Extra Helps make Medicare prescription plan easier
The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Provider Act will bring changes to current laws starting January 1, 2010. It will make it easier for people to qualify for Extra Help with their Medicare prescription drug plan. The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Provider Act states the following:
- We will no longer count as a resource any life insurance policy; and
- We will no longer count as income the help you receive regularly form someone else to pay your household expenses i.e. food, mortgage, rent, heating, electricity, water and property taxes.
The Extra Help program can provide up to $3,900 a year to pay for monthly premiums, annual deductibles or prescriptions that are related to the Medicare prescription drug plan. Although this can provide extra funds to pay for needed prescriptions, it does not change the basic resource and income limits.
You will still have some guidelines. If you are single a individual your resources would be limited to $12,510. If you are a married couple your resources are $25,010. The new guidelines may make it possible for your life insurance not to count as part of your resources, which would make you eligible for Extra Help.
Here is an example that the Social Security Administration give of eligibility:
George and Diana are married and live together. They gave life insurance worth $2,500. Their remaining resources are $24,000, for a total resources level of $26,500. Their annual income is $21.000--below the eligibility limit for a married couple living together. George and Diana should not apply for Extra Help now, but should apply after January 1, 2010, when the law changes, the life insurance will no longer count against their resources. Their total resources will then be $24,000, making then eligible for Extra Help at that time.
You should also know that if you know you are going to qualify you can also apply for the Medicare Savings Programs. This can help people with limited income pay for their Medicare expenses.