Phillips: Medicare extra helps pay for prescriptions

Phillips: Medicare extra helps pay for prescriptions

July 3rd, 2010 by Ellen Phillips in Business Ellen Phillips

With so many stories about "ObamaCare" rolling around, I found some great news with regards to extra help for certain Medicare participants.

According to, Medicare offers a program called Extra Help to assist with paying for prescription drugs if you have limited income and resources.

The program reduces or possibly even eliminates premiums, deductibles and copayments; plus, it can provide you with coverage the whole year. Even better, the plan assures us no worries about a doughnut hole as with traditional part D. I urge everyone to apply who meets the following:

* Currently a Medicare participant

* Annual income is less than $1,254 per month for an individual or less than $1.821 for a married couple living together

* Resources and assets less than $12,510 for singles or $25,010 for a married couple living together

* Income and asset limits may go up each subsequent year

Another great compo-

nent you don't have to worry about is counting the house in which you live, your vehicle, and personal possessions. They're free. Additionally, if you receive SSI (Medicaid supplemental income) or the state pays your Medicare premiums, you automatically qualify for the extra help program.

The sooner someone applies, the quicker he will determine eligibility. Apply one of the following ways:

* Call 1-800-772-1213. (Also, you may ask for a paper application at this time.)

* Mail the completed application to the Social Security Administration, Wilkes-Barre Data Operations Center, P.O. Box 1020, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18767-9910.

* Go online to

* Apply in person at your local SSA office.

Have a happy and safe July Fourth!

Ellen Phillips is a retired English teacher who has written two consumer-oriented books. Her Consumer Watch column appears on Saturdays in the Business section of the paper. An expanded version is at under Local Business. E-mail her at