Many Medicare beneficiaries do not know that they can apply for the Extra Help program at any time throughout the year.
Saint Augustine, FL (PRWEB) June 15, 2012
Q1Medicare.com has recently updated their site with more information to help Medicare beneficiaries learn about qualifying for the 2012 Extra Help or Low-Income Subsidy program. The Medicare Part D Extra Help program provides assistance to people who are having financial difficulties and, based on a person’s income and financial resources, pays all or part of their monthly Medicare Part D plan premiums and a significant portion of their prescription drug costs.
Medicare beneficiaries eligible for Medicaid will automatically qualify for the Medicare Part D Extra Help program and do not need to apply for assistance. However, thousands of Medicare beneficiaries who may not meet the financial qualifications for Medicaid may still qualify for at least partial benefits from the 2012 Medicare Part D Extra Help program.
In fact, Medicare recently increased the Medicare Part D Extra Help program financial resource limits for both individuals and couples by 3.4%. Extra Help annual income limits for individuals increased by 2.6% and the annual income limit for couples increased 2.9%. Households with more than two persons can determine income requirements via the 2012 Federal Poverty Level Guidelines.
Although the Extra Help income limit increases do not match the 3.6% Social Security benefit increase that beneficiaries received in January, people who lost their Extra Help assistance due to the changes in the Social Security benefit are urged to re-apply now based on the new 2012 Extra Help qualification limits.
“Many Medicare beneficiaries do not know that they can apply for the Extra Help program at any time throughout the year,” notes Dr. Susan Johnson, Technical Director and co-founder of Q1Medicare.com. “And since a person’s financial status can change throughout the year, if at any point a person’s income and assets fall below the 2012 Extra Help limits and they qualify for Extra Help, they would continue to receive assistance with their Medicare Part D plan premiums and prescription costs for the remainder of the year, even if their income or assets were to rise above the established Extra Help limits later in the year."
To help people navigate the Extra Help program, Q1Medicare.com provides general Extra Help information at Q1Medicare.com/ExtraHelp, as well as information on specific topics such as “Calculating your income and resources”, “Correcting your LIS status”, “Medicaid ‘spend down’”, and “How to appeal the Social Security Administration’s decision on your Extra Help application”.
Medicare beneficiaries qualifying for the Medicare Part D Extra Help program are also reminded that they are entitled to a continuous Special Enrollment Period, providing beneficiaries with the opportunity to join or change their Medicare Part D prescription drug plan at any time during the plan year. In addition, Extra Help recipients are not subject to the Medicare Part D late-enrollment premium penalty.
Finally, to help full Low-Income Subsidy recipients find a prescription drug plan that qualifies for a $0 monthly premium, Q1Medicare.com provides their online PDP-Finder that can filter through Medicare Part D plans and only display plans qualifying for the $0 monthly premium. An example of the PDP-Finder showing all Medicare Part D prescription drug plans in California qualifying for the full Low-Income Subsidy $0 monthly premium can be found at Q1Medicare.com/ExtraHelp/CA.
The Q1Medicare.com Extra Help information and PDP-Finder are available at no cost and site users have the option to receive a copy of their Medicare plan finder results via email. Like all Q1Medicare.com tools, the Extra Help information and PDP-Finder are designed to be accessible on PC, smartphone, or tablet platforms.
About the Q1Medicare.com Website
Q1Medicare.com is one of the largest independent online resources for Medicare Part D prescription drug plan and Medicare Advantage plan information. Q1Medicare.com offers a large section of Frequently Asked Questions, online tools, and a free Medicare Part D Newsletter all designed to help Medicare beneficiaries, caregivers, advocates, advisers, and agents better understand the Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage programs. Q1Medicare.com is operated by Q1Group LLC (Saint Augustine, Florida).