If you have Medicare and you’re having trouble paying for prescription drugs, signing up for Medicare’s Part D prescription drug coverage may help, even if you have to pay a late-enrollment penalty.
There are other ways you may be able to save. Visit the Medicare Plan Finder at www.Medicare.gov/find-a-plan for information on ways to save money in your drug plan. Or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) and ask the customer service representatives.
You also may be able to lower your Medicare prescription drug costs by exploring national- and community-based programs that might help you with your drug costs, such as the National Patient Advocate Foundation or the National Organization for Rare Disorders. Get information on federal, state, and private assistance programs on the Benefits Check Up website at www.benefitscheckup.org.
The help you get from some of these programs may count toward your true out-of-pocket (TrOOP) costs. TrOOP costs are the expenses that count toward your Medicare drug plan out-of-pocket expenses—up to $4,950 in 2017. These costs determine when your catastrophic coverage will begin.
You also can look into Manufacturer’s Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs (sometimes called Patient Assistance Programs) offered by the makers of the drugs you take. Many major drug manufacturers offer assistance for people enrolled in a Medicare drug plan. Find out whether the manufacturers of the drugs you take offer assistance by visiting Medicare.gov/pharmaceutical-assistance-program or calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048. Such assistance programs aren’t part of Medicare Part D, so any help you get from this type of program won’t count toward your TrOOP costs.
If you have Medicare and have limited income and resources, you may qualify for Extra Help. To apply for Extra Help, contact Social Security by visiting socialsecurity.gov/i1020 or by calling 1-800-772-1213. TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778.