People dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid

Mark: My disabled adult son is on Medicaid. He does not work. He recently switched from SSI [Supplemental Security Income] to SSDI [Social Security Disability Income]. We were told he will be automatically signed up for Medicare in about one year, but we are happy with Medicaid and don’t need Medicare, especially the Part B premium, which will diminish his benefit. I am reading that some states’ Medicaid programs will pay the part B premium. I also read that declining Part B could have negative consequences in the long term. What should we do?

Phil Moeller: If your son’s income is low enough, he would be dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, and Medicaid should pay for any Medicare expenses. I don’t know where you live, but as you probably know, the states have different Medicaid eligibility rules. So, I would first check with your state’s Medicaid office and see whether your son’s shift from SSI to SSDI will have any impact on his Medicaid eligibility. If you need help understanding your state’s Medicaid eligibility rules, I’d get in touch with a local office of the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), which provides free Medicare counseling.