By Christina Finkle

First, let me tell you what Medicare Part D Extra Help is. It is a program within Medicare that assists you with the cost of your Part D prescription drug plan by paying costs associated with things like your annual drug deductible, monthly premiums, and prescription co-payments and coinsurance. Many people do not realize that they qualify for Medicare Part D Extra Help, and if you are not new to Medicare, Social Security is not going to inform you of the new income guidelines. I will!

2019 qualification guidelines are as follows:

1) You must be enrolled in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
2) You must reside in one of the 50 states or District of Columbia.
3) Your ANNUAL income must be less than $18,210.00 for an individual or $26,690.00 for a married couple living together. (Individuals or couples with higher incomes may still qualify for assistance if you or your spouse support other family members who live with you, have work related earnings or live in Hawaii or Alaska.)
4) Your resources cannot exceed $9,060.00 for an individual or $28,150.00 for a married couple living together to receive FULL extra help. For PARTIAL extra help the resource limits are: $14,100.00 for an individual or $28,150 for a married couple living together. (Resources include: bank accounts, stocks & bonds. They DO NOT include: your home, car, or life insurance policies)

Those of you that qualify for FULL extra help in 2019 will pay no more than $3.40 for a generic drug (or brand name treated as a generic) and $8.50 for any other brand name drug.

If you qualify for PARTIAL extra help, you will pay no more than 15% of the cost of the drugs on your plans formulary or the plan copay, whichever is less, until you reach the out of pocket maximum. Most people who qualify for extra help also pay nothing, or a reduced amount, for their monthly plan premium and annual deductible.

How can you apply?

1. You can apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp
2. Calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 and apply over the phone or request an application be mailed to you
3. Apply at your local Social Security office
If you have more questions regarding this program or need help in applying, feel free to email me at s.o.s.seniorsolutions@gmail.com.

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