medicare questions

A collection of frequently asked questions about Medicare – answered by the editors of™ and guest experts on Medicare issues.

Is there help for me if I can’t afford Medicare’s premiums?

Yes. Medicaid is available to low-income individuals who can not afford Medicare, or other commercial health insurance plans. Medicare offers “Extra Help” for Medicare enrollees who can’t afford prescription drug programs. If you’re a single person earning less than $16,245 annually with fewer financial resources than $12,510, “Extra Help” lowers your plan’s premium substantially and lowers the cost of prescription drugs to a very small amount.

In some states, Medicare Savings Programs (MSP) pay Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B deductibles and coinsurance for the enrollee. To qualify for MSP assistance, a single person must earn less than $1,239 monthly and have resources (like bank account funds) less than $8,100; a married couple must be living together and have monthly incomes less than $1,660 and resources less than $12,910.

Many states offer State Pharmacy Assistance Programs (SPAPs), which help low-income individuals pay for prescription drugs based on their financial situations, on their age and on their medical condition.

Assistance with prescription drug coverage is available for elderly and disabled people through PACE (Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly). This Medicare / Medicaid program provides resources that are equivalent to nursing home services but which allow the enrollee to remain at home. PACE covers doctors visits, home care, hospital visits, transportation and home care as well. The fact sheet, “Quick Facts About Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly” can be retrieved at



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