July 06, 2021

GeorgiaCares can help Medicare beneficiaries save money

Paying for medical expenses while living on a limited income is tough. Medicare beneficiaries are often faced with the difficult choice to pay for their medications or pay an essential household bill. GeorgiaCares can help. GeorgiaCares is the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) administered through the Division of Aging Services.

GeorgiaCares has certified Medicare counselors available to help beneficiaries apply for financial assistance programs.

One program that can help is the Medicare Saving Program. The program is available to all beneficiaries who meet the following criteria: 

  1. You must be a citizen or legal resident of the United States.
  2. You must be a resident of Georgia.
  3. You must be enrolled in Medicare Part A or be eligible to enroll in Medicare Part A.
  4. You must meet the income and asset eligibility requirements.

Beneficiaries who qualify can receive assistance to pay their Medicare premiums, copayments and coinsurance.

1. The Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) program will fill in the gaps in Medicare coverage by eliminating out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare covered services. The QMB program pays Medicare premiums, deductibles and coinsurance.

2. The Specified Low Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) program will pay monthly Medicare Part B premium only.

3. The Qualifying Individual (QI) program pays the monthly Medicare Part B premium only. QI has a higher income limit than SLMB but provides the same benefit.

4. The Qualified Disabled Working Individual (QDWI) program will pay monthly Medicare Part A premiums. If a beneficiary is under age 65, disabled and no longer entitled to free Medicare Hospital Insurance Part A because they have successfully returned to work, they may be eligible for a program that helps pay their Medicare Part A monthly premium.

To be eligible for QDWI, beneficiaries must:

  • continue to have a disabling impairment.
  • sign up for premium Hospital Insurance (Part A).
  • have limited income.
  • have resources worth less than $4,000 for an individual and $6,000 for a couple not counting the home where you live, usually one car and certain insurance; and
  • not already be eligible for Medicaid.

Medicare beneficiaries can also qualify for the Extra Help program to pay their monthly premiums, annual deductibles and copayments for their Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.

The Social Security Administration estimates each application is worth $5,000 per year. Saving money on medications can make a difference to a beneficiary on a tight budget.

Medicare beneficiaries must have Medicare, have limited resources and income, and reside in one of the 50 States or the District of Columbia to qualify for the Extra Help program.

To apply for the Medicare Savings and the Extra Help programs, call the Georgia Division of Aging Services toll-free at 1-866-552-4464 and select Option 4 to speak to a certified Medicare counselor. Counselors are available Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.