Edward Cates, Chairman of the Board, TSCL
Looking for an extra $300 next year? Beneficiaries participating in the Medicare Extra Help program in 2024 can look forward to an estimated $300 in extra savings on drug costs as the program expands to include an estimated 3 million more beneficiaries whose income may be slightly too high to qualify in 2023. Under new legislative changes supported by a large majority of TSCL survey participants, Medicare recipients — whose incomes are between 135% and 150% of the federal poverty level, may qualify for full Medicare Extra Help benefits beginning January 1, 2024.
Medicare Extra Help is the program that helps people with modest and low incomes pay for Medicare drug coverage costs. In 2024, everyone who qualifies for Medicare Extra Help will pay:
- $0 for your Medicare drug plan premium
- $0 for your drug plan deductible
- And reduced co-pays for both generic and brand-name drugs.
People who get any level of Medicare Extra Help now (full or partial benefits) and who meet the qualifications will receive full benefits automatically in 2024. To qualify, the income limit is based on your income from the previous year.
- Your annual income must be below $21,870 for an individual or $29,580 for a married couple in 2023.
- Resources) must be below $16,600 for an individual or $33,240 for a married couple in 2023. Resources include money in checking, savings or retirement accounts, stocks, and bonds. However, some resources are not counted, such as a home, one car, burial plots, up to $1,500 in burial expenses (if put aside), furniture, and other household and personal items.
How to apply for Medicare Extra Help:
- Visit the Social Security website and apply online at: https://www.ssa.gov/medicare/part-d-extra-help.
- Call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. TTY users can call 1-800-325-0778.
When you apply, the Social Security Administration will review your application and send you a letter if you qualify for Extra Help. Once approved, you will have a Special Enrollment Period to choose a Medicare drug plan. To receive coverage, you must enroll in a Medicare prescription drug Part D plan or a Medicare Advantage plan that covers your prescription drugs.
Counseling is available through state health insurance assistance programs (SHIP) — https://www.shiphelp.org — to help you:
- compare coverage based on the drugs you currently use,
- evaluate and understand your options,
- and switch to new drug and Medicare Advantage plans.
To learn more, visit the Medicare website: https://www.medicare.gov/basics/costs/help/drug-costs.
How much do you spend each month on essentials? Please take TSCL’s 2023 Retirement Survey and let us know!