February 9, 2017

Apply For Medicare Savings Program Even If You’re Over Income Limit

By Aaron of Allsup

Medicare beneficiaries who are still working, but struggling financially, may be eligible for help paying their Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance) premiums.

All 50 states offer financial assistance to low-income people with limited resources. Even those who exceed those financial limits, however, should consider applying for a Medicare Savings Program (MSP) because some income and assets may not be considered.

The 2017 limits have not yet been released, but in 2016, individuals could get help paying for their Medicare premiums if they earned less than $1,208 per month. The limit for married couples was $1,622. The individual limit for resources, or assets, was $7,280, and a married couple must have had less than $10,930 in resources to qualify for assistance.

Limits are slightly higher in Alaska and Hawaii.

No state counts the following as income:

  • The first $20 of all income
  • The first $65 of monthly wages
  • One-half of your monthly wages after the $65 is deducted
  • Food stamps

Resources that are counted include:

  • Money in checking and savings accounts
  • Stocks
  • Bonds

Countable resources do not include:

  • Your home
  • One car
  • Life insurance with a cash value of less than $1,500
  • Wedding and engagement rings
  • Up to $1,500 for burial expenses each for you and your wife
  • Furniture
  • Other household and personal items

If you answer yes to the following questions, call your state’s Medicaid program and ask if you are eligible for an MSP.

  1. Do you have, or are you eligible, for Medicare Part A?
  2. Is your income at or below the income limits listed above?
  3. Do you have limited resources that are below the limits listed above?

It's important to call or fill out an application if you think you could qualify for savings—even if your income or resources are higher than the amounts listed here.

Click here for more information on the Medicare Savings Programs.

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