Health Care

What Are Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs?

Published by Hailey Ploski

Whether or not you are currently enrolled in Medicare, there are numerous state-level and federal-level prescription drug assistance programs designed to help make drug costs more affordable.

Why Are These Programs Critical?

One study found that, on average, seniors over the age of 65 spend 3% of their annual income on prescription medications. 43% of Social Security recipients count their monthly Social Security check as 90% or more of their income, which means that high drug prices can have tragic consequences. While Medicare Part D can cover some of the cost of prescription drugs for people also enrolled in Medicare, it requires a monthly premium in addition to the regular premium for Part B or Part C coverage. Certain Medicare plans with drug coverage can cut prescription costs, and other plans can cover the cost of your drugs up to the cost of your copay. However, that isn’t enough for everyone.

What Extra Help Can You Get?

The Social Security Administration offers a program called Extra Help. It’s designed to help the people who need it most, those with severely limited incomes, to cover the cost of Medicare Part D and additional costs. If you are married, your annual income must be below $24,360 and if you are single, it must be under $18,090. Your combined savings, real estate and investments must also be below $13,820 if you are single and below $27,600 if you are married.

You can be automatically qualified for the Extra Help program if you are already enrolled in Medicare and meet any of the below criteria:

  • You have help from your state Medicaid program to cover your Medicare Part B premiums
  • You have full Medicaid coverage
  • You receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits

A State assistance program is available in Maryland, but not in Virginia or Washington, D.C. If you do not qualify for the Extra Help program, that does not mean that you cannot receive any assistance! Maryland offers the:

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Secure Benefits Alliance is proud to be Medicare and dental care problem solvers for thousands of patients throughout the greater Baltimore area. There is no cost to use our services and take advantage of our wealth of Medicare knowledge. To have your Medicare or health insurance questions answered by our knowledgeable team, contact Secure Benefits Alliance today by calling 443-912-5467 (TTY: 711).