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DHS news release

Feb. 14, 2006


Contact: Tom Towslee (503) 947-5207
Program contact: Dale Marande (503) 945-6476

Low-income Medicare assistance program reopens

The Oregon Department of Human Services is reopening a federally funded program that helps low-income Oregonians pay for certain Medicare premiums.

The "QI-1" program pays the Medicare Part B premium for people with Medicare Part A and monthly income below 135 percent of the federal poverty level. That amounts to $1,123 for a single person or $1,505 for a couple. The program was closed April 1, 2004, when DHS exceeded its federal allocation.

A recent increase in the federal allocation means the department is able to reopen the program March 1, 2006. The program is 100 percent federally funded. Anyone interested in applying should contact the local Area Agency on Aging or Seniors and People with Disability office.

Clients eligible for the program also automatically get the extra assistance for their prescription costs in Medicare Part D, which means they will pay either $2 or $5 for their prescriptions. Currently there are approximately 4,000 clients in the program. The allocation increase creates room for 2,000 more.