The Norman Transcript

Features

September 3, 2013

Assistance programs help seniors with health costs

NORMAN — Dear Savvy Senior, Are there any programs that you know of that help seniors with their Medicare expenses? I’m 67, live primarily on my Social Security and am having a hard time paying my Medicare premiums, deductibles, copays and prescription drug costs.

— Need Some Help

Dear Need,

Several financial assistance programs can help Medicare beneficiaries who are having a tough time paying their out-of-pocket health care costs. Here’s what’s offered, along with the eligibility requirements and how to apply.

Medicare savings: Let’s start with a program that helps lower-income Medicare beneficiaries pay premiums and out-of-pocket costs for Medicare Parts A and B. It’s called the Medicare Savings Program (MSP), and it has several different benefit levels for people with different financial resources.

At its most generous, the program will pay your Part B premium and pretty much all your Medicare deductibles and coinsurance. At its least generous, the program will pay just your Part B premium.

To qualify for a MSP, the minimum standard set by Medicare is an income under 135 percent of the federal poverty level, which at the moment works out to around $1,313 a month for individuals.

Everything counts toward income, including payouts from 401(k) plans, pensions, Social Security and help from family members. Medicare also allows states to impose an asset test, which can be as little as $7,080 per individual, not counting your house or car but counting retirement savings and bank accounts.

But some states have made their MSP programs a lot more generous, with much higher income limits and in some cases no asset tests at all. And the program may be called something else in your state.

To find out if you qualify or to apply, contact your local Medicaid office — call 800-633-4227 for contact information.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Pancreatic enzyme disease in dogs

    Dear Dr. Fox: A close friend has a police dog (a German shepherd, bred in Germany for that purpose) with severe health issues. The major problem is pancreatic enzyme deficiency. His vet has him on pancreatic tabs, but he still has loose ...

    April 24, 2014

  • Norman resident honored as volunteer of the week

    Each week, we recognize a volunteer who is making a difference in the lives of veterans and surviving spouses in the area. This week’s volunteer has been making the trip each week to Goldsby for the last five years. I’m proud to say that ...

    April 23, 2014

  • Air travel tips for seniors with special needs

    Dear Savvy Senior, I would like to fly my elderly parents across the country next month for my daughter’s wedding but have some concerns about the flight. My mom has trouble walking long distances and my dad has COPD and needs an oxygen ...

    April 22, 2014

  • Couple with autistic children lead Thorn Bush Autism group

    For Leah and Christian Eisenbeis raising two children with Autism is not only a challenge but it’s been a blessing, too....

    April 20, 2014

  • Free pressure canner checks offered

    With warmer weather trying to get a grip on April’s temperatures, it’s time to get the dial on your pressure canner checked. This is a free service provided by the Cleveland County Extension Office, 601 E. Robinson St. in Norman....

    April 20, 2014

  • Norman artist pledges to continue painting until colors fade

    About five or six months ago, I came across an article in The Norman Transcript about local artist Almira Hill Grammer, who had a display of her work at the State Capitol....

    April 20, 2014

  • ‘Blood moon’ rising

    I guess we all have one thing in common right now. We survived a “blood moon.” What a whirlwind of a week. It seemed that, like Hillary Clinton, the universe was just tossing shoes at me left and right. Maybe it was a sign I need to slow ...

    April 20, 2014

  • What to know about use of BVO

    Q: I’ve heard about Brominated vegetable oil recently. Could you provide some more information? A: Brominated vegetable oil, also called BVO, is a food additive that is often used to keep citrus flavor emulsified in sodas and sports ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Blessing opens demo garden

    A blustery, gray day didn’t mute enthusiasm for the first Saturday of the spring season April 12 at the Cleveland County Master Gardeners demo gardens and the Norman Farm Market....

    April 20, 2014

  • OHCE members receive awards

    Cleveland County’s Oklahoma Home and Community Education members Carol Doner and Megan Doner were award winners at a recent OHCE District meeting in Mustang....

    April 20, 2014