Medicare Drug Program Prescription Assistance for Extra Help

There is a new addition to the Medicare Drug Program.  Effective January 1, 2010, more than 1 million low-income seniors are no eligible for better prescription drug benefits under the “extra help program.”  Benefiting from the new law are those with life insurance policies and those who obtain assistance from relatives to help pay household expenses but were previously disqualified because of too many assets or too much income.  Income limits are $16,245 a year for singles and $21,855 for married couples living together.  Assets such as stock, bonds and bank accounts must be limited to $12,510 for singles and $25,010 for couples.  The value of homes and autos is excluded.  Under teh old law, applicants had to include the value of life insurance policies and income received on a regular basis from relatives and friends to help pay household expenses.  Seniors can apply for the program at socialsecurity.gov, your local social security office or by calling 1-800-772-1213.