Even with Medicare, many people struggle to afford premiums, deductibles and other out-of-pockets health care costs. There are five federal programs that lower your costs for care even if you do not qualify for Medicaid:
- Veterans’ Administration: If you are a vet, the Veterans’ Administration (VA) offers low-cost services and prescription drugs directly. And, you can have VA coverage as well as Medicare.
- Medicare Savings Programs: Depending on your income, these programs help pay for Medicare premiums and coinsurance, even if you don’t qualify for Medicaid. There are three programs, Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB), Specified-Low Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) and Qualified Individual (QI). Income and asset limits, and how they are counted, vary somewhat by state. You should apply through your local Medicaid office.
- Extra Help with Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage: You may qualify for Extra Help, which pays for some or all of the cost of your drug coverage, so long as your income is under $1471 (individual) or $1991 (couple) and your assets are below $13,070 (individual) or $26,120 (couple). You get this automatically if you have Medicaid or a Medicare Savings Program. Some states have State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs that provide even more assistance.
- Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and other programs run by the Human Resources and Services Administration: FQHCs are located across the country and serve underserved populations and areas on a sliding-feed scale. They might waive the Medicare deductible and coinsurance, depending upon your income.
- Hill-Burton programs offer free or reduced care at Hill-Burton facilities in 38 states. Hill-Burton does not cover services fully covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Eligibility depends on your family size and income.
Keep in mind that you may be eligible for Medicaid based on your income after paying for some health care costs. For information on Medicaid, click here. To learn more about these programs, free local resources, and other programs that could help, contact your State Health Insurance Program. To contact your state Medicaid office, click here.