| Tue, Jan 31, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

You May Qualify for Help Paying Your Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Costs

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

medicare-prescription-drug-coverage-for-seniorsIt’s no secret that health care costs are on the rise, especially the cost of prescription drugs. But what may not be well known is that financial help exists to reduce the impact on your wallet.

Making ends meet should not mean going without your medications. If you are enrolled in a Medicare prescription drug (Part D) plan and meet certain income and asset limits, you may qualify for Extra Help from Medicare.

Extra Help is a program that helps pay the costs of Medicare prescription drug coverage, like Part D plan premiums, deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance. In 2017, for example, people with Extra Help will pay no more than:

  • $3.30 for each covered generic drug
  • $8.25 for each covered brand-name drug

Do You Qualify?

You must meet certain income and asset guidelines to qualify for Extra Help. These guidelines change every year. You can visit Medicare.gov for current qualification guidelines.

Keep in mind that even if your annual income is higher than the guidelines, you may still qualify for some Extra Help. And if you were previously turned down for Extra Help, it’s important to reapply if your income level or financial situation has changed.

Resources that count toward your assets include money in a checking or savings account, stocks and bonds.

Resources that don’t count toward your total include:

  • Your home
  • One car
  • Burial plot
  • Up to $1,500 for burial expenses if you have put that money aside
  • Furniture
  • Other household and personal items

You may automatically qualify for Extra Help if you have Medicare and:

  • You’re enrolled in Medicaid
  • You collect Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • You get help from your state Medicaid program paying your Part B premiums through a Medicare Savings Program (MSP)

How to Apply

To determine if you could be eligible for help with prescription drug costs, Social Security needs information about your (and your spouse’s, if married and living together) income and resources.

Before you apply, make sure you have the information you need ahead of time. You can then apply for Extra Help one of three ways:

  • Apply online at gov
  • Visit a Social Security office in your community
  • Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778)

Social Security will send a written notice telling you whether or not you qualify for the program.

Please note: The Extra Help application process does not sign you up with a prescription drug plan. You need to find a plan in your area and enroll separately. The sooner you join a plan the sooner you can begin receiving benefits. If you already have a Part D prescription drug plan, then you need to let the plan know if you have qualified for Extra Help.

Other Ways to Lower Drug Costs

If you don’t qualify for Extra Help, your state may have programs that can help pay your prescription drug costs. Contact your Medicaid office or your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for more information.


Do your homework to find ways you can save on prescription drug coverage, and then apply for Extra Help to see if you qualify to take advantage of it. Remember, you can reapply for Extra Help at any time if your income and resources change.

Related Content

Medicare Costs Got You Down? You May Qualify for Financial Help

4 Assistance Programs that Could Help Pay Your Medicare Costs

For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.


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