If you have limited income and resources, you might qualify for help to pay for some health care and prescription drug costs. The U.S. Virgin Islands, Guqm, American Samoa, The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands provide their residents help with Medicare drug costs. This help is not the same same as the Extra Help described below.
You may qualify for Extra Help, also called the low-income subsidy (LIS), from Medicare to pay prescription drug costs if your yearly income and resources are below the following limits in 2010:
1) Single person–Income less than $16,245 and resources less than $12,510.
2) Married person living with a spouse and no other dependents–Income less than $21,855 and resources less than $25,010.
These amounts may change in 2011. You may qualify even if you have a higher income (for example if you still work, or if you live in specific provinces, or have dependents living with you). Resources include money in a checking or savings account, stocks, and bonds. Resources do not include your home, car, household items, burial plot, up to $1500 for burial expenses (per person), or life insurance policies.
If you qualify for Extra Help and join a Medicare Rx plan, you will get the following:
1) Help paying your Medicare drug plan’s monthly premium, any yearly deductible, coinsurance, and copayments.
2) No coverage gap.
3) No late enrollment penalty.
Automatic Extra Help
You automatically qualify for Extra Help if you have Medicare and meet on of these conditions:
1) You have full Medicaid coverage.
2) You get help from your state Medicaid program paying your Part B premiums (in a Medicare Savings Program).
3) You get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.