PA Medicare Education and Decision Insight (PA MEDI) program, formerly known as APPRISE, is the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for Pennsylvanians. PA MEDI Health Insurance Counselors can assist Medicare Beneficiaries in understanding their Medicare benefits and health insurance options. Aging is becoming increasingly complex, and living in a fast-paced society is not easy! Through the PA MEDI program, trained staff and volunteers can provide Counseling, Education and Outreach to assist you with your insurance-related needs!
ABCs of Medicare
Medicare is health insurance run by the Federal government for people age 65 or older, under age 65 with certain disabilities, and any age with End-Stage Renal Disease or ALS. The different parts of Medicare help cover specific services. Medicare Part A is hospital insurance, Medicare Part B is medical insurance, and Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage. Medicare Part A covers inpatient care while in a hospital, and Medicare B covers doctor services, outpatient care and some preventive services. Each part of Medicare has its own premiums, deductibles and coinsurances.
Medicare beneficiaries with limited income and assets may have options on how to get these costs reduced or eliminated. The PA MEDI program can explain these programs in easy-to-understand terms and in some cases, assist with enrollment.
Schedule an Appointment
To schedule an appointment with a Columbia-Montour PA MEDI counselor, please contact the Agency directly at 570-784-9272 or 1-800-598-5001. Phone appointments are also available.
PACE and PACENET
PACE and PACENET program helps to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors in Pennsylvania. Eligibility is based on income. Once eligible, individuals who qualify for PACE pay a $6.00 co-pay for generic medications and a $9.00 co-pay for brand name medications. PACENET copayments are $8.00 for generic and $15.00 for brand.
In order to qualify for PACE, an individual’s income cannot exceed $14,500, married couple cannot exceed $17,700. For PACENET, incomes are a bit higher. For individuals, income is between $14,500 and $27,500 and for a married couple between $17,700 and $35,500.
Income for both programs includes, but is not limited to gross Social Security (excluding Medicare Part B premium) and pensions, taxable IRAs and annuities, interest, dividends, capital gains, wages, rental and business income, worker’s compensation, unemployment compensation, gifts exceeding $300 and life insurance benefit payments exceeding $10,000. Assets are not considered as income.
Applications for both programs are available at our office or you can apply on-line at pacecares.magellanhealth.com
Other Programs (Information & Assistance)
Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program
Older Pennsylvanians may qualify for a rebate of up to $650. The amount of the rebate payments varies according to an individual’s income and the amount of rent or property taxes they paid. The program is funded by the Pennsylvania Lottery.
Applications for rebates must be filed with the Department of Revenue between January 1 and June 30 every year. The application forms and instructions may be obtained at the Columbia-Montour Aging Office, Inc., your local State Representative’s Office or on the PA Dept of Revenue’s website.
To qualify you must be aged 65 or older, a resident of Pennsylvania, have an annual income that does not exceed $15,000 (only 50% of your income from social security or railroad retirement benefits counts) and you must have paid rent or property taxes (even those who live in facilities or subsidized housing can qualify for the rebates.) The income limit for home owners is $35,000.
Should you need assistance completing the forms, the staff at the Columbia-Montour Aging Office, Inc. is available to help.
Reduced PA Driver Registration Fee
Retired residents of Pennsylvania may be eligible to register their automobile for a $10 fee instead of the usual $36. Any Pennsylvania resident who is retired and receiving social security or other pension and annuities that do not exceed $19,200 annually is eligible.
LIHEAP (Fuel Assistance)
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP, helps low-income families pay their heating bills. LIHEAP is a grant that offers assistance in the form of a cash grant, sent directly to the utility company, or a crisis grant for households in immediate danger of being without heat.
SNAP offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities. SNAP is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net. The Food and Nutrition Service works with State agencies, nutrition educators, and neighborhood and faith-based organizations to ensure that those eligible for nutrition assistance can make informed decisions about applying for the program and can access benefits. FNS also works with State partners and the retail community to improve program administration and ensure program integrity.
Consumer can apply for this program online via the COMPASS application.
Produce Vouchers or SFMNP Program
The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) awards grants to States, U.S. Territories, and federally recognized Indian tribal governments to provide low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for eligible foods (fruits, vegetables, honey, and fresh-cut herbs) at farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community-supported agriculture programs. This program typically runs from June to September.
The Office for Veterans Affairs (VA) provides services and assistance to veterans and their families. Programs include, but are not limited to:
- Disabled Veterans Real Estate Tax Exemption
- Veterans Emergency Assistance
- Educational Gratuity
- Blind Veterans Pension
- Paralyzed Veterans Pension
- Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans Benefit Act
- State Veterans Homes
For more information on all available programs, please visit Office of Veteran’s Affairs website.