Uncle Sam provides low-cost prescription drug coverage for Medicare beneficiaries with limited incomes. But about 2 million people who are eligible for these savings — often worth thousands of dollars — have not applied, Medicare officials say.
See also: Medicare Part D coverage.
Under Part D's Extra Help program, you pay zero or reduced premiums and deductibles and low copayments for prescriptions. You qualify if your annual income is no more than $16,335 (if single) or $22,065 (if married) and your resources are worth no more than $12,640 (single) or $25,260 (married). Your home, cars and personal possessions do not count as resources.
Eligibility rules are more flexible than they used to be. "So if you were turned down for Extra Help in the past due to income or resource levels, you should reapply," says Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Don Berwick.
To apply, call 1-800-772-1213 or go to ssa.gov/pubs/10525.html.
Also of interest: Brand-name drug prices outstrip inflation. >>
Patricia Barry is a senior editor with the AARP Bulletin.