Extra Help With Medicare Prescription Drug Costs

If you are currently enrolled in the Medicare program, you can get prescription drug coverage. People who have limited resources, including income, may also be eligible to get Extra Help to pay for the costs related to a Medicare prescription drug plan. This may include monthly premiums, prescription co-payments and annual deductibles. Extra Help is estimated to be worth around $4,900 per year. You may qualify for these savings and aren't even aware of it. To qualify to receive Extra Help for prescription drug costs:



How do I apply for Extra Help?

You can apply at your local office. To find one near you, use our Social Security office locator. After you apply, Social Security will review your application and send a letter to you to let you know if you qualify for Extra Help. Once you qualify, you can choose a Medicare prescription drug plan. If you don't select a plan, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will do it for you. The sooner you join a plan, the sooner you begin receiving benefits. If it is determined that you do not qualify for Extra Help, you may still be able to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan.


Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Penalty

If you don't enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan when you're first eligible, you may pay a late enrollment penalty if you join a plan later. You'll have to pay this penalty for as long as you have Medicare prescription drug coverage. However, you won't pay a penalty if you get Extra Help or another eligible prescription drug plan coverage.

Please note, The late enrollment penalty for the Medicare prescription drug plan is different than the Medicare Part B late enrollment penalty. If you are not enrolled in Part B when you are first eligible for it, you may then have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have the Part B coverage. You may also have to wait to enroll, which then will delay your Part B coverage.


Why should I apply for Extra Help online?

Their online application is secure and offers several advantages. It takes you through the process step-by-step with a series of self-help screens. The screens will tell you what information you need to complete the application and will guide you in answering the questions fully. You can apply from any computer. You can start and stop at any time during the process, so you can leave the application and go back later to update or complete any of the required information. They are careful to protect your personal information.


Can state agencies help with my Medicare costs?

When you file your application for Extra Help, you also can start your application process for the Medicare Savings Programs. These state programs provide help with other Medicare costs. Social Security will send information to your state unless you tell them not to on the Extra Help application. Your state will contact you to help you apply for a Medicare Savings Program.

These Medicare Savings Programs help people with limited resources and income pay for their Medicare expenses. The Medicare Savings Programs help pay for your Medicare Part B (medical insurance) premiums. For some people, the Medicare Savings Programs may also pay for Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) premiums, if any, and Part A and B deductibles and co-payments.

Medicaid or medical assistance is a joint Federal and state program that helps pay medical costs for some people who have limited resources and income. Each state has different rules about eligibility and applying for Medicaid. Contact your state Medicaid office for more information.