Benefit Bulletin: January 2016

Benefit Bulletin: January 2016

Still Working Because You Can’t Afford Your Healthcare Costs?

Look Into Medicare Savings Programs

More people are working far longer into retirement than they ever thought they would, and healthcare costs are a major reason. In fact, according to a recent TSCL poll, healthcare costs are almost, or just, as challenging as housing costs for most people age 65 and over. These are two things that TSCL learned in recent interviews with a number of you who volunteered to discuss Social Security and Medicare issues of concern.

With no annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) this year, many of you are telling us that you will be forced to dig deeper into retirement resources, and some could even deplete retirement savings. Many Medicare enrollees wonder how they will afford the Part B deduction from their Social Security benefits.

If you depend on Social Security for most of your income, and have limited resources, you may be eligible to get help from your state to pay Medicare premiums and, in some cases, deductibles, coinsurance, and co-payments if your income is low enough.

If you have a monthly income up to $1,345 and resources of $7,280 (individuals) or $1,813 and resources of $10,930 (married couples), you may qualify for a Medicare Savings Program. When determining eligibility, your home, one car, a burial plot and up to $1,500 for burial expenses, furniture and other household items are NOT counted as resources.

Consider applying even if your income or resources are slightly higher than those listed here, because the income limits may vary. Contact your state Medicaid program to see if you qualify. In many areas you may contact your local department of senior services, or area agency on aging, for help.

TSCL appreciates those of you who agreed to take time to be interviewed and who volunteered to tell your stories to journalists. Please let us know how rising Medicare costs are affecting you this year by taking our 2016 Senior Survey.