MIPPA information

ASHE COUNTY — As the Medicare Open Enrollment period approaches, The High Country Area Agency on Aging received a Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act grant again this year to share information about Extra Help — subsidies for low income individuals to help pay for Medicare prescription drug plan costs.

The HCAAA, working in conjunction with Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program offices in its service area, serves Ashe, Alleghany, Avery, Watauga, Mitchell, Wilkes and Yancey counties, helping to spread awareness about the availability of low income subsidies.

During Medicare Open Enrollment, which will take place between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7, SHIIP volunteers are available at Ashe Services for Aging, the county’s senior center, to provide one-on-one counseling to help seniors choose the best supplemental prescription drug plan for them, according to MIPPA Grant Coordinator Diane Tilson.

In order to qualify for Extra Help subsidies, a person must be receiving Medicare and have limited resources and income, according to the U.S. Social Security Administration’s website.

For individual households, a person’s annual income must be less than $18,735 with combined savings, real estate and other assets totaling less than $14,390 in order to qualify for the subsidy, according to the HCAAA.

For married households, the annual income requirement is set at less than $25,365 with combined savings, real estate and other assets totaling less than $28,720 in order to qualify.

To apply, visit www.socialsecurity.gov or call Ashe County’s SHIIP counselor at (336) 246-4347.

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