Getting Help with Paying for Prescription Drugs

Are you having difficulty paying for your prescription drugs? If you meet certain income and resource limits, you may be eligible for Medicare’s Extra Help program, which could save you up to thousands of dollars per year on your prescription drug costs.

An article in Kaiser Health News estimated that more than two million Medicare beneficiaries who would qualify for Extra Help are not taking advantage of the program. The article referenced a study commissioned by the Kaiser Family Foundation that found that 2.3 million Medicare beneficiaries who were eligible for the Extra Help program had not applied.

According to Medicare, for most people who qualify for the Extra Help program, drug costs in 2011 will be no more than $2.50 for each generic and $6.30 for each brand-name for covered drugs. Others pay only a portion of their Medicare drug plan premiums and deductibles based on their income level.

To see if you might qualify for Extra Help or any of Medicare’s other cost-saving programs, go to  http://www.medicare.gov/navigation/medicare-basics/ medical-and-drug-costs.aspx .

To apply for Extra Help online, go to https://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/i1020/main.html  or call Social Security at 800/772-1213 to apply by phone or to request a paper application.

To read about other ways to lower your drug costs, go to www.medicare.gov/health-and-drugs/bridging-the-coverage-gap.aspx.

AARP: Prepare to Care

A Planning Guide for Families

Today, 30 million households are providing care for an adult over the age of 50-and that number is expected to double over the next 25 years. If you have not yet begun to discuss a caregiving plan with your family, it’s not too late. It doesn’t matter who starts the conversation. What really matters is that every family has the opportunity to talk about and create a caregiving plan for their loved ones based on the needs and wishes of those who will be receiving the care.

The AARP Foundation’s Prepare to Care: A Planning Guide for Families, Each of the following five steps available for download below in PDF format (requires free Adobe Reader), includes information on how to get started, questions to ask and where to find basic resources. It also includes forms that you and your caregiving team can fill out and keep on file, so that you will have all the pertinent information about your loved one and his/her financial affairs, health needs, household matters, and more in one place. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t answer every question or fill in every blank. The important thing is to start the conversation in a way that works for you and your family.

The comprehensive guide is divided into five steps:

Step 1: Prepare to Talk
Step 2: Form Your Team
Step 3: Assess Needs
Step 4: Make a Plan
Step 5: Take Action

Click here to read more or to download the guide from AARP.org.