You may want to find out if you qualify for Medicaid, if your income and assets are low enough. Medicaid helps many low-income people on Medicare with their Medicare premiums and cost-sharing requirements, and may also cover some benefits that are not covered by Medicare, such as dental services and long-term services and supports. To find out if you qualify, you can contact the State Medical Assistance Office or the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) in your state. SHIPs offer local, personalized counseling and assistance to people with Medicare and their families. You can call 877-839-2675 to get the phone number for the SHIP in your state.
If you do not qualify for Medicaid and you want to stay in traditional Medicare, you could try to switch to a less expensive Medigap policy. However, if you are applying for a Medigap policy outside your initial open enrollment period, then in most circumstances, insurance companies are allowed to deny your application based on medical underwriting or can charge you higher premiums. You can find more information about the Medigap plans available in your state by contacting your state’s health insurance department or your SHIP.
Another option could be to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare Advantage plans provide all benefits covered under Medicare Part A and Part B, but often have lower cost-sharing requirements than traditional Medicare. They also have limits on out-of-pocket spending, but include physician networks, which means that you will pay more if you see a provider out-of-network. Medicare Advantage plans may charge a premium in addition to the Part B monthly premium. For free assistance with understanding your options for supplemental coverage, contact your local SHIP.
Be aware that if you drop your Medigap policy to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, you may not be able to get it back or it may cost more if you change your mind later and want to switch back to traditional Medicare. Generally, you have a trial right period to get your Medigap policy back within the first 12 months that you join a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time if you decide to switch back to traditional Medicare.