Nevada County health tip: Do you qualify for Extra Help? | SierraSun.com

Nevada County health tip: Do you qualify for Extra Help?

Special to the Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Every dollar counts when it comes to Medicare prescription drug costs. People with limited income and resources may qualify for Extra Help and not even know it.

The Extra Help program provides financial assistance for Medicare beneficiaries with Part D prescription drug coverage. Individuals with annual incomes below $16,335 ($22,065 for married couples) and financial resources less than $12,640 ($25,260 for married couples) may qualify for zero premiums, zero deductibles, and reduced co payments for both generic and brand-name drugs.

Others may qualify for a partial subsidy, and while they wonand#8217;t have and#8220;zero,and#8221; will have reduced premiums, deductibles and co-payments. Donand#8217;t disqualify yourself by not trying: Extra Help.

Financial resource limits do not include the home you live in (even if you own it), one vehicle, or personal possessions.

Call the HelpLine at 530-273-2273 to complete an

application over the phone: Itand#8217;s that simple. Before you call, please know:

and#8226; Your social security number and the exact name on your card

and#8226; The amount of income you receive monthly from Social Security (before deductions)

and#8226; The amount of any pensions, annuities, or other income

and#8226; The total amount you currently have in savings, checking, investment, or IRA accounts

and#8226; Any real estate you own other than your home

and#8226; You automatically qualify for Extra Help if you have full Medi-Cal coverage, have met your Medi-Cal share of cost for one month, or receive supplemental security income. People enrolled in Medicare savings plans that pay their Part B premiums also automatically qualify.

Warning! Donand#8217;t lose retiree benefits

If you have drug coverage as a retiree benefit, do not apply for Extra Help before checking with the company that processes your retiree benefits. Signing up for Extra Help may cause some people to lose their retiree coverage. Have other questions or problems related to Medicare? HICAP (Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program) provides unbiased information and assistance for Medicare beneficiaries, including longterm care insurance. All services are free and confidential, with counseling sites

in both Truckee and Grass Valley.

To make an appointment with a HICAP counselor or to apply for the Extra Help program, please call HelpLine at 530-273-2273 between 9 a.m. and

4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

and#8212; Karin Hofland, Nevada County Regional Coordinator, Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program