Program pays for Medicare premiums

Published 7:27 pm Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Elderly and disabled Chilton County residents currently on Medicare may qualify for assistance in paying for their monthly Medicare Part B premiums, the Alabama Medicaid Agency announced.

The agency is once again accepting applications for the Qualifying Individual-1 program, or QI-1 program, after a two-year shortage of federal funds prevented the state from allowing new applicants.

Because applications are taken on a first-come, first-served basis, those who qualify are advised to apply now.

“I would encourage people to apply as soon as possible,” said Kelly Flick, director of programs for the Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging (M4A). “It doesn’t cost anything to apply, and if they are accepted it will pay for their Medicare premiums.”

The QI-1 program pays the monthly Medicare Part B premium of $110.50 and is available to Medicare Part A recipients whose income does not exceed $1,239 per month for an individual or $1,660 for a couple and who are not otherwise eligible for Medicaid.

Medicaid Part B helps to cover medically-necessary services like doctors’ services, outpatient care, home health services and other medical services. It also covers some preventive services.

There is an annual cap on the amount of money available to the state for QI-1, which limits the number of people who can receive the benefit. There are currently about 10,386 Alabama residents benefiting from the program.

“Those who have had it in the past will need to re-apply,” Flick pointed out.

For more information, call M4A at 1-866-570-2998.