Getting help with Medicare costs

Many individuals with Medicare find themselves struggling to pay the various costs associated with monthly premiums or prescription drugs. Fortunately, there are a number of different programs available to help.

Medicare Savings Program

The Medicare Savings Program (MSP), or Medicare Buy-in, is a program to help with paying Medicare premiums. There are three different programs you may be qualified for based on your income and assets. These programs are administered through the State of Alaska Division of Public Assistance. If you think you may be eligible for one of these cost-assistance programs, please reach out to the Division of Public Assistance. The Medicare Information Office is also able to help screen you for eligibility and assist with filling out the application.

Extra Help

Extra Help is a program administered through the Social Security Administration and is designed to help with the cost of Part D prescription drug plans. There are different levels of help you can be qualified for at a 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% subsidy. If you are qualified for the full amount of Extra Help, you will not have to pay a Part D monthly premium or deductible if you are enrolled in participating Part D plans. If you qualify for Medicaid or the Medicare Savings Program, you will automatically qualify for Extra Help. You can apply by going to, calling Social Security, or by calling the Medicare Information Office.

There are many assistance programs available. If you think that these two programs do not meet your assistance needs, call the Medicare Information Office for a personalized counseling and we can see if there are other programs you may be eligible for.

Colton T. Percy is a Certified Medicare Counselor and the Volunteer Coordinator for the Alaska Medicare Information Office. If you have questions about Medicare or are interested in volunteering and helping your fellow Alaskans navigate Medicare, please call 1-800-478-6065.