New Twist in Law Makes It Easier to Save on Medicare Drug Plan Costs

Posted on

Oct 27, 2015

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So what is this new twist all about?

Starting January 2010, a change in the law makes it easier to save on Medicare Drug Plan Costs. More Medicare beneficiaries could qualify for Extra Help with their Medicare prescription drug plan costs because some things no longer count as income and resources.

Anyone who has Medicare can get Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. Some people with limited income and resources are eligible for Extra Help to pay for the costs---monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription drug co-payments---related to a Medicare prescription drug plan.

To qualify for Extra Help:

You must reside in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia.
Your resources must be limited to $12,510 for an individual or $25,010 for a married couple living together. Resources include such things as bank accounts, stocks, and bonds. We do not count your house and car as resources; and
Your annual income must be limited to $16,245 for an individual or $21,855 for a married couple living together. Even if your annual income is higher, you still may be able to get some help. Some examples where your income may be higher are if you or your spouse:

Support other family members who live with you;

Have earnings from work; or

Live in Alaska or Hawaii.

Beginning January 1, 2010 when determining your eligibility for Extra Help:

We will no longer count as a resource any life insurance policy: and
We will no longer count as income the help you receive regularly from someone else to pay your household expensesfood, mortgage, rent, heating fuel or gas, electricity, water, and property taxes.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

If you already receive Extra Help, you will not need to reapply in 2010. Social Security will check to see if you are entitled to any additional Extra Help because we no longer count your life insurance or help with household expenses.

Beginning January 1, 2010, when you file your application for Extra Help, you also can start your application process for the Medicare Savings Programsstate programs that provide help with other Medicare costs. Social Security will send information to your state unless you tell us 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 income and resources 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 also may pay for Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) premiums, if any, and Part A and Part B deductibles and co-payments.

How Do I Apply for Extra Help?

Its easy to apply for Extra Help. You can apply at our website at You can also apply by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or by visiting your local Social Security office.

How long has been since youve done The Twist or seen Chubby Checker? When you visit our website at, you can watch his twist video and hear him explain how the new twist in the law works.

This article was submitted by Mickie Douglas

Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Salt Lake City, UT

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