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Health and Human Services

Contacts: Kathy Barton
Porfirio Villarreal

AAA enrolling seniors in program assisting with prescription drug costs

The Harris County Area Agency on Aging (AAA) is now enrolling low-income seniors in Extra Help, a program that helps pay Medicare Part D prescription drug premiums, deductibles and co-payments.

AAA, a division of the Houston Department of Health and Human Services, estimates that about 5,600 seniors living in Harris County qualify for the program. Enrollees could see savings of up to $3,900 on prescription drug expenses per year.

AAA benefits counselors staffing a telephone bank are now helping seniors learn about Extra Help. The counselors guide seniors step-by-step through the program’s application process and file the application online with the Social Security Administration.

Applicants will need to provide their Medicare ID number and information about their income and assets to AAA benefit counselors. AAA will seek to enroll more than 800 seniors in Extra Help.

Benefits begin 30 to 45 days after enrollment.

Eligibility criteria include a total monthly income of less than $1,354 per month if single or $1,821 per month if married or living with a spouse. Assets must also total less than $12,510 if single and $25,010 for a married couple. Assets include savings, stocks and bonds, but not a home or a car.

Applying for Extra Help also starts the application process for Medicare Savings Programs—state programs that provide help with other Medicare costs. Those costs include premiums, deductibles and co-payments for medical insurance, known as Medicare Part B, and for hospital insurance, known as Medicare Part A.

For more information or to enroll in Extra Help, call 832-393-4301.

AAA plans, contracts and provides direct services for seniors age 60 or older throughout Harris County. Services AAA offers include nutrition services consisting of meals delivered either directly to homebound seniors or to congregate sites, transportation, legal assistance, preventive health services, instruction and training, ombudsman services and in-home support encompassing personal care and homemaker and respite assistance for frail seniors.