Help for some low-income people

If you cannot afford to pay your Medicare premiums and other medical costs, you may be able to get help from your state. States offer programs for people who are entitled to Medicare and have low income. The programs may pay some or all of Medicare's premiums and also may pay Medicare deductibles and coinsurance. To qualify, you must have Part A (hospital insurance), a limited income, and, in most states, your resources, such as bank accounts, stocks and bonds, must not be more than $4,000 for a single person or $6,000 for a couple.

If you are not sure if you have Part A, look on your red, white and blue Medicare card. It will show "Hospital (Part A)" on the lower left corner of the card. If you are still not sure, you can call Social Security toll-free.

You can go online to get more information about these programs from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) website. Visit www.medicare.gov and request If you need help paying Medicare costs, there are programs that can help you save money (Publication No. CMS-10126).

Only your state can decide if you qualify for help under these programs. To find out, contact your state or local medical assistance (Medicaid) agency, social services or welfare office.

You also may be able to get extra help paying for the annual deductibles, monthly premiums and prescription co-payments related to the Medicare prescription drug program (Part D). You may qualify for extra help if you have limited income (tied to the federal poverty level) and limited resources. These income and resource limits change each year, and you can contact us for the current numbers.

If you have both Medicaid with prescription drug coverage and Medicare, Medicare and Supplemental Security Income, or if your state pays for your Medicare premiums, you automatically will get this extra help and you don't need to apply.

For more information about getting help with your prescription drug costs, call Social Security's toll-free number or visit our website. You also can apply online at Social Security's website.