Kaiser Health News, January 5, 2011

More than 2 million Medicare beneficiaries have failed to sign up for a program that could save them thousands of dollars a year in drug costs despite government mailings, ads and even pitches from rock and roll legend Chubby Checker. The subsidy program, called Extra Help, can provide significant savings on the cost of Part D prescription drug coverage for low-income Medicare beneficiaries. The government estimates Medicare recipients can save an average of $3,900 a year. The subsidy, which began in 2006, helps reduce prescription drug premiums, co-pays and deductibles and plugs the "doughnut hole" or gap in coverage that starts when beneficiaries exceed $2,840 in total drug costs.

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