Related Training & Materials
Frequently Asked Questions about Medicare Part A and B “Buy-in” : The main policy questions, & responses, submitted to CMS to date on the updated Manual for State Payment of Medicare Premiums released on September 8, 2020.
Five Key Policy Topics From the Updated Manual on State Payment of Medicare Premiums: CMS designed this webinar for state policy staff to introduce five key policy topics addressed in the updated Manual for State Payment of Medicare Premiums released on September 8, 2020.
Overview of the CMS State Buy-In File Exchange: A webinar, with associated slides, available as a resource to support states moving to daily exchange submission.
Are There Resource Limits
The short answer is yes.
Your income and resources both need to fall below a certain amount in order for you to qualify for Extra Help. Resources are things like savings accounts, stocks, IRAs, bonds, and real estate thats not your primary home.
Your home, your car, and any valuables you own dont count as resources. Medicare also wont count large payments, such as the payout from a life insurance policy or a tax refund.
To qualify in 2021, your resources cant exceed $14,790 as an individual. If youre married, you need to have combined resources of less than $29,520 to qualify.
Ways To Reduce Your Medicare Premiums
There are many ways you can reduce your Medicare premiums. Almost everyone pays a premium for Part B, Part D, Medigap, vision, dental, and hearing. All those premiums can add up, but there are ways to save money, whether youre already on Medicare or signing up for the first time. Below, well share five ways you can reduce your Medicare premiums.
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You Deserve A Top Agent
With over 2 million real estate agents in the United States, its not easy deciding who to trust when buying or selling a home.
A top real estate agent will set and negotiate the best price for your property and help you thoroughly understand the local real estate market.
Theyll quickly respond to your needs, help you find listings in and around Suffolk before theyre public, mind every little detail, and earn your respect for life.
Whether youre selling your current property or buying your dream home, well help you find the top agent you need.
What Do Real Estate Agents Charge
Real estate agents typically dont charge a set rate to their clients, but rather earn a commission on the price of the final home sale. In traditional real estate, there is a buyers agent and a sellers agent. The two agents receive 5 percent to 6 percent of the final home sale price and split it evenly, meaning they each earn roughly 2.5 percent to 3 percent of the total home sale. If you are a home seller, you may have fees associated with the sale that are above and beyond the commission the agents earn. The real estate agent may have you pay marketing fees, MLS fees, early cancellation fees, or more. Always ask pricing details before signing a contract so you clearly understand your financial obligations. Here are some of the average costs that can arise when selling a home:
- Home inspection: $200-$350 or more, depending on region.
- Home appraisal: $250-$400 or more, depending on region.
- Professional real estate photography: $275-$550 or more, depending on photographer, square footage of house, and special requests like sunset shots.
- Closing costs: Often split between the seller and buyer. An average range for the buyer to pay is between 3 percent and 4 percent, with the seller paying a lower fee at 1 percent to 3 percent of the homes price.
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Deduct Your Medicare Premiums From Your Taxes
One of the most common questions we get from ourpolicyholders here at Boomer Benefits is: Are Medicare premiums taxdeductible?
Yes, Medicare premiums can be deducted from taxes in theright circumstances. if you have had enough medical expenses to file anitemized deduction for medical expenses on your Form 1040.
In fact, most health insurance premiums, including Medicaresupplement premiums, too, can qualify for a Schedule A deduction on your 1040,but only IF your medical spending in that year is over a certain threshold. Thismeans you have to have had enough total medical expenses to file an itemizeddeduction on your Form 1040.
In 2021, you must have total qualifying expenses that exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income. Keep this in mind during years where you have more medical usage than others, and mention it to your accountant or CPA when preparing to file your IRS tax return.
Self-employed individuals may be able to deduct 100% of their premiums check with your CPA or accountant for more information if you work for yourself or own your own company.
How To Pay Your Medicare Premium
You can pay your Medicare premium in several ways.
This info on how to pay your Medicare premium is from the Medicare.gov website:
If you get Social Security, Railroad Retirement Board benefits, or Civil Service benefits, your Medicare Part B premium will get deducted from your benefit payment. If you dont get these benefit payments and you sign up for Part B, youll get a bill called a Notice of Medicare Premium Payment Due .
There are 4 ways to pay your Medicare premium:
Medicare Premium Collection CenterP.O. Box 790355St. Louis, MO 63179-0355
OTHER SITUATIONS THAT DETERMINE HOW YOU PAY YOUR MEDICARE PREMIUM:
RRB, Medicare Premium PaymentsSt. Louis, MO 63197-9000
If youre a Civil Service retiree and NOT entitled to Social Security:
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Manual For State Payment Of Medicare Premiums
On September 8, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released an updated version of the Manual for State Payment of Medicare Premiums . The manual updates information and instructions to states on federal policy, operations, and systems concerning the payment of Medicare Parts A and B premiums for individuals dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. The update to the manual is part of CMS Better Care for Dually Eligible Individuals Strategic Initiative aimed at improving quality, reducing costs, and improving customer experiences.
The prior version of this manual had not been fully updated since the 1990s. The updated manual clarifies various provisions of statute, regulation, and operations that have evolved over time. We redesigned the manual content to make it easier for states to discern federal requirements and find information, compliant with federal accessibility standards and fully available online for the first time.
The manual is part of the CMS Manual System, specifically Pub. 100-24. It is divided into the following sections:
We Partner With Agents From Over 3000 Brokerages
Agent Pronto is an independent service that works with agents across many different brokerages.
Over 80% of real estate firms are independent. We search local neighborhood and boutique brokerages, as well as larger firms like Century 21, RE/MAX, and Keller Williams, to find the best agent for you.
Regardless of the brokerage or its size, were committed to finding you the perfect Suffolk area agent to assist in buying your next home or selling your current one.
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Help Paying Medicare Prescription Drug Premiums
You may be able to get help with Medicare premiums for your prescription drug coverage through the Part D Low-Income Subsidy program, also called Extra Help. You are automatically eligible for LIS if you qualify for the QMB, SLMB, or QI program. You will most likely receive 100% assistance in paying your Part D premiums if you qualify for Extra Help, according to My Medicare Matters. The LIS program offers three levels of help based on your income and resources. The fewer income and resources you have, the more assistance you can get. You may qualify if your income and resources are equal to or less than these limits.
What Should You Look For In A Real Estate Agent
When youre hiring a real estate agent you want to find a qualified pro who can negotiate the best deal for your home whether youre buying or selling. Reading reviews will help you weed out obvious bad operators you want to work with someone who treats their clients with fairness and respect. That said, you also want someone who can play hardball and maximize your real estate deal. Ask for references from recent clients, and be sure to call them.
Experts encourage you to interview more than one prospective real estate agent before hiring. A home sale or home purchase is a big deal sometimes the biggest deal in a persons life and you want to find an agent who will work hard for you. In todays market, having a real estate agent who is social media savvy and has an attractive online presence is critical. Ask the agent how they plan to market your house. Review their listings, and ask yourself if they have professional photos with homes that are professionally staged. If the answer is no, they might not have the marketing savvy youre looking for. Ask what price they would list your house at and why. Pay attention to how they communicate with you during your initial interviewing phase. Are they too busy to respond for several days? Are they clear and helpful? This information is a clue to how theyll engage during the entire process.
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How To Get A Medicare Part B Give Back Plan
To get a Part B premium reduction plan, you must be enrolled in Part A and Part B. You must also not be accepting government assistance that pays part of the Part B premium already. But, if you dont qualify for a give-back plan, there are plenty of plan options on the market.
Its important to compare Medicare Advantage & Medigap before enrolling in either option. Many beneficiaries are unaware of the many limitations that come with Advantage plans. A Part B reduction may not be worth the additional cost-sharing.
Medicare Advantage With Part B Premium Reduction
Whether you decide to enroll in a Medicare Supplement or aMedicare Advantage plan, you must first be enrolled in both Medicare Parts Aand B. That means that you are paying for Part B every month even if you enrollin a low-premium Medicare Advantage plan.
In some states though, particularly in Florida, there aresome Medicare Advantage plans that not only have a zero-premium, but also offeryou a Part B premium reduction.
The way this works is that the Advantage plan pays for a portion of your Part B premiums. For example, if you enrolled in an Advantage plan with a $60 monthly Part B premium reduction, then instead of paying $148.50 for Part B, you would pay only $88.50/month for that calendar year.
Be aware that this reduction amount is subject to change each year, so it could be that the reduction amount increases or decreases in subsequent years. I say this to make sure that you are aware you should choose a Medicare Advantage plan that really fits you in all the other ways.
It needs to have your doctors in the network and your drugs in the formulary list. But if you can find one that has all the right features and benefits and also reduces your Part B premium, then thats a win-win.
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How Do I Apply Extra Help
You can apply for Extra Help in a few different ways.
One of the quickest ways is to apply online. The SSA has an online application you can use to get started right away. You can also mail in your application.
If you need assistance with your application you can:
- Apply by phone at 800-772-1213 or 800-325-0778. You can call Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
- Apply at your local Social Security office.
- Apply at your local Medicaid office. This option is only available if you qualify for Medicaid.
No matter how you apply, youll need to be prepared to give the SSA information about your finances. This can include:
- recent pay stubs
- bank statements, including for any savings accounts
- stock certificates or investment statements
- information about your pension
- recent tax returns
Once your application is approved, youll need to enroll in a Part D plan. Medicare considers your approval for Extra Help a qualifying event for a special enrollment period, so you dont need to wait for a standard enrollment period.
This means you can select a Part D plan as soon as your Extra Help is approved. You can shop for Part D plans directly on the Medicare website.
You dont need to apply separately if youre already enrolled in Medicaid, an MSP that pays your Part B premiums, or in SSI. In these cases, youll be automatically enrolled in Extra Help when you join a Part D plan.
Qualified Disabled And Working Individuals Program
The final type of Medicare Savings program is the QDWI program, which helps working people with disabilities pay their Medicare Part A premiums.
One particular group it helps is those who no longer qualify for premium-free Part A because theyve gone back to work. However, any working disabled person under age 65 can participate.
This program has the highest monthly income limits of the four: $4,339 for an individual and $5,833 for a couple. It also has the lowest asset limits: just $4,000 for an individual and $6,000 for a couple.
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What Does Medicare Part D Cover
Original Medicare doesnt include coverage for prescription drugs. Instead, Part A covers hospital stays and other inpatient care, while Part B covers medical expenses like emergency care, doctors visits, and equipment.
A separate Part D plan helps beneficiaries cover the cost of their prescriptions. Part D plans are offered by private insurance companies and have their own premiums, deductibles, and copayments.
The Part D plan available to you will depend on your state. Its important to compare plans closely. Many plans have a network and work only with certain pharmacies.
Plus, Part D plans have what is called a formulary. This is a list of drugs covered by the plan. If a prescription you need isnt on a plans formulary, that plan isnt a good fit for you.
The Medicare website allows you to enter your current pharmacy and medications when you shop for plans, so youll see only plans thatll work for you.
Other programs that may help you pay for Medicare and healthcare costs
If Your Income Has Gone Down
If your income has gone down due to any of the following situations, and the change makes a difference in the income level we consider, contact us to explain that you have new information and may need a new decision about your income-related monthly adjustment amount:
- You married, divorced, or became widowed.
- You or your spouse stopped working or reduced your work hours.
- You or your spouse lost income-producing property because of a disaster or other event beyond your control.
- You or your spouse experienced a scheduled cessation, termination, or reorganization of an employers pension plan.
- You or your spouse received a settlement from an employer or former employer because of the employers closure, bankruptcy, or reorganization.
If any of the above applies to you, we need to see documentation verifying the event and the reduction in your income. The documentation you provide should relate to the event and may include a death certificate, a letter from your employer about your retirement, or something similar. If you filed a federal income tax return for the year in question, you need to show us your signed copy of the return. Use Form Medicare Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount Life-Changing Event to report a major life-changing event. If your income has gone down, you may also use Form SSA-44 to request a reduction in your income-related monthly adjustment amount.
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Know The Different Enrollment Periods
You can manage your premium costs better if you know when you can enroll in Medicare and when you can change plans. Your Initial Enrollment Period is the best time to sign up for Parts B and D to avoid the late enrollment penalty.
As soon as your Part B coverage starts, you have a one-time opportunity to enroll in a Medigap plan without having to answer questions about your health. If you try to join a Medigap plan at another time, health issues can raise your premium. There are also yearly opportunities to change your advantage or Part D plans. These give you a chance to compare options and choose one with a lower cost.