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I can't afford my Medicare premiums. What can I do?

I can't afford my Medicare premiums. What can I do?

You may qualify to get help paying for your Medicare Part A and/or Part B premiums. States have programs that could save you up to $1,000 or more in Medicare expenses (like premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance). There are four Medicare Savings Programs:

  • Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB)
  • Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB)
  • Qualifying Individual (QI)
  • Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals (QDWI)

If you qualify for one of these programs, you automatically qualify for extra help paying the costs of Medicare prescription drug coverage. If you can answer "yes" to each of the three following questions, you should apply for help paying your medical costs.

  1. Do you have Medicare Part A, also known as hospital insurance? If you aren't sure, look on your red, white, and blue Medicare insurance card. Or, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778.
  2. Is your income (for 2008) at or below the income limits listed below?
    Medicare Savings Programs Individual Monthly Income Limit* Married Couple Monthly Income Limit* Helps Pay Your
    QMB $887 Alaska-$1,085 Hawaii-$1,000 $1,187 Alaska-$1,447 Hawaii-$1,333 Part A and Part B premiums, and other cost-sharing (like deductibles, coinsurance and copayments)
    SLMB $1,060 Alaska-$1,297 Hawaii-$1,195 $1,420 Alaska-$1,732 Hawaii-$1,595 Part B premiums only
    QI $1,190 Alaska-$1,457 Hawaii-$1,342 $1,595 Alaska-$1,946 Hawaii-$1,792 Part B premiums only
    QDWI $3,489 $4,649 Part A premiums only

    If you have income from working, you may qualify for these benefits even if your income is higher than these limits. Many states figure your income and resources differently, so you may be eligible in your state even if you think you exceed these limits

  3. Are your resources* (for 2008) at or below $4,000 for an individual or $6,000 for a married couple? (Resources include money in a checking or savings account, stocks, and bonds. When you count your resources, don't include your home, car, burial plot, up to $1,500 for burial expenses, furniture, or other household items.) * Some states including Alaska and Hawaii have monthly income and resources limits that are slightly higher.

It's very important to call or fill out an application if you think you could qualify for savings, even if your income or resources are higher than the amounts shown under Step 2. The only way to know if you qualify for sure is to apply. Call your State Medical Assistance (Medicaid) office to find out if you qualify. Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to get their telephone number. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048. Or, visit the Helpful Contacts section on Medicare's Website.




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