It may seem that residents of Maryland may not have too much trouble with health insurance, as it is ranked 1st among the richest US states. Expectedly, Maryland also has the lowest poverty rate. However, 10.1% of the Maryland population lives below the poverty level, and they may not be able to afford the cost of health insurance. In Maryland, the average cost of premiums is $501. However, some programs can offer more affordable coverage, and one of the most popular options is Maryland Medicare Insurance.
Medicare is a federal program that provides health coverage for people over the age of 65, although workers with disabilities may be eligible as well. The state also offers several programs that assist Medicare beneficiaries.
At its core is Original Medicare, which is comprised of Medicare Part A and Part B. Medicare Part A covers hospital insurance, which includes inpatient hospital or psychiatric care. Medicare Part B focuses on medical treatments, preventive services such as screenings, and medically necessary durable supplies.
Premiums may be required for both Medicare Part A and Part B, although in general it is not needed for Medicare Part A. Both aspects of Original Medicare also have out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments.
Medicare Advantage Plans are available from private health insurance carriers, which have been approved by Medicare. These plans offer additional coverage for services that are not covered by Original Medicare. Also, they include all the coverage that both Medicare Part A and Part B offer. This is also known as Medicare Part C.
Other Medicare beneficiaries may choose to purchase supplemental plans, and these can add more coverage to what is already contained in Original Medicare. These Medicare supplemental plans may add new healthcare services to cover, or they may cover the cost of deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. These supplemental plans may require payment of additional premiums, on top of the premium for Medicare Part B or even Part A.
One common supplemental plan is Medicare Plan D, which covers the cost of prescription medication.
Even in Maryland, some residents may have trouble paying for Medicare premiums. Maryland Medicaid offers 4 Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) with varying levels of Medicare assistance. The level of assistance depends greatly on the applicant’s income and assets.
The Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program (QMB) covers the full amount of all the Medicare premiums for Medicare Part A and Part B, and it also covers the deductibles and copays. An individual can qualify with a monthly income of less than $1,032. For a married couple, the limit for their combined income is $1,392 per month.
The next program covers the premium for Medicare Part B, and this is for the Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB). The monthly income limit for an individual is $1,234 while for the married couple it is $1,666.
The program for Qualified Individuals (QI) also covers Medicare Part B premiums, and it has a more accessible income limit. However, it may have more limited funding, so applications to the QI program are granted on a “first come, first served” basis. QIs must also apply every year, and priority is given to QI beneficiaries of the previous year. Qualified Individuals must have an income of no more than $1,386 while a married couple should earn less than $1,872 a month.
These 3 MSPs (QMB, SLMB, and QI) also have an asset limit requirement. For an individual, it is $7,560 while the assets of a married couple cannot exceed $11,340.
There’s another MSP for Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals, and this pays for the premium of Medicare Part A. This applies to applicants under the age of 65 who are working with disabilities, and who had lost their premium-free Medicare Part A when they went back to work. An individual can qualify with a monthly income of less than $4,132 and an asset total of less than $4,000. For married couples, the combined income limit is $5,572 a month, and the assets cannot exceed $6,000 in value.
Another program that may be considered is the Extra Help Program, which subsidizes the cost of Medicare Part D. Individuals can qualify with an income of less than $18,090 per year and assets of less than $13,820. Married couples are limited to a combined annual income of $24,360 and assets totaling less than $27,600.
This is the State Health Insurance Program that Maryland runs to provide information, answers, and counseling concerning Medicare issues. They provide assistance either through the telephone or in one-on-one sessions.
Speak to a licensed agent today