The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Columns

November 18, 2012

Charo Boyd: The hunt is afoot for Medicare Part D

Hunting season is open. But rather than hunting for game, may we recommend setting your sights for the Part D Medicare prescription drug plan that’s best for you? You’ll have more time than usual this year, because open season is lasting longer than usual.

If you currently are enrolled in Medicare and are considering changes to your Medicare Part D plan, act now. The “open season” runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.

The Medicare Part D prescription drug program is available to all Medicare beneficiaries to help with the cost of medications. Joining a Medicare prescription drug plan is voluntary, and participants pay an additional monthly premium for the coverage.

While all Medicare beneficiaries can participate in the prescription drug program, some people with limited income and resources also are eligible for Extra Help to pay for monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments. The Extra Help is estimated to be worth about $4,000 per year. Many people qualify for these big savings and don’t even know it.

To figure out whether you are eligible for the Extra Help, Social Security needs to know your income and the value of any savings, investments, and real estate (other than the home you live in). To qualify, you must be receiving Medicare and have:

  • Income limited to $16,755 for an individual or $22,695 for a married couple living together. Even if your annual income is higher, you still may be able to get some help with monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments. Some examples where your income may be higher include if you or your spouse: Support other family members who live with you; Have earnings from work; or Live in Alaska or Hawaii; and
  • Resources limited to $13,070 for an individual or $26,120 for a married couple living together. Resources include such things as bank accounts, stocks, and bonds. We do not count your house or car as resources.

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