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Monday, November 29, 2021  

Seniors Can Take Advantage of Additional BenefitsPublished 9/19/2005

Oftentimes, benefits are not used because seniors are unaware of the benefits. Sometimes the applications are cumbersome and bureaucrats want "private" information.

The federal government has increased the income guidelines for low income Medicare beneficiaries who may be eligible for the three programs covered under the Medicare Savings Program, namely the Qualified Medicare Benefit, Special Low Income Benefit Program, and Qualifying Individual program.

For all of these programs, the individual can not have more than $4000 in resources (Couple $6000).

Under the Qualified Medicare Benefit Program, Medicaid will pay for the monthly Medicare Part B premium of $78.20, the Part A deductible of $912 and the Part B deductible of $110, and the 20% co-payment for Medicare Part B services. An individual’s income must be less than $818 per month ($1090 for a couple).

Although the benefits are limited to coverage of the Medicare Part B premium of $78.20 amounting to almost $900 per year, individual’s whose income is less than $977 ($1303 for a couple) may be eligible for the Special Low Income Medicare Benefit. Similarly, individual’s whose income is less than $1097 ($1464 for a couple) may be eligible for the Qualifying Individual program.

To qualify for LEAP, the individual must make less than $1435 per month ($1926 for a couple) with no resource limitations. Utility assistance will be available again on November 1, 2005.

Selected counties in Colorado are participating in a three-year evaporative cooling demonstration program for elderly and disabled persons. Individuals whose monthly income is less than $1435 per month ($1926 for a couple) with no resources limitations may be eligible for a swamp cooler or an air conditioner if they reside in a building that does not contain operational air conditioning or evaporative cooling.

Individuals must be at risk from a medical condition or a medication that is exacerbated by the heat. To be eligible, individuals must live in Denver, Jefferson, Pueblo, Bent, Baca, Custer, Prowers, Kiowa, Las Animas, Crowley, Huerfano, and Otero counties. Approximately 750 units are available.

In addition, the agency that is responsible for installing the cooling device can assist with draining the units in the fall and restarting them in the spring. Year-around referrals from community agencies are accepted. Referral agents must demonstrate the cooling equipment is essential to preserve the seniors’ health and/or prevent future health problems.

Another under-utilized program by seniors is the Property Tax, Rent and Heat Rebate program. Individual’s whose monthly income is less than $916 ($1225 for a couple) are eligible for a rebate on property tax, rent and heat. There are no resource requirements. Individuals can apply for the 2003 rebate until December 31, 2005 and the 2004 rebate until December 31, 2006. Individuals who live in tax-exempt buildings are not eligible. Some municipalities have similar programs.

Persons who receive Old Age Pension, Supplemental Security Income, Aid to the Blind or Aid to the Needy Disabled are also eligible for telephone assistance. Through the Lifeline program, the State of Colorado will pay $15.65 per month for telephone services for individuals who have a home phone. (This benefit is not available for cell phones). If the individual moves, the State will pay 50% of the line-connection fee for telephone installation.

Another benefit which people have been reluctant to use is the $450 in prescription drug benefits through the Medicare Prescription Drug Discount Card. Individuals must have an income between $605 and $1047 per month ($1405 for a couple). The application fee is waived and the individual is responsible for 5-10% co-pay depending on their income. Some pharmaceutical companies cover additional drugs after the initial purchase of $450 in prescriptions.

Express Scripts is offering a new mail order pharmaceutical program for generic drugs. With a script from the physician, individuals can receive a six-month supply of selected generic drugs for only $18. There are no income or resource requirements.

For assistance or application forms with any of these programs, call 303-333-3482 or visit our website to get the forms at www.senioranswers.org

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