The federal government says millions of Americans—about one in three people with Medicare—qualify for extra help with Medicare costs associated with prescription drug coverage. You could be one of them, but you have to apply to find out.
Depending on your income, resources, and other factors, you may be eligible for certain federal, state, and local programs that help with Medicare beneficiaries' medical costs. These programs include:
or call 1-800-MEDICARE. (1-800-633-4227); (TTY users call 1-866-653-4261) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you're not sure you qualify for help with prescription drug costs, go ahead and apply. There's no risk and no cost, so you might as well try!
You receive extra help with Medicare costs automatically if you have Medicare and also have:
Since you use the Internet, you have easy access to information that can help you select your plan. Make sure the plan you choose:
If the plan you're enrolled in doesn't meet your needs, you can switch to another one during the annual election period (Oct. 15–Dec. 7). Medicaid and PACE participants can change plans anytime. Medicare Savings Program and SSI participants may also change plans at any time. Your effective date will be the first day of the month after you switch plans.
It's estimated that a third of people with Medicare can get extra help with Medicare costs—but the government may not know if you're one of them! For that reason, it's a good idea to apply for extra help, even if you're not sure you qualify. With a quick visit to the Social Security Administration Website, you can find out if you're eligible and even apply online.
To see if you qualify, visit the Medicare section of the Social Security Administration Website, at www.ssa.gov. Click on the tab, Find Out if You Qualify, located at the bottom of the page, and then answers the questions listed in the application to find out if you qualify. Once you determine your eligibility, you can proceed to the Apply Now tab.
You can also obtain the simple, four-page application from your local Social Security office or by call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213, (TTY: 1-800-325-0778) Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
* It is important to remember that applying for extra help is NOT the same as joining a prescription drug plan. Whether you qualify for extra help or not, to get prescription drug coverage you have to choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage or a stand-alone prescription drug plan.
The amount of extra help varies based on your income and resources.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Toll-free phone: 1-800-633-4227
24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Social Security Administration
Toll-free phone: 1-800-772-1213
Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern time
Toll-free phone: 1 - 888 - 223 - 9950
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday - Friday
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