Medicare beneficiaries may qualify for a program called Low Income Subsidy (LIS) which helps with the costs of their prescription drugs. This program is also known as Extra Help, and the Social Security Administration along with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services work together to provide this benefit.
People who are enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid will automatically get Extra Help and therefore do not need to sign up. Anyone else can apply through Social Security to see if they qualify to receive Extra Help. Qualifications are based on income and assets.
What are the benefits?
The amount of Extra Help someone receives is based on their income and resources (assets). You can receive either a full subsidy or a partial subsidy. Depending on your subsidy level, you will pay:
- No premiums
- No deductibles
- Lower co-payments for prescriptions your plan covers
Additionally, if you have Extra Help you receive a continuous special enrollment period where you can join or switch your Medicare Part D drug plan any time of year. In other words, you do not need to wait for the Annual Enrollment Period (October 15 – December 7) to change plans.