How do I qualify for Medicare’s Extra Help?

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  • March 4, 2015

Q: How do I qualify for Medicare’s Extra Help Program?

A: For lower income beneficiaries, there may be help through Medicare’s Extra Help program. If you have difficulty paying for prescriptions, the Extra Help program can make prescriptions more affordable.

Your income and resources determine the level of help you receive. Generally, enrollees eligible for Extra Help in 2015 will pay $2.65 for each generic drug and $6.60 for brand-name drugs. Eligibility is limited to annual income of $17,505 for an individual and $23,595 for married couples.

In addition, resources must not exceed $13,440 for an individual and $26,860 for married couples. Resources do not include your car or home, but do include stocks, bonds, and bank accounts.

A recent law excludes some additional resources, making it easier for more seniors to get Extra Help: life insurance policies don’t count as resources, and neither does financial assistance you receive from friends or relatives to help pay your household expenses.

CMS estimates that up to 2 million Medicare enrollees may be eligible for Extra Help but not enrolled. If you think you might be eligible, apply online or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.