Continental Health Alliance Blog

How to apply for Medicare Extra Help

How to apply for Medicare Extra HelpI’m sure I don’t have to tell you this, but prescription drugs are very expensive. Many people spend much of their time worrying about whether or not they can afford the drugs they need. The good news is that anyone with Medicare can get Medicare prescription drug coverage. What many aren’t aware of is the fact that some people with limited income and resources can apply for extra help. Medicare extra help can assist with monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments. The extra help can sometimes be worth up to $4000 a year; many qualify for extra help and don’t even know it. Surprise!

Qualifications:

  1. You must reside in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia.
  2. Your resources must be limited to $13,070 for an individual or $26,120 for a married couple living together. “Resources” refers to stocks, bonds, and bank accounts, but not a car, home, or life insurance policy.
  3. To apply, your income must be $16,755 or below as an individual, or $22,695 as a married couple living together. In some cases those above these marks may receive help if they support other family members that live with them, live in Hawaii or Alaska, or if they have earnings from work.

How to apply:

Applying for Medicare extra help is fairly simple. You can apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. If you would rather apply in-person you may apply at your local Social Security office. After reviewing your application Social Security will follow up with a letter to let you know if you qualify.

Those that are accepted receive either “partial” or “full” extra help. Either way, once accepted you will never pay full price for drugs that you are prescribed if they are purchased at the pharmacy in your plan’s network. If you reach catastrophic coverage, which kicks in at $6,733.75, you will pay even less. It’s comforting to know that there is help for the millions of people struggling with the cost of prescription drugs.

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