I can’t afford Medicare Part B. What can I do?


Q. I turned 66 last December. I have Medicare Part A but I cannot afford Part B. What do people do when they cannot afford this premium?
— Cash poor

A. We’re sorry to hear that you’re having financial troubles.

Medicare may cover many healthcare services, but as you know, it isn’t free.

If you are not eligible for full Medicaid to work alongside your Medicare coverage, there can be some relief given to you regarding Medicare Part B premiums, said Altair Gobo, a certified financial planner with U.S. Financial Services in Fairfield.

The Medicare Savings Program (MSP) can pay for Medicare Part A and B premiums, deductibles, co-insurance and copays for those with limited income and assets, he said.

There are four types of Medicare Savings Programs, each having different requirements, he said.

“Although these are Medicare benefits, eligibility for MSP is determined by the state Medicaid office, since funding for the MSP comes from the Medicaid program,” he said. “If you are eligible for Medicare Part A and your income and assets are at or below, you may qualify for MSP.”

The four types of MSP that provide assistance with the cost of Medicare coverage are:
· Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB)
· Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB)
· Qualifying Individual (QI-1)
· Qualified Disabled and Working Individual Program (QDWI)

You should contact the New Jersey State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) or the state’s Medicare agency to determine if the MSPs can assist you in paying for your Part B Medicare.

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This story was originally published on Sept. 23, 2021. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.