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Hi Matt,

Medicare can be expensive! I’ve heard that you can get assistance for your Medicare insurance premium payments each month. I’ve looked around online, but I can’t figure out what step to take first. Can you direct me on how to find help with the cost of Medicare?


Donna S.

Hi Donna,

Yes, you can, depending on your income and other factors, receive help for your Medicare premium payments. There are ways to potentially pay less for not only your Medicare Part B premiums, but also Part D premiums. There are several programs, some from the states and some from the federal government and they’re all awarded based on income thresholds.

The various state and federal programs get a little confusing, but a good rule of thumb is if you make more than approximately $18,000 per year as an individual or approximately $28,000 as a couple, you won’t qualify for any of these programs.               

There are also differences in what you’ll potentially pay for Medicare Part D depending upon your income. If the government decides you need, or you apply for and get accepted to receive what’s called Extra Help, you won’t pay full price for Medicare Part D. If you make more than approximately $20,000 per year as an individual or $26,000 as a couple, you probably won’t qualify and will have to pay full price. There are asset considerations, too, such as home ownership, mutual funds, etc., so if this applies to you, keep reading.

Levels of Financial Assistance for Medicare Recipients

There are four levels of Extra Help. The first level means you’ll automatically be assigned a Medicare Part D plan because you have both Medicare and Medicaid, you’re in a Medicare Savings Program, or you get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. If you already have a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan or have Part D prescription drugs through your Medicare Part C (MAPD plan), you can keep it and might get a premium discount. There are three other levels, and they’re all income- and assets-based.             

If you’re on Medicaid or collect Supplemental Security Income from Social Security, you shouldn’t have to apply for Extra Help.

You can apply for Extra Help at Social Security, and the form can be found on the website PrepareforMedicare.com/links. You can also call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.                 

Medicare publishes a handy chart that outlines all the help available in detail, and you can find it on my website as well!            

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Author Bio Matt Feret is the author of the Prepare for Medicare book series and launched prepareformedicare.com to help people get objective answers to questions about Medicare. Matt is also the host of The Matt Feret Show. He has held leadership roles at numerous Fortune 500 Medicare health insurers in sales, marketing, operations, product development, and strategy for over two decades.