Healthcare Educators


Low-Income Subsidies for Medicare

by | Jun 10, 2019

Medicare isn’t free. Although many Americans qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A, they still have to pay premiums for the other parts of Medicare, as well as deductibles and copays.

All of these out-of-pockets can add up, sometimes with disastrous effects. According to a study from Gallup, one in four Americans skip medical treatments due to cost. The good news is that, for many seniors, help is available in the form of low-income subsidies.

If you’re struggling to pay for health care, watch these videos to learn how to get some extra help.

Step 1: Complete your application.

Prescription costs alone can easily drain your savings. A low-income subsidy called Extra Help is available to assist with prescription drug costs. If you think this program could help you, the first step toward receiving assistance is completing an application. Watch this video (available in English and Spanish) to learn more about the application process.

English version:

Spanish version:

Step 2: Review your eligibility.

If your financial situation changes from year to year, the amount of Extra Help you qualify for may change as well. Social Security may conduct annual reviews to determine eligibility for the Extra Help program. Watch this video to learn more.

English version:

Spanish version:

Step #3: Understand your Medicare letters.

Medicare may send you a variety of notices to keep you informed about important changes and status updates. It’s important to read these letters, as some of them will require a response on your part. To make things easier for you, these notices are color-coded. The following videos provide more information about the common notices you might receive.

  • Orange notices: The Orange Notice provides information about changes in the low income subsidy for the following year. This video explains who will receive the letter, when they’ll receive it and what they should do next.

  • Purple notices: Some people automatically qualify for Extra Help based on their enrollment in other programs. If you automatically qualify for Extra Help, you will receive a purple notice. This means you don’t have to go through the application process to receive assistance. Watch this video to learn more.

  • Yellow notices: If you automatically qualify for Extra Help, you may be automatically enrolled in a prescription drug plan under certain circumstances. If this happens, you will receive a Yellow Notice. This video explains more about these letters and what you should do if you receive one.

  • Grey notices: Have you received a grey letter? This means that you have lost your automatic qualification for low income subsidies. If you receive this letter, it’s important to realize that you may still be able to receive Extra Help, but you’ll need to complete an application. Watch this video to learn more.

Step #4: Plan for your costs.

If you qualify for Extra Help, you will receive full or partial subsidies. There are four levels of low-income subsidies. Talk to a PTT Financial agent to see how much you will pay in premiums based on your level of Extra Help for 2019.