Looking for help with your Medicare costs? A Medicare Savings Program in North Carolina might be a helpful option. It’s not uncommon for people to struggle with healthcare costs, especially for individuals on limited, fixed incomes. Medicare Savings Programs help alleviate some of the financial strain by providing assistance with Medicare premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance costs.
Today, we’ll explore the benefits of Medicare Savings Programs in North Carolina, who is eligible for them, and how to apply.
Eligibility Criteria for Medicare Savings Programs
There are four types of Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs). Each one offers a different level of financial assistance and has different eligibility requirements. The four programs include:
- Comprehensive Medicare-Aid (MQB-Q): Covers the Medicare Part A and Part B premiums, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance costs. Many people refer to this as “full Medicaid.”
- Limited Medicare-Aid (MQB-B): Provides assistance with the Medicare Part B premium.
- Limited Medicare-Aid Capped Enrollment (MQB-E): Pays the Part B premium but is only awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Medicare-Aid for Working Individuals with a Disability (MWD): Covers the Medicare Part A premium. We won’t discuss this program much as
Of course, not everyone will qualify for a Medicare Savings Program in North Carolina. The programs are restricted to people with limited incomes and assets. While the MSP is a federal program, individual states administer the MSP and often have different requirements. A person may qualify in one state and not qualify in another. In addition, qualifications usually change annually.
Currently, the monthly income limits for each program are as follows:
- MQB-Q: $1,133 for individuals or $1,526 per couple
- MQB-B: $1,359 for individuals or $1,831 per couple
- MQB-E: $1,529 for individuals or $2.060 per couple
- MWD: $2,265 for individuals or $3,052 per couple
In addition to income limitations, there are also asset limits for each program. Assets include your bank accounts, stocks, bonds, real estate (except your primary mortgage), etc.
Currently, the monthly asset limits for each program are as follows:
- MQB-Q: $8,400 for individuals or $12,600 per couple
- MQB-B: $8,400 for individuals or $12,600 per couple
- MQB-E: $8,400 for individuals or $12,600 per couple
- MQB-E: $4,000 for individuals or $6,000 per couple
How to Apply for the Medicare Savings Program in North Carolina
If you think you might be eligible for a Medicare Savings Program, it’s time to start the application process. To speed things up, you should start by gathering all the documentation you’ll need for the application. This includes proof of income (pay stubs, Social Security benefit letters, pension statements, etc.), proof of assets, and proof of North Carolina residency.
There are three ways to submit your application.
- Online at NCGOV.com.
- Paper application (downloaded online or requested by mail).
- In-person application at your local Social Security office.
Be sure to fill out all the information requested. This will help to avoid delays during the processing of your paperwork. It’s always a good idea to save a copy for yourself before you submit the application.
The time it takes to process your application depends on the volume of applications the state has received. Generally, it takes about one to two months. During this time, Social Security may call you to request additional documents or information. You’ll receive a written notice informing you of the decision. If approved, the notice will include which MSP you qualified for and the effective dates of your benefits. If denied, you can choose to go through the appeal process.
If your financial situation changes, you can reapply at any time. You’ll likely need to renew your enrollment in the program periodically. Social Security will reach out to you when it’s time to do so.
A Medicare Savings Program in North Carolina can greatly reduce the burden of healthcare costs for those who qualify. If you have questions about eligibility or how to apply for a Medicare Savings Program, contact your local Social Security office, or reach out to the experts at Carolina Senior Benefits.