“Extra Help” Offers Additional Assistance with Medicare Prescription Costs for Some

2019 news 4In the last edition of P&B eNews, Dr. Steven Burns offered valuable ideas for saving money on prescription drugs. An alert reader contacted us about a program available from the Social Security Administration called “Extra Help,” which may provide additional savings for those on Medicare. According to an article about the program at the SSA website, persons with limited resources and income may use Extra Help to pay for costs like monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments related to a Medicare prescription drug plan. The article says the additional assistance is estimated to be worth about $4,900 per year.

Qualifications for Extra Help

To qualify for the plan:

  • A person must reside in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia;
  • Personal resources (assets) are limited to $14,390 for an individual or $28,720 for a married couple living together. Resources include such things as bank accounts, stocks, and bonds. The government does not count a home, car, or any life insurance policy as resources; and
  • Annual income is limited to $18,735 for an individual or $25,365 for a married couple living together.

In some situations, even if annual income is higher, an individual may be eligible for assistance if they:

1. Support other family members who live with them;
2. Have earnings from work; or
3. Live in Alaska or Hawaii.

How to Apply

To learn more about Extra Help or to apply, visit this link at SSA.gov, phone them at 800-772-1213, or visit your local Social Security office.