Need help with Medicare costs? Move to Connecticut!

I’m in Connecticut visiting friends and family and enjoying the cool rain. A friend who is on Medicare was bemoaning her high drug costs and going into the donut hole, so I did a little research to see if she could qualify for help from the state of Connecticut. I was shocked by what I found.

While most states use standard income levels (up to 135% of the federal poverty level) to determine if a person should get help with their Medicare costs, Connecticut will help people who have nearly twice the standard limit.

Income of $1,246 per month for an individual and $1,675 for a couple is generally the cut-off for getting your state to pay your Part B premium ($96 – $115.40 per month). The income limit in Connecticut is $2,091 for an individual and $2,816 for a couple. And Connecticut does not consider assets a person has such as bank accounts, investments, or retirement accounts. They only look at  a person’s income, so people who live on their Social Security check would likely qualify for help from the state of Connecticut.

If my friend qualifies for help from the state of Connecticut, the state will inform Social Security that she also qualifies for help with her Part D costs.  When this goes into her Medicare record, she will pay $6.30 for her brand drugs and $2.50 for generics, which is the help she really needs.  And she will have no donut hole in her Part D coverage, saving her thousands of dollars each year.

Now, before you decide to move to Connecticut, I must warn you that my home state is an expensive place to live.  My friend had mail from a Medicare supplement company and I was shocked to see that the cost of a Medigap Plan F  is $220 per month for a person turning 65 in Connecticut. That is $100 more than the cost in Arizona for the same coverage with the same company.

Medicare Advantage plans are also more expensive in Connecticut. My friend is enrolled in an Advantage plan for which she pays $110 per month – though it offers much better coverage than $0 premium plans in Arizona.  And we won’t even talk about property taxes, which are three to five times higher than in Arizona.

Maybe, when I’m 65, I’ll buy a Medicare supplement in Arizona and spend my summers in Connecticut – though I can probably only afford a single-wide trailer at Connecticut prices.

For more info on getting help with Medicare and Part D costs, check out a previous post: Help with Medicare Costs

Folks in Connecticut should contact an Agency on Aging for more info and an application.  Here is a link to a web site that provides phone numbers for offices across the state.  http://www.ctagenciesonaging.org/pages/home.php

I came across a website for Connecticut elder services and found an application there – but the application was four pages and asked for lots of info. Turns out that is an old, out-of-date application.  The new application is just two pages.  I used the link above and talked to a very nice lady in Norwich who sent my friend the correct application for the Medicare Savings Program.

 

 

 

What Next?

Related Articles

10 Responses to "Need help with Medicare costs? Move to Connecticut!"

  1. With reform in place, what are the primary Part D considerations for employers? http://www.healthcaretownhall.com/?p=3175

  2. Mike says:

    Whats odd about this article is that the title is completely misleading. When push comes to shove, Connecticut is just shy of the national average when it comes to medicare costs. And income of $1,246 per month is an outrageously low number.

    Let’s say you don’t make the cutoff and don’t get help. According to HealthView Services, if you live in CT, are 55, retire at 65, live to 90, fully healthy, earn $85k or less per year, and want full medical coverage, you can expect to pay roughly $476,250 out of pocket throughout retirement.

    That is roughly $1,600 per month over 25 years! 

    This same person, if they were living in Arizona, could expect to pay roughly $481,500 out of pocket throughout retirement. 

    A difference of $5,000! Not as much as the person leads it on to be. Between flights back and forth and increased living expenses, the $5,000 is a wash.

    This article is misleading based on the fact that its looking at the lowest income earners and if you have a low income and don’t have help, you still have to pay outrageous amounts.

    Learn more at http://www.hvsfinancial.com or http://www.medicare.gov

  3. heather says:

    Plans vary widely across the states.  Some plans are often the least expensive in one state, while in another they may not even be competitive.  We recommend working with a broker.  They can shop the market and get you the best rates. 
    Good Luck
    Heather

  4. medicareblogger says:

    What is odd about your comment is that you seem to be talking about apples while I wrote about oranges.  I looked briefly at your company website, and the huge numbers for health care costs seem to be based on people who are going to be very sickly in their old age.  In fact, many seniors are generally healthy and don’t take drugs other than generics. And a person with a Plan F Medicare supplement gets 100% coverage for their medical bills between Medicare and the supplement.

    You seem to have misread what I wrote about about Connecticut’s cut-off level for people to get help with their Medicare premium and drug costs.  Because it is an expensive place to live, Connecticut will help seniors who have a much higher income than the standard $1,246 used by just about every other state. I do agree with you that this is a low limit for help, but that’s what seniors have to deal with – except in Connecticut.

    I have a feeling you are targeting people who actually have $500,000 to spend on their health care. I haven’t met very many people who fall into that category – or who need your fancy financial planning services. But I’m sure that people who do have money, and want to protect that money, would find your services to be of interest.

  5. Question:
    If a person qualifies for having Connecticut pay for there Part B premium and ” the state will inform Social Security that she also qualifies for help with her Part D costs”…
    …wouldn’t the person still be required to prove eligibility for help with Part D costs (Low Income Subsidy LIS) by showing their assets are under the Federal requirement (for 2011: single = $12,640 married= $25,260)?

  6. Sorry, misspelt website: <a href=”http://coloradomedicaremedigap.com”>Colorado Medicare Medigap</a>

  7. medicareblogger says:

    If a person applies for the low income subsidy through Social Security, there are asset limits as you describe.  Most states also have these same asset limits when reviewing applications for help through the Medicare Savings Program.
     
    However, several states do not look at assets.  They are: Connecticut, Alabama, Arizona, New York, Vermont, Delaware, Maine, Mississippi – and Washington, DC.

    When these states approve a person for the Medicare Savings Program (and so will pay the Medicare Part B premium), the info goes by computer to Social Security and by-passes the Social Security asset check. Social Security doesn’t do any review of the person’s assets. I’m pretty sure I have seen in the Medicare.gov or SSA.gov websites where they suggest people go through their state for help, and the asset by-pass is one reason to take the state route.
     
    I have helped many people in Arizona fill out and submit the state paperwork, and they all got the Low Income Subsidy help with Part D.

  8. Clash of philosophies. Who best to solve our problems- government or private business. Govt is not the answer. Give private business and its citizens the tools to thrive and all will be well. From jobs to healthcare.

  9. medicareblogger says:

    The United States is the only developed country with a for-profit health care system. This means our system is inefficient and expensive. Medicare has administrative costs that equal 2 – 3% of the total budget. Insurance companies’ admin costs are 20 – 24% and include profits.  Is that a good deal for the American people?

    In the U.S. we spend 17% of our GDP on heath care and leave 40 million citizens out of the system.  European countries spend 7 – 12% of the GDP and cover all their citizens.  The U.S. is #16 or #17 in the ranking of health care systems – behind Costa Rica.

    It is clear that our system is broken and it is because it is for-profit.  Insurance companies should be paid to administer the payment systems for health care, as is the case with Medicare and Tricare.  But we can’t afford to continue the system as it currently exists. Well, I guess we can (and probably will) continue the current system because Americans don’t seem to mind spending 20-25% more for their health care and health insurance than folks in other countries.

  10. medicareblogger says:

    One more thing:  I found a post I wrote a year ago that shows that Arizona is a much less expensive state when it comes to Medicare spending.

    Kaiser Health News has an interactive map that provides these numbers throughout the country. Here are some examples of how Tucson and Phoenix compare to other locations.

    Medicare Spending per Enrollee per yr

    Tucson
    $ 7,684

    Phoenix
    $ 8,230

    Connecticut
    $ 9,222

    Ft Lauderdale, FL
    $10,365

    Long Island, NY
    $11,399

    New Mexico
    $ 6,851

    Eugene, OR
    $6,370

Leave a Reply

Submit Comment