Being able to afford prescription drugs is a common problem for America’s seniors.
Extra Help is a Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) that helps lower or eliminate Medicare Part D premiums and deductibles . It also caps out-of-pocket prescription costs like copays and coinsurance .
State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs can offer help but provides different services per state. Many states don’t participate in the program at all.
If you qualify for Extra Help but don’t have a Part D plan, the Limited Income NET can provide temporary drug coverage.
Are you an American senior struggling to afford your healthcare each month? Even with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D), prescription costs can be a burden to your monthly budget.
Fortunately, there are programs designed to help.
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Medical costs can add up quickly. If you need help with prescriptions, start by applying for the Medicare Extra Help program. This Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) can help lower, and even eliminate, your Part D monthly premium and deductible. It also can help with your at-the-counter costs by capping your copayments and coinsurance when you pick up your medications.
In 2024, Extra Help recipients will pay no more than:
- $4.50 for generic drugs.
- $11.20 for name-brand drugs.
Some recipients may be eligible to pay $0 for their medications.
Made specifically to help with prescription costs, the Medicare Part D LIS mainly considers income. In 2023, you were eligible if:
- Single and earning up to $21,870 in income with up to $16,600 in resources like money, stocks and bonds.
- You were married and made up to $29,580 and had up to $33,240 in resources.
- You lived in one of the 50 states or Washington D.C.
- You were a Medicare and Part D beneficiary.
The Medicare Extra Help LIS is a popular choice for Americans looking for help paying for their Medicare prescription plans.
How to Apply for Extra Help
If you’re a Medicare and Part D beneficiary, live in the United States and meet the income requirements, there are several ways to apply, including:
- Filling out an Extra Help application on the Social Security Administration website.
- Calling for Social Security Extra Help assistance at 1-800-772-1213.
Many people stop here when seeking out payment assistance, but there may be other resources available regardless of whether you qualify for the Extra Help LIS.
Medicare’s Limited Income Newly Eligible Transition program, also called the Limited Income NET, or LI NET, provides prescription access to seniors who have qualified for Medicare’s Extra Help LIS but not a Part D beneficiary. Enrolling in a Limited Income NET will give you two months of prescription coverage before you enroll in a Part D plan. If you don’t choose a program during that time, Social Security will enroll you.
The Medicare Limited Income NET also provides retroactive coverage for enrollees that have dual eligibility or Supplemental Security Income. In this case, your pharmacy coverage could span as far back as 36 months. If you missed your Part D Initial Enrollment Period, this may eliminate your late enrollment penalty.
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SPAPS are state-run programs that offer adults and seniors financial assistance with prescription costs. However, many states don’t participate in the prescription assistance program, so you’ll want to see what offerings are available in your state. Some may offer copay assistance programs and other prescription drug assistance, while others pick up the costs that Part D doesn’t.