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by AARP Education & Outreach, AARP, December 1, 2009
You may already know that Medicare offers prescription-drug coverage through its provision called "Part D." But did you know that Medicare also offers Extra Help paying for your prescription drug costs if you have limited income and limited resources?
Extra Help can reduce or eliminate premiums, deductibles, and copayments, and can provide you with coverage all year long—with no doughnut hole. You could save a lot of money, possibly even thousands of dollars.
Who Should Apply for Extra Help?
You may qualify if you currently have Medicare and:
If you get Medicaid Supplement Security Income (SSI) or your state pays your Medicare premiums, you automatically qualify for Extra Help. You do not need to apply.
Additionally, if you…
a) Live in Alaska or Hawaii,
b) Provide more than half the financial support for a person living with you, or
c) Have earned income, such as wages
…you may have a higher income and still qualify for Extra Help.
When Should You Apply?
You can apply anytime. But the sooner you do, the sooner you will find out whether or not you are eligible for Extra Help. If you qualify, you still need to choose and sign up for a plan through Medicare Part D, but you will not have to pay a late-enrollment penalty.
How to Apply for Extra Help
Do you have a computer? If so, it is easy to apply online, and you have two options to do so:
If you prefer to apply over the phone or by mail, call, toll-free, 800-772-1213. You can also request a paper application when you call. Send your completed paper application to the following address:
Social Security Administration
Wilkes-Barre Data Operations Center
P.O. Box 1020
Wilkes-Barr, PA 18767-9910
Please note that paper applications are processed by computer, so using pencil or black pen speeds your answer.
To apply in person, check the blue pages of your phone book for the Social Security Office nearest you.
Enrolling in a Medicare Part D Drug Plan
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