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How to Get Medicare Extra Help

medicare-extra-help-how-to

Some individuals need help with the costs of healthcare even within Medicare. Medicare costs may vary based on income and there are programs in place that offer help.

Medicare’s Extra Help Program

Extra Help assists with the cost of prescription drug coverage under Medicare. The program sets standard costs for all generic and name-brand prescription drugs. Depending on income level, the program may also cover the premiums and deductibles in Medicare Prescription Drug plans, sometimes called Part D plans.

If you have full Medicaid coverage, are enrolled in a Medicare Savings Program, or receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you should automatically be eligible for Extra Help.

Applying for Medicare Extra Help

You can apply for Extra Help online through the Social Security Administration (SSA). If you don’t wish to complete the application online, you can contact SSA via phone (1-800-772-1213) and request a paper application.

To complete the application, you’ll need a number of documents, including your Social Security Card, bank statements, and tax returns. Qualification for the program is dependent on your current income and resources, so you can always apply for Extra Help again, even if you weren’t previously eligible.

Using Extra Help

Qualifying for Extra Help doesn’t enroll you in a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, also known as Part D. Part D plans are offered by private insurance companies that are contracted with the federal government, and enrollment must be completed separately from the Medicare Extra Help application.

Part D plans are specific to your geographic area, as determined by zip code and county. Unlike most Medicare enrollments, joining, dropping, or changing Medicare Prescription Drug Plans can be completed at any time if you have Extra Help. Learn more about Medicare Extra Help and Special Enrollment.

For assistance finding a good-fit Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, you can call our Medicare Advocates at 1-800-991-4407 / TTY 711, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

Other Financial Assistance Options

Extra Help isn’t the only way to get assistance with healthcare costs under Medicare. You can be dually-eligible for both Medicare, based mostly on age and paying into Social Security, and Medicaid, based on income. The two programs combined cover most medical costs through Medicare Savings Programs. If you’re not certain about your Medicaid eligibility, research Medicaid in your state. Medicaid programs, including eligibility and applications, are entirely state-specific. Learn more about dual-eligibility.