With the reductions to the NYS EPIC program, the Chautauqua County Office for the Aging has received many calls from seniors looking for ways to reduce their health insurance costs. EPIC still offers benefits to eligible seniors; possible payment of the monthly Medicare D premium and lower co-pays on prescriptions through the Medicare D coverage gap (or donut hole). Good changes to the EPIC program appear to be on the horizon but for now many are struggling to pay the deductibles and larger co-pays that are associated with their Medicare Drug plan.
There is a program available that may assist seniors in reducing their monthly health insurance costs. The Medicare Savings Program will pay the monthly Medicare Part B premium for eligible Medicare beneficiaries. There is an income guideline but no resource limit. Medicare beneficiaries with monthly gross incomes below $1257 plus $20 (for single applicants) or $1702 plus $20 (for couples) can apply for this program at any time.
Individuals applying for the Medicare Savings Program may apply through a mail-in process. A personal interview is not required. Documentation must be submitted along with your signed application.
If you are eligible you would receive the $99.90 put back into your social security check. $99.90 is the amount of the Medicare B premium for most individuals. This amounts to $1,198 per year. Not only would you receive this benefit but you would also qualify for the Extra Help (Low Income Subsidy) program. This would provide you with a package of benefits that would lower your prescription drug costs regarding co-pays, premiums and deductibles.
This is an offer you can't refuse. Applications and information regarding details, recertifying, etc., for the Medicare Savings Program and EPIC are available at the Chautauqua County Office for the Aging Senior Service Offices. Phone numbers for the offices are 661-8940 (Jamestown), 363-3865 (Dunkirk) and 753-4471 (Mayville).