Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Extra Help with your Medicare Prescription Costs

If you're on Medicare and need help with your prescription costs, you may qualify for Medicare Extra Help. It's a program that provides assistance with monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and co-payments related to the Medicare Prescription Drug program. To qualify for Extra Help, a person must have limited resources and income, and reside in one of the 50 States or the District of Columbia. You must also be enrolled in a Medicare Prescription Drug plan.

In 2016, those who qualify for Extra Help will pay no more than $2.95 for each generic prescription and $7.40 for each brand-name covered drug. Extra Help may also cover a portion of Medicare drug plan premiums and deductibles based on the beneficiary’s income level.
The Extra Help is estimated to be worth about $4,000 per year.

In general, you qualify for Extra Help in 2016 if:
• You are single and your income is less than $17,655.
• You are married, living with your spouse, and have an income less than $23,895.
• Your assets are below $13,640 for an individual or $27,250 for a married couple.

Counted toward your assets are such things as money you have in a checking or savings account, stocks and bonds. NOT counted toward your assets are your home, furniture or other household and personal items, one car, any life insurance policies, a burial plot and up to $1500 in burial expenses in you have put that money aside.

Applying for Extra Help is easy. You can apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to apply over the phone or to request an application. You can also apply in person at your local Social Security office.

Even if you do not qualify, by completing the application for Extra Help you will start your application process for other Medicare Savings Programs. Medicare will send information to the State of Ohio who will contact you to help you apply for a Medicare Savings Program unless you tell Medicare not to when you complete the application. If you prefer, you can contact your Medicaid Office or your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) directly for more information.

If none of the above options work for you, I suggest you talk to your doctor to see if there are alternatives to brand name drugs or generic drugs that will work for you. Also consider contacting your drug’s manufacturer to find out if they offer help with the cost of your prescriptions.

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