If you have a limited income, you may be able to get assistance with your health care costs through certain programs:

  • Medicaid: If you have a low monthly income and minimal assets, you may be eligible for coverage through Medicaid to pay Medicare costs, like copays and deductibles, and for health care not covered by Medicare, such as dental care and transportation to medical appointments.
  • Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs): If you do not qualify for Medicaid but still have problems paying for health care, you may qualify for an MSP, a government-run program that helps cover Medicare costs. There are three types of MSP, and all of them pay the monthly Medicare Part B premium. The Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) program covers deductibles and coinsurances as well.
  • Extra Help: Also known as the Part D Low-Income Subsidy (LIS), this is a federal program that helps pay for some to most of the costs of Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. You may be eligible for Extra Help if you meet the income and asset limits. Also, in many cases, enrollment in an MSP automatically leads to enrollment in Extra Help.
  • State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs: SPAPs are offered in some states to help eligible individuals pay for prescriptions. Most SPAPs have income guidelines. Many also require you to enroll in a Medicare Part D plan and to apply for Extra Help.

Note: Income and asset limits for the above programs differ from state to state. For more information, call or visit the website of your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).

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