: ‘It can really be a lifeline’: Medicare savings programs offer financial support for low-income people

by | Oct 9, 2023 | Stock Market

Maine recently expanded eligibility for the Medicare Savings Program, which offsets the costs of Medicare insurance premiums and helps low-income recipients. The Medicare Savings Program, which pays the costs of the premiums that would otherwise be deducted from recipients’ monthly Social Security benefits, is available in every state, but different criteria apply. The program is funded through Medicaid, the federal program operated by states using a blend of federal and state tax dollars.

The Medicare Savings Programs disproportionately serve beneficiaries in communities of color, beneficiaries under 65 with disabilities, and women, who tend to have lower incomes and modest savings, according to KFF, a health policy research group. “If you qualify, it’s valuable financial support,” said Juliette Cubanski, deputy director of the program on Medicare policy at KFF. “The savings can be hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. That could be the difference between getting the care you need or not getting it at all.” Under Maine’s new guidelines, eligibility expands to those earning up to 250% of the federal poverty level, or $36,450 for a single person, up from 185% of the poverty level. The new provisions also eliminated an asset test that had previously reduced eligibility for people with assets such as s …

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