Help for Medicare Part B based on income

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DEAR SUN SPOTS: Thank you for the good you do for this area. I do not know what we would do without you!

Friends have told me that because my husband is a veteran and receives his health care from them that I can qualify for the state to pay my Part B Medicare. Is that true? If so there must be an income guideline right? Any information would be appreciated. — No Name via email

ANSWER: Sun Spots contacted the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to see if there was any program from the state relating to veteran status. She emailed with John A. Martins, the director in DHHS’ Public and Employee Communications, and he responded with this:

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“According to DHHS Office of Integrated Access and Support, the state has a program that can pay the Medicare Part B premium for those individuals who:

* “Are entitled to Medicare Part A

* “Meet Medicaid citizen and residency requirements

* “Have countable household income of $1678 if an individual, and $2,268 if married and living with their spouse.

“This program does not require you to be a recipient of VA benefits. If you are interested in this program, you should contact your local Office of Health and Human Services and ask to speak with and eligibility specialist.”

As for veteran benefits, from what Sun Spots could find online, there appears to be two different systems for health care for military personnel: TRICARE for active and retired military personnel and their families, and CHAMPVA for those with service-related disabilities and sometimes their families. (There are exceptions to these categories, of course; these are just in general.)

The only thing she found connecting Medicare and the VA was on the TRICARE eligibility website (http://tinyurl.com/6ybpxfc), where this statement appears:

“If entitled to premium-free Medicare Part A based on age, disability, or end-stage renal disease, the beneficiary must have Medicare Part B to keep TRICARE eligibility.”

Sun Spots couldn’t find anything about the VA paying for Medicare Part B. However, it is all very complicated and requires knowing more details about your personal situation (for example, branch of service) than Sun Spots had available. You may very well be eligible for some benefits from the VA. You will need to check directly with them.

If you want to do some online research, you can visit www.va.gov/hac/ for the VA’s Health Administration Center or www.tricare.mil, run by the Department of Defense.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Monmouth Academy will hold its 112th annual alumni reunion on Saturday, Aug. 6, at the Monmouth Academy gym starting at 10 a.m. Everyone who attended the academy is welcome to attend, please call or email me for more information. — Chriss Wight Hayden, haylit@exploremaine.com, 784-2568

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Our 4-H club, the Young Lucky Buckaroo Kids of Buckfield, is seeking donations of bottles. We are raising money to help the kids go to Bryant Pond 4-H camp and learning center this summer. The kids would really like to have the opportunity to experience camp for the first time. Anyone interested can drop off their bottles at Payne’s Redemption Center on Paris Hill in South Paris and tell them it is for the Young Lucky Buckaroo Kids 4-H. For more information or for us to pickup, call me at 336-3688. Thanks for your support. — Marie via email

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be e-mailed to sunspots@sunjournal.com.

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