Medicare costs can add up. In addition to out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and coinsurance, there are also Medicare premiums that must be paid to maintain coverage.
In this guide, we detail several ways that you can get help paying Medicare premiums, and we detail the 2021 Medicare premiums you can expect to pay.
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Medicare Extra Help, also known as the Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy, is a federal program that can help with Medicare Part D prescription drug plan premiums.
Your home, a car, a burial plot, furniture and other household items do not count as applicable financial resources.
Before you can apply for Extra Help, you must belong to a Medicare Part D drug plan.
You can compare Part D plans available where you live and enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan online in as little as 10 minutes when you visit MyRxPlans.com.1
In order to apply for the Medicare Extra Help program, you need to fill out the Application for Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs (Form SSA-1020).
You can either apply online, call (1-800-772-1213 (TTY (1-800-325-0778) or apply at your local Social Security office.
Some people receive the Medicare Low-Income Subsidy automatically. These include people who:
If you qualify for automatic enrollment, you do not need to apply for the program.
Those who do not qualify for automatic enrollment must first apply to Social Security and then apply for the Medicare Low-Income Subsidy in one of the following three ways:
Medicare Savings Programs can help beneficiaries cover the cost of premiums for Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). Medicare Savings Programs can also help with paying Medicare deductibles, coinsurance and copayments.
There are four Medicare Savings Programs:
This program helps pay for Medicare Part A and Part B premiums. If you qualify for this program, you automatically qualify for Medicare Extra Help.
You may qualify for the QMB if your 2020 income and resources meet the following limits:
If you earn just a little too much to qualify for the QMB program, you may qualify for the Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary program. This program helps pay Medicare Part B premiums and qualifies you for Medicare Extra Help.
You may qualify for the SLMB if your 2020 income and resources meet the following limits:
Those who do not qualify for either the QMB or SLMB programs may still be eligible for the Qualifying Individual Program, which pays for Medicare Part B premiums and qualifies you for Medicare Extra Help.
You must apply for QI benefits every year, and applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. You can’t get QI benefits if you qualify for Medicaid.
You may qualify for QI benefits if your 2020 income and resources meet the following limits:
Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals Program (QDWI)
This program is a little different than the others in that it only pays for Medicare Part A premiums. You may qualify for QDWI benefits if any of the following apply:
To qualify for QDWI benefits, your 2020 income and resources must also meet the following limits:
2021 Medicare premiums are as follows:
Read additional medicare costs guides to learn more about Medicare costs and how they will affect you.
There are even more ways to save money on your Medicare costs, including joining a Medicare Advantage plan that may offer the benefits you need at a price you can afford.
To compare Medicare Advantage plans available where you live, call to speak with a licensed insurance agent today.
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Or call TTY Users: 711 to speak with a licensed insurance agent. We accept calls 24/7!
1 10-minute claim is based solely on the time to complete the e-application if you have your Medicare card and other pertinent information available when you apply. The time to shop for plans, compare rates, and estimate drug costs is not factored into the claim. Application time could be longer. Actual time to enroll will depend on the consumer and their plan comparison needs.
2 MedicareAdvantage.com's The Best States for Medicare in 2021 report. (Oct. 27, 2020).
Christian Worstell is a licensed insurance agent and a Senior Staff Writer for MedicareAdvantage.com. He is passionate about helping people navigate the complexities of Medicare and understand their coverage options.
His work has been featured in outlets such as Vox, MSN, and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent contributor to health care and finance blogs.
Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC.
Where you've seen coverage of Christian's research and reports: