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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Financial Aid for Medicare

You might need help paying for Medicare. The program has monthly premiums, deductibles each year, and copays for each time you get care. If you can't afford them, you may qualify for financial aid to pay all or part of these costs. In most states, you qualify for help based on how much money you make each year and your financial assets -- how much money you've saved or have invested.

Aid programs include:

  • Medicare Savings Programs. This can help pay for doctor visits, tests, hospital costs, and more.
  • Part D Extra Help. This covers your prescription drug costs.
  • Medicaid . This covers many medical costs and services. It's run by the state where you live.

The three main programs to help pay for Medicare cover some of the same things. But they cover different types of care and services, too. To qualify, you have to meet different rules for each one. Look at each one carefully to decide what is best for you.

Medicare Savings Programs

These state programs may help pay for your monthly Medicare fees, copayments, and more. They're open to certain people with low incomes.

You should be able to save on your out-of-pocket costs. How much you save will vary depending on the state you live in.

The programs are:

  • The Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program, which helps with Part A and Part B premiums and deductibles, coinsurance, and copays.
  • The Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary Program, which helps with Part B premiums.
  • The Qualifying Individual Program, which also helps with Part B premiums.
  • The Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals Program, which helps with Part A premiums.

Whether you qualify depends on your income and assets. For instance, for some programs you can make no more than $978 a month if you're single. Others allow up to $1,313 a month. For couples, limits go from $1,313 to $1,765 a month.

To qualify, your assets must be less than $7,080 if you're single ($10,620 for a couple).

To add up your assets, count the money in your checking accounts, savings accounts, stocks, and bonds. You don’t have to count the value of your home, one car, and your burial plot. You also can subtract up to $1,500 for expenses, furniture, and personal things.

To apply, call your state's medical assistance office. To get your local number, call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227).

Part D Extra Help

This can help pay for the Part D monthly fee and the cost of prescriptions. You may be able to pay as little as $2.65 for generic drugs and $6.60 for brand-name drugs that are covered by the program.

To qualify, your yearly income for 2013 must be less than $17,235 for one adult or $23,265 for a couple.

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