Extra Help with the Medicare Prescription Drug Program

To date, more than 9 million people with Medicare who qualify for extra help are getting continuous prescription drug coverage from Medicare at low cost.

  • People who apply and are approved for the extra help can join a Medicare drug plan and pay no penalty between now and December 31, 2006.
  • This one-time enrollment opportunity allows people to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan right after they become eligible for the extra help.
  • There is no cost or obligation to apply for extra help, so anyone who thinks they may qualify should apply through Social Security.
  • Beneficiaries can apply for the extra help/LIS at any time.
  • The earlier beneficiaries apply for the extra help, the sooner they can take advantage of a benefit worth around $3,700 a year that pays for 95 percent of drug costs on average.
  • People who qualify for the full low-income subsidy get extra help to pay their full premiums and deductibles in certain plans and have minimal cost sharing.
  • Dual eligible beneficiaries (Medicare and Medicaid) who are institutionalized are totally exempt from cost sharing. They pay no premiums, no deductibles, no coinsurance, and no co-payments.