Shards of Consciousness

Healthy Horizons

You’ve just reached 65 and have started receiving Medicare benefits. Finally, after a lifetime of insurance premiums, you are eligible to receive health benefits for only a low insurance premium. Sure, the premiums go up every year, but so does your Social Security check. Everything works out. Or so you thought, until your Social Security check doesn’t go up as fast your Medicare premium. Since 2002 the Medicare Part B premium has gone from $54.00 to $78.20 each month. This is a 44.8% increase over the past three years. This is still relatively inexpensive for all the benefits you receive, but not if you are on a very low income.

That’s why Pennsylvania has a program called Healthy Horizons. Administered by the state Department of Public Welfare, this program will help you with your Medicare premium payments if you fall within the financial guidelines, which are relatively liberal. Currently, a single person who makes less than $1077.00 each month, and has less than $4000.00 in assets should qualify to have the state pay their Medicare premium. If you make less than $798.00 each month, you may also qualify for Medical Assistance.

Medicare premiums are a health care expense and have been used in determining your rent. If you apply for, and receive this benefit, your rent will probably increase since your income has increased. However, you’ll still have more money in your pocket to get the things you need when everything is counted. So, if you think you may qualify to receive assistance under this program, see the Service Coordinator in your building. They can assist you in getting an application and help you complete it.

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