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Helping with Medicare a gift of love
By MARYANN STURMFELS
Published June 15, 2007
On Father's Day, we celebrate the special men in our lives. There are a number of ways you can show someone you love how much you care.
This year, while you're watching the ball game or spending some quality time together, tell that special someone about something that can really make a difference.
If your dad is a senior, tell him how to get extra help with his Medicare prescription drug costs.
The high cost of medicine can be a burden on your loved ones who have limited income and resources. Extra help - available through Social Security - can pay part of their monthly premiums, annual deductibles and prescription copayments. The extra help could be worth more than $3, 300 per year.
To figure out whether your dad is eligible, Social Security needs to know your loved one's income and the value of savings, investments and real estate, other than the home where he lives.
To qualify for the extra help, he must be receiving Medicare and have income limited to $15, 315 for an individual or $20, 535 for a married couple living together. Even if the annual income is higher, your loved ones still may be able to get some help with monthly premiums, annual deductibles and prescription copayments.
Some examples where income may be higher include if he or his spouse support other family members who live with them, have earnings from work or live in Alaska or Hawaii; and have resources limited to $11, 710 for an individual or $23, 410 for a married couple living together. Resources include such things as bank accounts, stocks and bonds. The agency does not count their house and car as resources.
Social Security has an easy-to-use online application that anyone - family members, friends, caregivers - can complete. You can find it at www.socialsecurity.gov. To apply by phone or get an application, call Social Security toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and ask for the application for help with Medicare prescription drug plan costs (SSA-1020). Or go to the nearest Social Security office for assistance.
To learn more about the Medicare prescription drug plans and special enrollment periods, visit www.medicare.gov or call toll-free 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227; TTY 1-877-486-2048).
So this Father's Day, give someone you care about something special: the peace of mind that comes with knowing extra help is available with Medicare prescription drug costs. Then go one step further: Help them apply. There is no better way to show how much you care.
Today, and always, we at Social Security honor those who serve by serving them.
Maryann Sturmfels is social insurance specialist in the Social Security Administration's district office in Port Richey, which covers Pasco and Hernando counties.
[Last modified June 15, 2007, 07:13:01]
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