Medicare coverage can be very expensive. Premiums for Medicare Part B are $88.50 per month in 2006. If you sign up for Medicare Part D your premiums can cost $35.00 per month or more depending on the plan you choose. Not only do you have to pay these premiums for Medicare, but they go up every year!
Is there any help paying these ever-rising premium costs? The answer is yes; however, it depends on your income. There are two programs that could help pay your Medicare premiums. One is a Social Security program and the other is your State’s program.
For assistance with your Medicare Part B premium, you may be eligible to have your State pay the $88.50 for you. The program is called “QMB” or “Qualified Medicare Beneficiary.” Your state will evaluate your income to see if you qualify. To see if you qualify for QMB contact Social Services in your state and ask to apply for QMB. If you need contact information for your State, Medicare can provide you the number to call. Contact Medicare at their toll-free number: 1-800-633-4227.
Medicare Part D has a monthly premium and an annual deductible of $250. If you qualify for Social Security’s extra help with prescription drug plan costs, you will not have to pay this premium or deductible. Social Security will consider your monthly income and any money you have in the bank to determine if you qualify. You should apply even if you think you may be over the income limit as Social Security awards partial subsidy amounts for people in certain income categories. To apply for the extra help with prescription drug plan costs, contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.