Medicare Savings Plans (MSP) are Medicaid-funded programs that work to reduce the costs connected with Medicare premiums, (Part A and Part B), deductibles and co-pays. Although these are “Medicaid” programs, it’s not the same as being on complete Medicaid, involves no estate recovery, and so on.
Medicaid Part A covers hospital in-patient care, nursing facility care (though NOT long-term care), home health, etc. Part A is usually free, with a few exceptions.
Medicare Part B relates to clinics, Doctor visits, outpatient care and other (non-prescription) costs. It does carry a premium, which currently is $104.90. It is deducted from your Social Security payment, so you might not be aware of it as a “premium”. And, if your income is $85,000 or above, your cost will increase. Deductibles are currently set at $147/year.
There are different MSP’s and you may hear them referred to as QMB, SLMB, or Ql. Each specific program has its own income and assets limits but for the sake of brevity, the general guidelines that include the programs are:
Income: Below $1293/month
Assets: Below $7080
Income: Below $1745/month
Assets: Below $10,620
A note regarding assets: Up to an additional $1500 may be allowed if set-aside in a specific burial plan account.
What if I just want some more information? You can call either of the numbers at the end of this column; or go online to www.medicare.gov and do some site cruising. You can find Medicare costs, what’s covered, and a lot of other information on the various Medicare incarnations.
You can hit the “Get help paying costs” link and explore the MSP’s in great detail. This has helped a lot of folks get by a little easier — which is also a good thing. Unless you’re hesitant to save some money, it’s worth looking into.