Saturday, October 27, 2012

Limited Income Subsidy

By Jean Moore

There are a variety of programs that are available through the centers of Medicare and Medicaid services that aim at helping those who are unable to afford medical services as well as treatment. The limited income subsidy program, which is a sub-program of the larger Medicare part D, helps individuals and families pay for prescription drug coverage. This program was started in 2005 and has been met with success in the past. In the past 7 years the program has grown and improved. There are still many critics who believe there is more improvement to be made as well as necessary cost cutting for the program.

The Medicare low-income subsidy program, also called "extra help" provides subsidies to help pay for additional portions of an individual's monthly Medicare premiums, or their annual Medicare deductible. In addition the program can also help to pay for part of, or potentially all of the costs related to prescription drug payments or co-payments. It is a program that is focused on helping low income individuals and families still be able to receive quality health care.

It is required that those taking advantage of this program mush be making below 135% of the poverty level in order to be able to get total coverage for their insurance premiums or annual deductibles. If an individual or family makes more than that amount, they still may be eligible to receive partial coverage to help offset the cost of care. Those who are enrolled in the program may still have to pay a small portion of what is owed towards prescription drugs, however the amount is very small and reasonable.

In order to be eligible for the program, an individual needs to have an income of less than $16,245 and resources that amount to less than $12,640. In the case that the individual is married, the combined income of the two must be less than $21,855 and the available resources less than $25,260. In order to determine these number many factors are taken into consideration including the cash within checking and savings accounts, retirement accounts, any stocks, bonds or mutual funds, life insurance policies, mortgages and properties that can be converted into cash under 20 days.

The other group of those enrolled has applied for and are now receiving coverage. Within the group of applicants for this program, more than 50% of the applications were denied, or chose not to participate in the program. In addition there is almost 20% of eligible individuals and families who do not take advantage of the program.

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