More people qualify for help with Medicare Part B and D premiums


By Eileen Doherty | Colorado Gerontological Society

Social Security is the only source of income for 40 percent of Coloradoans. The average monthly Social Security income is $1,749. Individuals must pay the Medicare Part B premium of $165 and the Medicare Part D premium.

However, many individuals are eligible for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) to pay the Part B premiums and Extra Help to pay the Part D prescription drug premiums and co-pays. 

To be eligible for MSP, individuals must have less than $1,660 per month in income ($2,239 per month for a couple). Individuals must also have resources of less than $9,090 plus $1,500 in burial funds (couples must have less than $13,630 plus $3,000 in burial funds). Resources include cash, savings, investments, revocable burial plans and whole life insurance policies. Exempt resources include a home, car, term life insurance policy and an irrevocable burial plan.

Individuals are eligible for Extra Help if monthly income is less than $1,823 ($2,465 for a couple). Those eligible for Extra Help must have resources of less than $16,660 for one person ($33,240 for a married couple).

You can apply for MSP through Colorado PEAK online. A paper application may also be submitted to the Archuleta County Department of Human Services. Applications for Extra Help are made online or by visiting the Social Security Administration.

 Recently, county Departments of Human Services have mistakenly asked beneficiaries to sign a form agreeing to having a lien placed on their home if they apply for the MSP. This is inaccurate. Beneficiaries should not sign the form. 

If you have questions about how to apply for MSP, Extra Help or the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program, call (303) 333-3482 or (866) 880-4777 (Spanish). 

Eileen Doherty, MS is the executive director of the Colorado Gerontological Society.