for those on a limited income. We’d like to share with you some ways to lower your overall Medicare costs.
The first of these is the Medicare Savings Program, a state-assisted option through which you can get payment assistance for premiums, and in some cases, assistance with Part A and Part B deductibles, coinsurance, and co-payments (provided that you meet certain income limits). There are 4 kinds of savings programs listed on Medicare.gov and each of these is monthly income- and total resource-based. If you fall under one of these first three categories, you automatically qualify to get extra help paying for Medicare prescription drug coverage – a benefit which alone can save you a lot on monthly costs.
Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB)
Those with an individual monthly income of $951 or less or married couple income of $1281 or less can receive assistance for both Part A & B Premiums and deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments.
Specified Low-Income Beneficiary (SLMB)
Individuals with total monthly income of $1137 and married couples with $1533 can receive assistance with Part B premiums only.
Qualifying Individual (QI) program
Individuals with total monthly income of $1277 or married couples with a total income of $1723 can receive assistance with Part B Premiums only.
There are also special circumstances for Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals (QDWI) such as working disabled person under age 65, loss of premium-free Medicare Part A for those who have had to return to work, those who are not receiving state assistance, and for those who meet state-required income resource limits. You are encouraged to apply even if you think you are not qualified.
If your prescription costs are becoming difficult to meet, there are four ways to help lower the cost of Medicare prescriptions. The first place to start is to make sure you are receiving the drugs that cost the least. The price difference between drugs can often save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars per year. You can also cut costs by using generic over brands, cheaper brands, or by using mail-order prescription services. Ask your doctor and pharmacist to find out your options.
Did you know that there are programs such as National and Community-based programs that often offer help with prescription costs? For information go to BenefitsCheckUp.
State assisted pharmaceutical assistance programs are available in 23 states. To find out if your state participates visit medicare.gov/spap.asp.
You can also go straight to the manufacturers for assistance, as many drug companies offer special programs to those enrolled in a Mostmedicare.com drug plan. You can find out whether a Pharmaceutical Assistance Program is offered by the manufacturers of the drugs you take by visiting medicare.gov/pap/index.asp.
As always, we encourage you to stay informed and share with us any experiences, questions or concerns you have.
To find out if you qualify for extra help paying for your prescription drugs
Contact Social Security by visiting socialsecurity.gov or calling 1-800-772-1213.TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778.
To find out if you qualify for Medicare Assistance
Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)
TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048