Part D Extra Help
To qualify, your yearly income for 2014 must be less than $17,505 for one adult or $23,595 for a couple.
Your assets, which include savings, stocks, or bonds, must be less than $13,440 if you're only getting coverage for yourself, and less than $26,860 for a couple. These values are for 2014 and may change in 2015.
If you qualify for any of the Medicare savings programs or receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you automatically qualify for the Part D Extra Help program. You also automatically qualify if you have both Medicare and Medicaid.
You can apply online at the Social Security web site. Or you can call Social Security at 800-772-1213 or go to your local Social Security office. You also can apply by contacting your local department of human services or state Medical Assistance Office. You can find contact information for your State Medical Assistance Office at Medicare.gov.
You may have to wait up to 4 months to find out if you qualify. If you do, you'll get a letter saying so. Then, you may get money back for any premiums you paid while you waited.
This is low or no-cost health care for people with very low incomes or assets. It covers lots of benefits that Medicare doesn't. It is set up by the federal government, but it's run by the states. The program varies from state to state.
To qualify for Medicaid, your income must not be above a certain amount. This amount is different for each state.
More Help for Lowering Medicare Costs
If you do not qualify for one of the programs described above, you may be able to lower your Medicare costs by joining a Medicare Advantage Plan. If you remain in the traditional Medicare program, you may be able to lower your costs by buying a Medicare supplemental plan, which is also called a Medigap plan.
If you need help, the Medicare Rights Center has trained counselors to help you find financial aid. You can call the helpline at 800-333-4114 on weekdays.