Here we go again. I got an email today from Chris who wrote:
I just received a letter from Arizona AHCCCS stating that the Medicare Savings Program has not been funded by the U.S. Congress and beginning Jan. 1, 2013, Part B premiums will no longer be paid under the QMB Medicare Savings Program.
This letter also states: “While you will be responsible for your Part B premiums beginning January 2013, the premiums will not be deducted from your Social Security Payments for a few months…”.
The same letter went out to 12,500 people in Arizona last year around this time, but our esteemed-and-well-paid-representatives in Washington came to a year-end agreement to pass a bill that included funding for multiple programs. Funding for the Medicare Part B premium assistance was included in that bill and nobody lost their help.
Last year’s letter (December 2011) went like this:
You receive help paying your Medicare Part B premium through the Qualified Individual-1 (QI-1) program. Although AHCCCS determines eligibility for this program, it is funded 100% by the Federal government.
Your QI-1 benefits will end December 31, 2011 because Congress has not authorized any additional funding for the program.
You will be responsible for paying your Medicare Part B premiums beginning January 1, 2012
Just after that “happy holidays!” letter went out to people living on less than $1,246 per month, Congress passed a bill on December 23rd, 2011 to fund various programs, including the Medicare Saving Program. I wrote about this last year.
Now here we are on December 27th, 2012 and nothing has been passed to extend funding for 2013. Yikes! Hopefully our esteemed-and-well-paid-representatives in Washington will get back from yet-another-vacation and pass a damn bill!
In the meantime, I would say, “Don’t panic, things will get worked out”. I hope that is accurate advice.