If you are on Medicare, you may be charged co-pays. This means you pay 20% of all bills for doctor visits, hospitals, medications and equipment, plus your Social Security check may be lowered by about $130 per month to pay premiums.
Good news! You may have some options to escape all this.
Get Medicaid also. This is the best option, since it will usually pay all your co-pays, plus pay all your premiums, plus give you some additional services and benefits. For example, in some states it will give you dental and vision care (Medicare does not pay for this). In most areas it will give you free door-to-door transportation to doctors. It will also help you qualify for long term care, if you need an aide in your home.
If you got turned down for Medicaid program, or you got cut off from Medicaid when your Medicare started, don’t give up! Try a different Medicaid program.
Check out this list of Many Different Medicaid Programs You Can Apply For. People on Medicare can qualify for any of the different Medicaid programs listed below. Try looking into them all!
💮 Medicaid waivers
💮 Medicaid for Working Adults with Disabilities
💮 Medicaid for Aged, Blind or Disabled
💮 Medicaid waivers for Mental Illness
💮 Lowering countable income by purchasing Medicare Supplemental
Seriously, keep trying. Some people just call Medicaid and get told they are not eligible and give up! Don’t do that. How to Respond When You Are Told You Can’t Get Medicaid.
Instead, be like Pansy! Pansy is on Medicare and SSDI. She was repeatedly told she could not get Medicaid, but she didn’t listen. How Pansy Got on Medicaid By Being Smart, Scrappy & Persistent
Apply for SSI. If your SSDI check is below $755 per month and your other income and assets are low, you may be eligible to also collect SSI. This means you would automatically get Medicaid as well. To apply, call Social Security and request an SSI Interview
If you were turned down for SSI, or you think you are not eligible, look here: How to Apply for Disability When You are Told You Can’t Apply for Disability. And here: Ten Common Reasons SSI Might be Denied or Stopped
Sign up for a Medicare Savings Program. This is not as good as getting Medicaid, but it’s still pretty good, since this will pay for all your premiums. In some cases, it may also pay your deductibles and co-pays. Don’t get scared off by Medicare website, which, oddly, does not include the correct information about the financial criteria for all states. Instead, check out this actually accurate guide to Medicare Savings.
If the above options don’t work, you can look into:
- Cheaper prescriptions: See if you are eligible for Medicare Extra Help.
- If you have too much money for Medicare Extra Help, try: Medicare state pharmaceutical assistance
- Purchasing Medicare supplemental insurance. See SHIP program below.
- Cheaper doctors and hospitals: Check the Medicare Provider Directory and/or look for providers that “accept medicare assignment.”
- Cheaper medical supplies and equipment: Check the Medicare Supplier Directory and/or look for suppliers that “accept medicare assignment.”
- Cheap or free medications: How To Be Broke & Medicated
- Assistance with premiums and co-payments: Patient Services
- Co-payments for important medical treatments: The HealthWell Foundation
- Dental care: When You Can’t Afford to Go to the Dentist
- Lab tests: How to Get Free or Cheap Lab Tests
Many people report that the SHIP program was helpful to them in figuring out the best Medicare plan to use. The SHIP program will not know about and will not tell you about Medicaid regulations and many of the programs listed on this page, but they may be able to help you navigate Medicare in general, and select supplemental insurance plans you might like to purchase.
Updated January 2018. Please comment below with your questions, stories, input and ideas. Also: kindly let us know if any links on this page stop working. If you liked this page, please share with others by pressing one of these magic buttons: