/publications/issue/2004/2004-06/2004-06-8006

News on Drug Discount Cards

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Introducing Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Cards

Good news?a new law gives people with Medicare the power to start saving on prescription drugs right now.

Medicare is contracting with private companies to offer Medicare-approved drug discount cards. You can choose one of the discount cards offered by these private companies, to help you save on outpatient prescription drugs. All discount cards approved by Medicare will have this seal:

Seal

Better news?if you have a lower income that makes it hard to pay for your prescription drugs, you might get extra help. If in 2004 your annual income is

you might qualify for a $600 credit on the Medicare-approved drug discount card you choose. You can use that credit right away to help pay for your prescription drugs.

Whether you qualify for the $600 credit will depend on whether you meet the income limits shown above and whether you already receive outpatient prescription drug coverage from certain other sources. Even if your income is higher, you can still choose a Medicare-approved drug discount card to save money.

Do I have to enroll in a Medicare-approved drug discount card?

No, these discounts cards are voluntary. That means enrolling is your choice. If you want to enroll, contact the company offering the card you choose.

To get help comparing your options and to find out more about how to enroll:

Who can get one of these discount cards?

Almost anyone with Medicare can get a discount card. The only people who aren't eligible are those who have outpatient prescription drug coverage through Medicaid when they apply.

When can I get a card? You can enroll in a Medicare-approved drug discount card as early as May 2004. The discount cards will be good until at least December 31, 2005, when Medicare's new prescription drug benefit starts.

Is there only one Medicare-approved drug discount card I can get?

No. A choice of more than one discount card is available. Medicare can help you compare your options before you choose a card. Private companies might also send you information about the Medicare-approved drug discount card they are offering. You can only enroll in one Medicare-approved drug discount card each calendar year. If you are a member of a Medicare managed care plan, contact your plan about discount card options for members.

How much does it cost to enroll?

Usually, you need to pay an annual enrollment fee of no more than $30. You don't pay any enrollment fee if you qualify for the $600 credit.

Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

For More Information

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
7500 Security Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21244
1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)
www.medicare.gov

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