How to Escape Medicare Fees

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Robin Mead

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.

Option #1

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.

Option #2

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

Option #3

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

Option #4

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

Option #5

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.

Option #6

If the above options don’t work, you can look into:

Learn More

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: 

6 thoughts on “How to Escape Medicare Fees”

  1. This page has been so very helpful. Do you have any plans on expanding your Medicare section? Assistance for finding affordable secondary insurance plans if Medicaid only covers the Part B premium and navigating the rest of what Medicare covers?

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    1. Hi Gigi,

      So glad it helped. I do not know more about Medicare plans, but I’ve met people who said calling a SHIP counselor was very helpful with figuring out this kind of thing ❤

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  2. Super “How To”‘s! If I am eligible for Medicare (because eligible for SSDI), do I have to accept Medicare (or can I just stay on my private Insurance)?

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    1. I don’t know a lot in this area. I believe there is a way to decline the medicare, but then want to get the medicare later there may be a penalty.

      If your private insurance is through the ACA Marketplace, you may lose eligibility for it if your income goes down below the minimum, so that might be another thing to look into.

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  3. I am on Social Security disability. I have called in applied for assistance for medical they told me I had to meet a $500 deductible before they could help I have to live on $1,200 a month after insurance paid. I had a bad Dental problem that caused an abscess and had to have the tooth extracted $600 now if I pay $500 of it I have $600 left to pay my rent food and everything how is this possible I’ve applied for assistance for everything they say I make too much money any ideas

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    1. Hi Patricia,

      Are you already on medicare and you were trying to get on medicaid?

      If that is what happened, they are giving you the information for a medicaid spend down program. That is the worst medicaid program and it leaves people impoverished. You don’t want that program.

      Please see links above. There are many other ways people find to get medicaid and avoid spend downs.

      Another option is to get on a medicare savings program. that won’t pay for dental, but it will pay your co-pays. Again, links are above.

      There are also some ideas for dental here: https://howtogeton.wordpress.com/2017/08/11/how-to-go-to-the-dentist-when-you-cant-afford-to-go-to-the-dentist/

      You also might want to double check and make sure medicaid covers dental for adults in your state. in some states it does not.

      I hope it goes well for you. ❤

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