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Medicare alert: "Extra Help" for seniors

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An economic downturn is tough on everyone but none more so than seniors living on fixed incomes. To assist this vulnerable group, the federal government is offering subsidies to help seniors with the high cost of prescription drugs. Low-income seniors who are enrolled in a prescription drug plan are eligible for the program, known as Extra Help.

Seniors who qualify will enjoy a host of benefits, such as monthly premium assistance, yearly deductible assistance and co-payment assistance. The plan also features the ability to switch to another Medicare prescription plan at any time, no coverage gap and no late enrollment penalty.

Application to the plan is available on the Social Security Website, over the phone or in person at a Social Security office. Once application has been approved, seniors may select a Medicare prescription plan or wait for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to select one for them.