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Medicare Financial Assistance

Updated on October 8, 2012

Medicare Assistance Programs

If you are having a tough time making it financially with Medicare alone, you should know about possible extra help services in your area. Extra Help is Medicare assistance that provides people with low income financial assistance (and other types of assistance) for things such as:

  • Medicare Prescription Drug Costs
  • Medicare Premiums
  • Medicare Premiums
  • Medicare Deductibles
  • Medicare Co-payments
  • Medicare Coinsurance

And More....

Medicare Extra Help

The amounts of Medicare financial assistance can change each year, and the amount of assistance you may qualify for is directly related to your income.

There are three basic forms of Medicare financial assistance that fall underneath the umbrella of Extra Help, they are” Low Income Subsidy (LIS); State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program (SPAP); and Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).

The breakdown below provides a brief summary of each of the three Medicare assistance programs

Three Basic Medicare Extra Help Programs

Low Income Subsidy (LIS)

LIS provides financial help with prescription drug plan costs. LIS assistance is extended to low income Medicare participants for help with premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, and co-payments.

LIS is a federal program, so if you move it will follow you from state to state.

To find out about LIS in your area, visit the Social Security Administration website.

State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program (SPAP)

SPAP also provides financial assistance with prescription drug plan costs, just like LIS, the assistance is meant to cover premiums, co-payments, deductibles and coinsurance.

SPAP is a state sponsored program, so eligibility differs by state and rules and standards can change in each service area. Unlike LIS, SPAP does not follow you from state to state.

To find out more information about SPAP in your area, please visit the Medicare website.

Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)

PACE vastly differs from the two other Medicare assistance programs. PACE provides long-term services to the elderly, helping them receive care at home rather than in an actual nursing home.

PACE offers a full suite of services that combines medical care with social care, long-term care, and prescription drug coverage.

In order to be eligible for PACE services, you must be 55 years of age or older, live in the service area of PACE organizations, and you must be able to live safely out in the community.

The program does not follow you from state to state, so if you move, you must re-qualify for a different PACE organization in your new service area. Please contact your Medicare SHIP counselor to get more information about these programs in your current area


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