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Senior Citizen's Guide to Southwest Ohio

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Save on Prescription Drugs

Want to save money on your medications and Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage? Ohio Department of Insurance Director Mary Jo Hudson urges Ohioans with Medicare to check if they are eligible for the Low Income Subsidy (LIS) program. Also referred to as Extra Help, it helps people on Medicare pay for Part D plan premiums, deductibles and co-payments, saving an annual average of $3,900.

The Department's Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP), the Ohio Department of Aging, the Ohio Benefits Bank and local, state and national partners are helping eligible Ohioans enroll for the program. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, approximately 75,000 Ohioans could be eligible for Extra Help.

Some people with Medicare automatically qualify for Extra Help while others will need to be at or below certain income and resource levels.

An individual whose annual income is under $16,245 and who has less than $12,510 in resources may qualify. A married couple that lives together may qualify if their income is below $21,855 and they have less than $25,010 in resources.

Resources include bank accounts, stocks and bonds, but do not include your home, cars or other exempt assets. Effective in 2010, cash values on life insurance policies and financial support from family and friends will no longer count as income and resources in determining eligibility. These changes make it possible for even more Ohioans to qualify for Extra Help.

State leaders and advocates encourage all Ohioans to talk with friends and family on Medicare to see if they are aware of and may qualify for Extra Help.

People on Medicare who believe they may qualify, as well as those who have applied in the past and were turned down, should apply or re-apply. Consumers may apply in person at their local Social Security Administration (SSA) office or online at www.socialsecurity.gov. Ohioans can call OSHIIP at 1-800-686-1578, their area agency on aging at 1-866-243-5678, or the Ohio Benefit Bank at 1-800-648-1176 for more information and assistance.

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