The Part D benefit provides financial assistance known as Extra Help to those with limited income and assets. If you are eligible for Extra Help, your Part D premiums, deductibles and copayments can be eliminated or significantly reduced. About one-third of all Medicare beneficiaries are likely to be eligible for the low-income subsidy. The Social Security Administration estimates that this Extra Help could be worth an average of $4,900 per year. The National Committee strongly encourages all seniors who think they might be eligible for Extra Help to apply for this valuable assistance with their drug expenses.
To be eligible for Extra Help you must be enrolled in Medicare and have limited income and assets. Medicare Part D provides different levels of financial assistance based on income and asset limits. In general, you are eligible for some type of assistance if your income is less than $18,735 for an individual and $25,365 for a couple, and your assets are less than $14,390 for an individual and $28,720 for a couple, including allowed burial expenses. Generally, income such as wages, earnings from self-employment, Social Security benefits and pension payments count for the purpose of determining eligibility for Extra Help. Examples of income that does not count include income tax refunds and housing assistance. Examples of assets that count toward determining eligibility for Extra Help include stocks, bonds and savings bonds. The home you live in and the land it is on, family heirlooms, wedding or engagement rings and life insurance policies do not count as assets. These amounts may increase in 2020. If your income and resources are slightly higher, you should still apply.
If you think you may qualify for the Extra Help program, you should call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or visit socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp to apply online to complete an application. SSA will send you a letter to let you know if you qualify for Extra Help.