There will be no late enrollment penalties in 2007 for people who qualify for extra help and enroll in the Medicare prescription drug plan. This was announced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency that administers the Medicare prescription drug plan.
Initially, Medicare beneficiaries who qualified for the extra help had until Dec. 31, 2006, to enroll in a prescription drug plan without having to pay a late enrollment penalty. But now, for all of 2007, the penalty will be waived.
If you think you may be eligible for the extra help, you are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. The extra help could be worth an average of $3,700 per year.
If your annual income is below $15,315 for an individual ($20,535 for a married couple living together), and your resources are limited to $11,710 for an individual ($23,410 for a married couple living together), you may qualify for extra help with your monthly premiums and deductibles.
If you plan to apply for the extra help, the easiest and most convenient way is to go online. Just visit www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp/ and select the "Apply for help" link. You also can apply over the phone by calling us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
If you prefer to complete the paper application, you can call the same number to request that we mail one to you, or stop by your local Social Security office to pick one up.
To learn more about the Medicare prescription drug plans and special enrollment periods, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227; TTY 1-877-486-2048) or visit www.medicare.gov. Medicare also can tell you about agencies in your area to help you with Medicare prescription drug plans.