Medicare Savings Program

Getting Medicare? Do You Qualify for Help Paying for Prescriptions?

Extra Help? Part D? Low-Income Subsidy? Prescriptions?

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Medicare prescription coverage is called Part D and if you are enrolling in Medicare, you have to enroll in Part D to get prescription coverage. Medicare can help you pay for some or all of your out of pocket prescription costs through a program called Extra Help or the Part D Low-Income Subsidy.

What is Extra Help?

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Extra Help provides a Low-Income Subsidy to help pay for out of pocket costs for Part D prescription plans. Extra Help will help pay for monthly premiums, annual deductibles and prescription co-payments. Extra Help can save you up to $4900 a year depending on your medications and on your income and assets. If you have low assets and are working, you may qualify even if your income is over the limit below. If you are struggling to pay for prescriptions, apply.

To qualify for Extra Help, your income and assets must be below:

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How do I get Extra Help?

You must apply for Extra Help, it is not usually automatic. Social Security will need information about your income and assets. Assets include your savings, investments and real estate (other than your home). If you are married, you will need information for yourself and your spouse.

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You may have received an Extra Help application in the mail when you first received information about starting Medicare. If you filled it out and mailed it back, you have already applied. If not, you can apply online at SocialSecurity.gov.

Some people automatically qualify for Extra Help and will receive a notice from Medicare. The notice will be purple, yellow or green or possibly orange. The purple notice says you qualify for Medicaid and Medicare and will receive the maximum Extra Help benefit. The yellow notice indicates you qualify for Extra Help and have been auto-enrolled unless you are already enrolled in a Part D plan. The orange notice states your Extra Help amount is changing for the coming year.

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How do I know if I already have Extra Help?

You can call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227 or log in to your account at medicare.gov.

In addition to Extra Help with Part D, you may also be eligible for help paying your Part B premium or be eligible for Medicaid with your Medicare.

At the WHP office, we help people who have Medicare apply for Medicaid. We can help you get an appointment with a Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP) counselor to choose your Part D prescription plan. If you have questions, call us at 734-544-3030.


Resources:

Medicare 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)

Social Security Administration 1-800-772-1213

Find your Level of Extra Help (Part D) from Medicare.gov.

Understanding the Extra Help With Your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan from Social Security.

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2019 Medicare Open Enrollment Runs October 15 through December 7

Medicare is a program for people who are 65 or older and people with disabilities. You can read more about Medicare here. If you have Medicare now, then...

It's time to review your Medicare Plan!  

October 15, 2018 to December 7, 2018 is the annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period. During Open Enrollment you may:

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  • Change from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan

  • Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to original Medicare

  • Switch Medicare Advantage plans

  • Join a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan

  • Switch Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans

IMPORTANT: Review your coverage--especially Part D and Medicare Advantage Plans--every year!

Premiums, co-pays and the drugs covered can change from year-to-year, even within the same plan.  Your current plan should send you an "Annual Notice of Change" before Open Enrollment that outlines any changes for the next year.  Medicare Part D plans are sold and managed by private companies and vary greatly in terms of monthly premiums, annual deductibles, drugs covered and prescription prices.  

Insurers tweak Medicare Advantage Plans every year, and those changes could mean that you can't see your favorite doctor or that you might need to pay more. 

So--review, review, review!

Note: Low-income individuals on Medicare may be able to change their plans more frequently. A MMAP counselor can explain your options.

MMAP Counselors Are There For You--For Free!

Every state has people who will help you figure out your Medicare options. In Michigan, these people--paid staff, and volunteers--work with the Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program. In Michigan, you can find your local MMAP program here. Nationally, the SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Program) can help you find assistance locally. 

MMAP Counselors can help explain how Medigap and Medicare Advantage programs work, and can help you sift through your options for Part D plans. They can help you figure out if you can defer taking Medicare because you are still working. They can help you figure out if you qualify for extra help!

Some People Qualify For Extra Help

If your income is low, you may qualify for extra help. For instance, the Medicare Savings Program may help you pay your Medicare premium, or you may qualify for Medicaid and Medicare which together will cover all your health care costs. To qualify for the Medicare Savings Program you must be low-income and not have many assets.  For married couples, your combined income must be less than $1871.75/month and you must have less than $11,340 in assets (excluding a house and car).  For single people, your income must be less than $1391.67 and you must have less than $7560 in assets.  

If you think you may qualify for Extra Help, talk to a MMAP (Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program) counselor. 

Just MMAP It!

Washtenaw County is in a MMAP region that includes Livingston, Monroe, Macomb, St. Clair and Oakland counties. There are multiple ways to meet with MMAP counselors and MMAP and the Area Agency on Aging 1B have multiple events scheduled for Open Enrollment.  Call 1-800-803-7174 to schedule an appointment.  Call now because availability is limited!


 

 2019 Open Enrollment Washtenaw County Events - Medicare beneficiaries can make an appointment to meet one-on-one with a MMAP Counselor and review their 2019 Medicare coverage options.  Call 800-803-7174 to schedule an appointment.  Appointments are required.

Washtenaw ISD 1819 S. Wagner Rd. Ann Arbor, MI 48103

  • Tuesday, October 16 9am - 4pm,

  • Monday, November 12 9am - 4pm

  • Thursday, December 6 9am - 4pm

Milan Seniors for Healthy Living 45 Neckel Ct. Milan 48160

Call 734-508-6229 for appts

  • Thursday, October 18 9am-3pm

  • Thursday, November 15 9am - 3pm

Pittsfield Twp. Senior Center 710 W. Ellsworth Rd Ann Arbor 48108

Call 734-508-6229 for appts

  • Wednesday, October 24 9am - 2pm

  • Wednesday, November 14 9am - 2pm

Printable schedule of events for Southeastern Michigan  including Washtenaw, Livingston, Monroe, Macomb, St. Clair and Oakland.

New Medicare Cards

A quick note about Medicare cards. Medicare is no longer using your Social Security number as your Medicare number. Everyone (all 55 million people on Medicare!) will receive a new card before May 2019. You do not need to call to receive your card and no one will call you asking for your Medicare information to receive a new card. Read 10 Things to Know About Your New Medicare card.

Medicare cards will no longer include your Social Security number. Everyone should have a new cared before May 2019.   Read more.

Medicare cards will no longer include your Social Security number. Everyone should have a new cared before May 2019. Read more.

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2017 Medicare Open Enrollment Runs October 15 through December 7

Medicare is a program for people who are 65 or older and people with disabilities. You can read more about Medicare here. If you have Medicare now, then...

It's time to review your Medicare Plan!  

October 15, 2017 to December 7, 2017 is the annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period. During Open Enrollment you may:

  • Change from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to original Medicare
  • Switch Medicare Advantage plans
  • Join a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan
  • Switch Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans

 

review your coverage--especially Part D and Medicare Advantage Plans--every year!

Premiums, co-pays and the drugs covered can change from year-to-year, even within the same plan.  Your current plan should send you an "Annual Notice of Change" before Open Enrollment that outlines any changes for the next year.  Medicare Part D plans are sold and managed by private companies and vary greatly in terms of monthly premiums, annual deductibles, drugs covered and prescription prices.  

Insurers tweak Medicare Advantage Plans every year, and those changes could mean that you can't see your favorite doctor or you might need to pay more. 

So--review, review, review!

MMAP Counselors Are There For You--For Free!

Every state has people who will help you figure out your Medicare options. In Michigan, these people--paid staff, and volunteers--work with the Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program. In Michigan, you can find your local MMAP program here. Nationally, the SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Program) can help you find assistance locally. 

MMAP Counselors can help explain how Medigap and Medicare Advantage programs work, and can help you sift through your options for Part D plans. They can help you figure out if you can defer taking Medicare because you are still working. They can help you figure out if you qualify for extra help!

Some People Qualify For Extra Help

If your income is low, you may qualify for extra help. For instance, the Medicare Savings Program may help you pay your Medicare premium, or you may qualify for Medicaid and Medicare which together will cover all your health care costs. To qualify for the Medicare Savings Program you must be low-income and not have many assets.  For married couples, your combined income must be less than $1847/month and you must have less than $11,090 in assets (excluding a house and car).  For single people, your income must be less than $1376 and you must have less than $7390 in assets.  

If you think you may qualify for Extra Help, talk to a MMAP (Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program) counselor. 

Just MMAP It!

Washtenaw County is in a MMAP region that includes Livingston, Monroe, Macomb, St. Clair and Oakland counties. There are multiple ways to meet with MMAP counselors and MMAP and the Area Agency on Aging 1B have multiple events scheduled for Open Enrollment.  Call 1-800-803-7174 to schedule an appointment.  Call now because availability is limited!

 

2018 Washtenaw County Events - Medicare beneficiaries can make an appointment to meet one-on-one with a MMAP Counselor and review their 2018 Medicare coverage options.  Call 800-803-7174 to schedule an appointment.  Appointments are required.

Thursday, November 2,  2017  10am - 3pm Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor 2935 Birch Hollow Dr Ann Arbor, MI 48018

Monday, November 13, 2017 10am - 6pm   Washtenaw ISD 1819 S Wagner Rd Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Thursday, December 7, 2017 10am - 6pm  Washtenaw ISD 1819 S Wagner Rd Ann Arbor, MI 48103

 

Events in SE Michigan including Washtenaw, Livingston, Monroe, Macomb, St. Clair and Oakland.  

Washtenaw County Events and Partner sites with in-person appointments available.

Livingston County Events and Partner sites with in-person appointments available.

Monroe County Events and Partner sites with in-person appointments available.

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What Is The Maximum I Can Make For...?

The Department of Health and Human Services begins using revised Federal Poverty Level Guidelines each April.  Many federally and state funded programs use the income guidelines to determine eligibility for programs and services.  Healthcare subsidy programs, Medicaid and Medicare all use the guidelines in their calculations.  The Federal Poverty Guidelines can be found here.

The chart below is what we use at the Washtenaw Health Plan to help people figure out what health care coverage is best for themselves and their family.  Our chart includes a 5% disregard.  We use the chart for determining eligibility for MAGI Medicaid. (What is MAGI?)

This is the document which includes disregards we use to determine eligibility for Medicaid, Marketplace tax credits and cost sharing, and other programs.   pdf

This is the document which includes disregards we use to determine eligibility for Medicaid, Marketplace tax credits and cost sharing, and other programs.  pdf

Our website has been updated with the new numbers.  Maybe you are very close to the edge of the income limit for MIChild or you need to check the income limit because you have a new baby.  Both Medicaid and MIChild have been updated.  Not sure where to go? Start Here

Many other programs use the Federal Poverty Guidelines as a baseline for their programs including:

Free and Reduced School Lunch Program

MOMS Medicaid is for pregnant women who are not eligible for full Medicaid because of their immigration status. 

Pregnancy Medicaid

WIC (Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program) provides food, nutrition counseling, and breastfeeding support to mothers and young children. 

Hospital charity care and financial assistance including M-Support and McAuley Support

Medicare/Medicaid programs help low-income Medicare recipients pay their health care costs. 

And many more! 

If you have questions, contact the Washtenaw Health Plan.  734-544-3030 or walk-in Monday through Friday from 9am - 4pm at 555 Towner St. in Ypsilanti. 

-Meredith Buhalis 

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2015 Medicare Open Enrollment - October 15 through December 7 - Get Help

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It's time to review your Medicare Plan!  

October 15, 2015 to December 7, 2015, is the annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period. During Open Enrollment you may:

  • Change from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to original Medicare
  • Switch Medicare Advantage plans
  • Join a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan
  • Switch Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans

It is important to review your Part D coverage every year!

Premiums, co-pays and the drugs covered can change from year-to-year, even within the same plan.  Your current plan should send you an "Annual Notice of Change" before Open Enrollment that outlines any changes for the next year.  Medicare Part D plans are sold and managed by private companies and vary greatly in terms of monthly premiums, annual deductibles, drugs covered and prescription prices.  

The Medicare Savings Program may help you pay your Medicare premium, or you may qualify for Medicaid and Medicare which together will cover all your health care costs. To qualify for the Medicare Savings Program you must be low-income and not have many assets.  For married couples, your combined income must be less than $1770/month and you must have less than $10,930 in assets.  For single people, your income must be less than $1313 and you must have less than $7280 in assets.  If you think you qualify, talk to a MMAP (Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program) counselor.  

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There is help available from a MMAP counselor.* 

MMAP offers information and assistance with plan comparisons and enrollment throughout the election period.  You can get help from a MMAP counselor by calling the MMAP assistance line at the Area Agency on Aging 1-B (800-803-7174).  

*MMAP Counselors are background checked, trained and certified by the State MMAP office and provide confidential unbiased information; they are not connected with any insurance company.  MMAP is the State Health Insurance assistance Program (SHIP) for Michigan. 

Scheduled Events for Washtenaw County:

  • Milan Senior Center  Thursday October 29,  9:30am - 3pm    

Call 734-508-6229 to reserve a spot. 

  • Washtenaw ISD Computer Lab - Ann Arbor     Wednesday November 11 OR Wednesday December 2,  10am - 7pm  

Call 800-852-7795 to reserve a spot.

  • Salem-South Lyon District Library Monday November 16, 10am - 2pm  

Call 800-852-7795 to reserve a spot.

If you can't make one of the above sessions, you can make an appointment at a partner site. Appointments are scheduled either by the host agency or by calling the Area Agency on Aging 1-B.  

Partner Sites where appointments are available in Washtenaw County:

  • Catholic Social Services - Ann Arbor  734-712-0523
  • Chelsea Senior Center - Chelsea  734-475-9242
  • Dexter Senior Center - Dexter  734-426-7737
  • Hope Clinic - Ypsilanti  800-852-7795
  • Jewish Family Services - Ann Arbor  800-852-7795
  • Salem- South Lyon District Library - South Lyon  800-852-7795
  • Saline Senior Center - Saline  734-429-9274
  • Turner Senior Wellness Program - Ann Arbor  734-764-2556
  • Washtenaw Health Plan - Ypsilanti  800-852-7795

It is confusing but there is help!  To get help, contact an agency or call MMAP directly.   Remember, most people can only change plans during Open Enrollment, October 15, 2015 to December 7, 2015.

And Wish Medicare a Happy Birthday!  

Medicare and Medicaid: keeping us healthy for 50 years

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law legislation that established the Medicare and Medicaid programs. For 50 years, these 2 programs have been protecting the health and well-being of millions of American families, saving lives, and improving the economic security of our nation.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Medicare bill at the Harry S. Truman library in 1965.       Source:  Truman Library

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Medicare bill at the Harry S. Truman library in 1965.       Source: Truman Library

Happy Autumn-  

M. Buhalis

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