NEW Drug Benefits in 2006 for Low-Income Iowans Receiving Medicare
Authored By: Legal Hotline for Older Iowans
Beginning in January 2006, the new Medicare Part D Drug Program will go into effect. This program is optional. It is available to anyone who gets Medicare and signs up. Most people will have to pay monthly premiums of about $35. There is also a $250 annual deductible and 25% initial co-payments. Some Iowans, however, will be eligible for "Extra Help"! This Extra Help includes lower or eliminated premiums, deductibles and co-payments. You can get Extra Help if you are getting Medicare and also get Medicaid benefits like Elderly Waiver, Medicaid for Employed Persons With Disabilities and Medically Needy.
You can also be eligible for Extra Help if you have low income and low assets. A single individual must have annual income less than $14,355. Countable assets must be below $10,000. A couple must have annual income of less than $19,245 and countable assets below $20,000.
Enrolling for Extra Help under the new Medicare Part D program is a two step process:
First, beginning July 1, 2005, you need to apply for Extra Help by contacting your local Social Security or Iowa Department of Human Services office.
Second, you must select a Part D plan between November 15, 2005 and May 15, 2006. Some people will be automatically enrolled in a Part D plan. If that happens, notice will be provided about how to go back to what the person had before the change, or to switch to some other plan.
Details about the Medicare Part D program will be mailed to people who get Medicare during summer and fall of 2005. If you are on Medicare but are not eligible for Extra Help, you can apply for the regular Medicare Part D Drug Program beginning November 15, 2005. If you have questions about this new Medicare program, call the Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) at (800) 351-4664. You may also contact your local Social Security or Iowa Department of Human Services office. You may also call the Hotline for Older Iowans at (800) 992-8161.