Seniors and disabled citizens will receive more access to the Medicare Extra Help Program as of the beginning of 2024, the federal government announced. This expansion of benefits could enable up to 3 million people to reduce their prescription drug costs.
What Is the Medicare Extra Help Program?
The Medicare Extra Help Program assists older adults and people with disabilities who have trouble paying their Medicare Part D premiums. Note that you are automatically eligible for Extra Help if you:
- receive Medicaid coverage,
- are enrolled in a Medicare Savings Program, or
- receive Supplemental Security Income.
The program was expanded through the Inflation Reduction Act, which President Biden signed in August 2022, by increasing the income limit to 150 percent of the poverty level ($21,870 for an individual and $45,000 for a family of four). When the program expands at the beginning of 2024, 300,000 participants will go from partial to full benefits. That means they will not have to pay a premium or deductible, and they will have lower, fixed co-payments on certain medications.
Expanding Access to the Program
The government estimates that nearly 3 million people who could benefit from the program are not currently enrolled. The Department of Health and Human Services will activate government agencies to increase participation. The Administration for Community Living will reach out to underserved and rural communities, while the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will provide an outreach toolkit for community organizations and beneficiary advocates.
Those who participate in the Medicare Extra Help Program could save nearly $300 per year.
Where Do I Apply for Extra Help?
To apply for Extra Help, you can visit the Social Security Administration’s dedicated webpage for more information, support, and an online application.