Medicare Payment Help Available Says LSU AgCenter Family Economist

Jeanette A. Tucker  |  4/21/2005 9:45:57 PM

News You Can Use For January 2004

"Sometimes Medicare isn’t enough," says LSU AgCenter family economics professor Dr. Jeanette Tucker. To help out is Louisiana Medicaid’s Medicare Savings Program.

"Medicaid’s savings program may help Medicare recipients pay part of their medical costs, including Medicare premiums or other out-of-pocket expenses," the family economist says.

These programs have income limits and financial resource limits. "That means beneficiaries must make less than a certain amount, and they cannot own more than a certain amount of money or other kinds of property," Tucker explains.

Beneficiaries also must have Medicare Hospital Insurance (Part A). If you are not certain you have Medicare Part A, look on your Medicare card or call Social Security toll free at 1-800-772-1213.

The program that pays the most is Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB). It pays the $66.60 monthly Medicare Part B premium and covers all deductibles and co-payments for Medicare parts A and B.

"QMB basically serves as free supplemental insurance," Tucker says, adding, "You may qualify if your monthly income is no more than $749 and your financial resources do not exceed $4,000." Income limits for couples are $1,010 per month and $6,000 in other resources.

The Specified Low-Income Beneficiary program pays the Part B monthly premium only. Single people can have a monthly income of up to $898 and financial resources of up to $4,000. Couples can make up to $1,212 per month and have up to $6,000 in financial resources.

If you or someone you know might qualify for any of these programs, Tucker says to contact the Medicaid office in your parish or print an application online at http://www.dhh.state.la.us/MEDICAID/1-MB%20.pdf.

For additional information about this or any other Medicaid program, you may call the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals toll-free at 1-888-544-7996. If you are hearing impaired, you may call the TTY number toll-free at 1-800-220-5404.

DHH will determine if you are eligible and can help you apply.

Applicants will need to provide their Social Security number, proof of total family income for the last month, copies of their Medicare and any other health insurance card(s). Individuals who are not U.S. citizens also will need their alien registration card or immigration papers.

The "additional resource limits" for singles and couples can include various items: cars, trucks, boats and other vehicles; all property, including houses and heir or estate property; all types of bank accounts, stocks, bonds or other cash holdings; life or burial insurance; and anything else of value. Financial resources do not include the home you live in, one car, burial plots, furniture and some life insurance.

For local information and educational programs in related areas of family and consumer sciences, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office. Also, log on to the Family and Consumer Sciences section under the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service at the LSU AgCenter Web site: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/.

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On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/

Source: Jeanette Tucker (225) 578-1425, or Jtucker@agcenter.lsu.edu.

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