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Qualifying for Medicare can mean savings

For years you did your part by paying into Medicare. Now it's your turn to get the most out of the benefits you've earned. If you have limited income and resources, there's a Medicare program, administered by the Social Security office, where you pay no more than $2.40 for each generic drug and $6 for each brand name drug.

If you qualify, this program helps pay your prescription co-payments plus your other drug costs like monthly premiums and annual deductibles. Many people qualify and don't even know it.

Individuals who make less than $16,245 and married couples who make less than $21,855 may qualify to have lower Medicare prescription drug premiums, co-payments, and deductibles. To qualify, these individuals' resources must also be limited to $12,510 or $25,010 for married couples. Resources include things like bank accounts, stocks and bonds, but not your primary house or car.

Applying for this extra help program is free. Apply on-line at www.socialsecurity.gov ; call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778) and ask for the Application for Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs or call Office for the Aging (565-4620) for assistance in answering your questions and completing the application. All information provided in the application is confidential.

If you have a limited income, you know sometimes making ends meet means making tough decisions. That shouldn't mean going without your medications. Apply now to make sure you have the prescription drugs you need to stay healthy and keep doing what you love.

To learn more about Medicare prescription drug plans and when you can join, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227; TTY 1-877-486-2048) or visit www.medicare.gov. More information may also be obtained through the Clinton County Office for the Aging, 565-4620, or JCEO Senior Outreach Program, 561-6310.

The Senior Connection is a column provided by the Clinton County Office for the Aging. For more information about services for senior citizens, contact their office at 135 Margaret St., Suite 105, Plattsburgh or call them at 565-4620.

* This week's information courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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