Q1Medicare.com Reminds Low-Income Medicare Part D Beneficiaries That They May Need to Reapply for 2013 Extra-Help Benefits

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Q1Medicare.com reminds low-income Medicare Part D beneficiaries that they may need to reapply for their 2013 Extra Help benefits. Starting in September, both the Social Security Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be sending letters to some Medicare beneficiaries who will need to re-qualify for their financial assistance through the Medicare Part D Extra-Help program. Beneficiaries may have only a limited time period to return the required documents otherwise they risk losing their 2013 Extra Help benefits.

To help people learn about the Extra Help program and qualifying for Extra Help, we have added more information online about the recently updated income and resource limit changes that can be found at Q1Medicare.com/LIS.

Q1Medicare.com reminds low-income Medicare Part D beneficiaries that they may need to act soon in order to continue receiving Medicare Part D financial “Extra Help” benefits in 2013. Starting in early-September, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Social Security Administration will be sending out letters to some Medicare beneficiaries regarding the status of their Medicare Part D Extra Help benefits. If Medicare beneficiaries do not respond to these government mailings, they risk losing their Extra Help benefits for 2013.

Extra Help is a federal program assisting low-income Medicare beneficiaries pay a portion of their Medicare prescription drug costs. Based on a person’s income and financial resources, the Extra Help program pays all or part of a person’s monthly Medicare Part D plan premiums and a significant portion of the beneficiary’s medication costs. More information on the Extra Help drug co-payments can be found at: Q1Medicare.com/2013#FPL100. People qualifying for Extra Help will also pay either a low or no initial deductible and will not be subject to the Coverage Gap or Doughnut Hole portion of their Medicare Part D plan. Extra Help recipients are also granted a continuous Special Enrollment Period during which they can change to another Medicare Part D prescription drug plan at any time throughout the year.

Some people receive Medicare Part D Extra Help automatically because they qualify for Medicaid, belong to a Medicare Savings Program, or receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). However, if a person no longer automatically qualifies for Extra Help in 2013, CMS will send a grey-colored “Loss of Deemed Status” letter in September notifying the Medicare beneficiary that they may need to reapply for their 2013 Extra Help benefits. To help these people keep their Extra Help benefits, CMS will also include an application for Extra Help along with the grey-colored letter and encourages Medicare beneficiaries to complete the application for the 2013 Extra Help program based on their income and resource limits. Unfortunately, if these Medicare beneficiaries do not proactively reapply for Extra Help, they may lose their Extra Help benefits in 2013.

In addition, each year the Social Security Administration reviews the eligibility of selected low-income Medicare beneficiaries who are receiving financial Extra Help. In early-September, the Social Security Administration will send letters to select Medicare beneficiaries who qualified for the 2012 Extra Help program and ask that the recipient completes and returns a new income and resources form to ensure that the beneficiary is still eligible for the 2013 Extra Help program. Unfortunately, again, if a person does not complete and return the income and resources form to the Social Security Administration within 30 days, or ask for an extension, the beneficiary could lose their Extra Help benefits for 2013.

“We also want to remind all Medicare beneficiaries that the Medicare Part D Extra Help income and basic resource limits increased slightly this year, making it easier for some people to qualify for the Extra Help program and receive financial assistance with the purchase of their prescription drugs,” notes Dr. Susan Johnson, Technical Director and co-founder of Q1Group LLC. “To help people learn about the Extra Help program and qualifying for Extra Help, we have added more information online about the recently updated income and resource limit changes that can be found at Q1Medicare.com/LIS.”

In addition, all Medicare Part D beneficiaries are reminded that their Medicare Part D prescription drug plan can change monthly premiums, co-payments, and specific drug coverage each year. Therefore, all Medicare Part D beneficiaries should be prepared to review their 2013 Medicare Part D plan options and, if necessary, change their plan during the 2013 annual Open Enrollment Period that begins on Monday, October 15, 2012 and continues through Friday, December 7, 2012.

The details of the 2013 Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans should be available in late-September or early-October and Q1Medicare.com now offers a free 2013 eMail reminder service to keep Medicare beneficiaries informed as the 2013 Medicare plan information becomes available. The reminder services can found directly at Q1Medicare.com/RemindMe.

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 offers a large selection of Frequently Asked Questions, online tools, and a free Medicare Part D Newsletter all designed to help Medicare beneficiaries, healthcare professionals, advocates, advisers, caregivers, and insurance agents better understand both the Medicare Part D prescription drug and Medicare Advantage programs. Q1Medicare.com is operated by Q1Group LLC (Saint Augustine, Florida).

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Lynnea Christner

Susan Johnson MS-MIS, MBA, PhD
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