(Part 1 in a series.)
Many low-income older adults struggle with the cost sharing that comes with Medicare. A program called “Medicare Buy-In” helps Medicare beneficiaries pay their Part B premium. For most beneficiaries, the $104.90 premium is automatically deducted from their Social Security benefit. Those who are new to Medicare Part B or chose to pay their Part B premium directly, have a monthly premium of $121.80.*
Seniors who meet the following income and asset guidelines in 2016 will qualify to have the state pay their Medicare Part B premium:
• Single individuals with income less than $1,337/month and assets less than $7,280
• Married couples with income less than $1,802/month and assets less than $10,930
Those with very low income (less than $990 for a single person; $1,335 for a married couple) will also get help with their Medicare deductibles and co-insurance.
To apply for the Medicare Savings Program, you may:
* Have an application mailed to you from the DHS Customer Service Center at (877) 395-8930 or your local County Assistance Office
* Download an application (the PA 600M) from dhs.pa.gov
* Apply for health care coverage at Compass.state.ps.us.
It typically takes 30-45 days to process an application. Once the state takes over payment of the person’s Part B premium, their Social Security benefits will increase and the person will also be reimbursed for any Part B premiums paid after the start date of the Medicare Savings Program.
* Beneficiaries with high annual income (over $85,000 for a single person; $170,000 for a married couple) pay higher Part B premiums on a sliding scale based on their taxable income.
To learn more about the Medicare Savings Program, contact the APPRISE Program at your local Area Agency on Aging or call (800) 783-7067. The PA Health Law Project provides free legal help to low-income seniors. Contact PHLP at (800) 274-3258 or visit phlp.org.