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Medicare Assistance For Low-Income Beneficiaries

Washington DC, June 1, 2010 – More Medicare beneficiaries will qualify for “Extra Help” with their prescription drug costs, and be eligible to pay no more than $2.50 for generic drugs and $6.30 for each brand name drug thanks to changes to Medicare’s Low-Income Subsidy Program (also known as LIS or “Extra Help”) that take effect this year. These changes make it easier than ever for people on Medicare with limited incomes to save on their drug costs. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimates that “Extra Help” can save eligible Medicare beneficiaries as much as $3,900 per year.  It is estimated that more than 1.8 million people with Medicare may be eligible for “Extra Help,” but are not currently enrolled to take advantage of these savings.

There is no cost to apply for “Extra Help.” Medicare beneficiaries, family members, trusted counselors or caregivers can apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778) and ask for the Application for Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs.

Medicare beneficiaries can also receive assistance in their local communities from their

State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) online at www.medicare.gov/contacts/staticpages/ships.aspx.

The donut hole is the period in the prescription drug benefit in which beneficiaries generally pay 100 percent of the cost of their drugs until they hit the catastrophic coverage.  Beneficiaries who qualify for Medicare “Extra Help” do not have a donut hole.

These $250 checks will begin to get mailed out to eligible beneficiaries on June 10 and will be sent to beneficiaries soon after they enter the coverage gap.  For more information on how to get your rebate check, log on to http://www.medicare.gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/11464.pdf.

To learn more about Medicare prescription drug coverage, visit www.medicare.gov, or call  1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

To read the entire CMS press release issued today (6/4) in English and Spanish click here: https://www.cms.gov/apps/media/press_releases.asp

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