More Seniors Are Eligible for Drug Benefit

February 17, 2010

In a new law coined the “extra help” program, which is being promoted by Chubby Checker, more than 1 million low-income seniors will be newly eligible for nearly $4000 in prescription drug assistance.

In a new law coined the “extra help” program, which is being promoted by Chubby Checker, more than 1 million low-income seniors will be newly eligible for nearly $4000 in prescription drug assistance.1

Enjoying this new benefit will be seniors with life insurance policies and those who regularly receive money from family members for living expenses who were previously disqualified because they had too much income or too many assets under the old law. The new law, or “the twist,” no longer requires the reporting of life insurance values or monetary help from family members; it also does not consider the value of homes or automobiles.

The income limits for the extra help program, also called the low-income subsidy, are $16,245 a year for single persons and $21,855 for married couples. In addition, total assets, such as stocks, bonds, and savings accounts, are limited to $12,510 for singles and $25,010 for couples.

Of the 32 million seniors who receive the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit, about 30% are enrolled in the extra help program. The benefits vary by income, but for many, the extra help program eliminates premiums and annual deductibles and requires a copayment of as little as $1.10 for generic drugs and $3.30 for brand-name medications.

Low-income seniors who were previously rejected for this benefit are encouraged to reapply.

References:

Reference
1. Ohlemacher S. Drug benefit expanded to 1 million more seniors. ABC News. January 8, 2010. http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=9509726. Accessed January 19, 2010.