I have never had Blue Cross I don't think. Now I am 65 and need help with prescriptions and my glasses haven't been changed for almost 5 years. My old age pension is only $276.00 a month and I can't afford anything although it seems a lot is going wrong over the past 5 years or so. I am in fairly good health, but I am on medication for high blood pressure and recently I was diagnosed with Graves disease and because of the hard labor I did all my life ie., roofing and heavy construction work, my back goes out of place a couple times a year and I end up paying for my chiropractic visits out of my pocket.
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Most Lions clubs help people with eyeglasses or can refer you to one of their clubs that does. However, there are lots of people in the country who are so hard up they don't have regular eye exams and wear the same glasses for years. The same goes for dental work. I don't know of any place that helps with chiropractor visits. There again there are lots of people that have to go without that kind of help.
When you say your old age pension, do you mean social security or is this a pension from when you were employed? If it is an actual pension are you old enough to apply for social security, however from what I understand when a person starts receiving soc. sec. it is based on the amount of their pension.
Also check with your social security office and see if you can get SSI (supplemental security income). Even people on social security can get that if their benefits are small enough. If you can get SSI, depending on where you live, you can also get medicaid, which will give you some help with medication, eyeglasses, dental work and chiropractors.
Also if you are 65 you should be on medicare, which will help you with doctors and then there is medicare part D which helps with medication. You should also be on food stamps. If you aren't go to you Social Services office and apply.
How are you paying your rent/mortgage? You could also apply for a light, part time job, greeting, even doing some stocking in a store. I see men that can barely walk working in stores where I live. If you have an Experience Works! office in your area go there and they will help you find some kind of part time work. They are strictly for senior citizens.
If you are a veteran, contact the nearest VA facility. Contact your local agency on aging. They can help you find assistance for many things.
We have to assume you've already applied for Social Security and Medicare, since you are 65. If you make less than $25,000 a year, call Medicare, at the very least you may qualify for something called 'Low Income Subsidy', which means that they will pay for your monthly Part D (drug insurance) plus will pay your co-pays for meds that Medicare doesn't pay, plus you won't have a 'donut hole' where you have to pay for meds after you reach a certain point.
The people at Medicare are very, very nice on the phone and they've answered many questions when I didn't understand something. They guided us to things, too, where we didn't qualify at the time, but it was good to know so we could pass the info on to others who did.
Also, Google about the program that people sign up for through the DHS office called QMB (Qualified Medicare Beneficiary). You may very well qualify for that, if you are single and make under something like $900 a month or married to someone also 65 and made under $1,200 a month (I'm not sure about that, it was a long time ago that I read about the amounts, but I think it's close to that) which would pay for your Medicare insurance monthly for you, plus they may also (depending on income) provide you with a Medicaid card which will fill in for what Medicare doesn't pay.
QMB has different levels that people can qualify for, some only pay your Medicare monthly insurance, some pay for pretty much everything. Each state has different amounts to qualify, some states let you make quite a lot, I think, one state was something like over $2,000 a month.
My husband is on Medicare now, and they do pay for visits to the eye doctor for prescriptions. He went not long ago. I think they pay about 80% of the visit, you pay 20%, unless you have supplemental insurance (which we highly recommend for people 65 to apply for AT 65, because if you don't buy it now and want it later, they can deny you because of health problems).
After you get your prescription, you can buy your eyeglasses online at ZenniOptical for very low prices, starting at something like $12 for a decent frame with single-vision lens, going up to around $45 for progressives, or about half way in between for regular bifocals. This is more-or-less-amounts, as there's a lot of options. If you're not sure about how to order online, get your prescription and call them, they're quite nice also.
I may not have all my amounts exactly right on to what they are today, it's been a long while since looking into all this before my husband went on Medicare and I had no idea WHAT various programs were or how people qualified. I remember thinking one would practically have to have a master's degree to figure it out, and I don't, lol... BUT if you call around to the toll-free numbers of places mentioned, you can generally find someone who'll help you.
One last thing, call your Area Agency on Aging or a senior center and ask for someone who might can help you figure it all out, they've been through it before. And remember, you worked hard all your life and every paycheck, they held out for Social Security and Medicare for your future, and you can now benefit from it, that's what it was FOR. Don't let the difficulty of getting it all figured out stop you. It frustrated me a lot, but am thankful for it being there for us. As it turned out, we only qualified for help with my husband's meds, but when you're retired, ill, and on a very tight income, that's VITAL.
Hi Laurence, I have several suggestions for you.
1- If you aren't eligible for Social Security yet, you might be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance, if your back problems and Graves Disease are serious enough that you can't work. SSDI is available to anyone who can't work, at any age. Check with a SS office about that.
2 - If your prescription medicines are expensive and not available as generics, check to see if the manufacturer(s) of your medicine(s) have Patient Assistance Programs. Many drug companies have Patient Assistance Programs, through which they will supply medicines for free to people who have fallen on hard times and meet the requirements. I made some phone calls to inquire about the programs, downloaded the proper forms, and submitted the forms with supporting documents. As a result, I am receiving all 3 of my brand-name medicines for free for a year. You can usually continue after one year by re-applying.
You will need to contact each drug manufacturer individually, and each one has different requirements. Google the manufacturer, or Google "patient assistance programs" and you will be on the way toward possibly saving a good deal of money. This website is also a good place to check: www.pparx.org
3 - If your medicines are generic, stores like Walgreens, Target, Costco and WalMart have plans through which you can get generics for $4 for a one month supply, or $10 for a 3 months supply. Even some supermarket pharmacies have plans like this. Some charge a one-time membership fee, but then rebate it to you in the form of coupons for a future purchase. See if stores in your area offer these.
4 - To save money, it may be possible to have your doctor write your Rx for extra pills or for a higher dose which you can split in half, thus doubling your savings. For instance, one of my brand name drugs comes in 16 mg and 32 mg and is taken once a day. At the pharmacy, it's the same price for either dose. My doctor prescribed 16 mg a day for me, but writes the Rx for 32 mg. I get a 90 day supply, but I split the pills in half. Thus I have a 180 day supply for the same price. Another, generic, medicine I take 2x a day, but she writes the Rx for 3x a day; I get one-third more pills for the same price. See if this can be done with any of your medicines.
5 - You might be able to get a low cost eye exam at a walk-in clinic, or teaching hospital if there is one in your area. Once you get your glasses prescription you could get glasses through mail order very cheaply from a website called Eyebuydirect.com. Frames and simple Rx glasses, complete, start as low as $6.95 a pair. I recently bought a pair for $26.95, and got another $14.95 pair for free on a BOGO deal, plus $5.95 shipping. The glasses are perfect, and I couldn't be happier with them. Be sure to get the Pupillary (pupil-to-pupil) Distance measurement from the Optician, in addition to your other prescription info. For $32.60, I got 2 great pairs of glasses for less than the cost of my previous pair, which came from a local store, and which fell apart after 2 years. If you want to send me a message at ThriftyFun with your name and email address, I can send you an invitation through EyeBuyDirect that will give you $5 off your first order. I don't work for them! - I'm just a happy customer!
6 - See if you might be eligible for Medicaid by contacting your county's social services department. You should be able to get dental and medical care through Medicaid at low or no cost, possibly even vision care.
If you were asking about Blue Cross, as it is mentioned, you will find that it is not something that will help you. Blue Cross will not cover you for any service or condition that you have when you apply for it - for any pre-existing condition. Group plans by Blue Cross will, but it seems as if you are not eligible for a group plan.
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