The Medicare Discount Drug Card - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/4/04

The Medicare Discount Drug Card

The big day is here. Eligible seniors can sign up for the Medicare drug discount card. Getting a card is easy. There are many companies that have contracted with Medicare to provide them. Choosing the best one for you may be more difficult, but don't fret, even if it isn't the best card for you, it will still probably save you money.

Who is eligible? Everyone over 65 or persons with disabilities who receive Medicare can get a discount card. People who already receive Medicaid drug benefits are excluded and should not apply.

Is it free? No. The card will cost you up to $30 depending on the card you select. This fee will be waived for low income seniors.

What will the card provide? For most people it will entitle you to a discount on the purchase of your medications. For low income seniors, it will also give them $600 toward the purchase of their prescriptions.

How do you qualify as a low income individual? If you income is below $12,569 for a single person or $16,862 for a married couple, you will get a card with a $600 credit available to you with which to buy your drugs.

Can I change to another company if I don't like the prices, service, etc.? Yes, you may switch providers once during the 18 months in which the card will be available.

How can I learn about the Medicare drug card? Either use your computer and go to: www.medicare.gov or www.aarp.org or call: 1-800-MEDICARE or 1-800-633-4227.

What if I already have a drug benefit through my retirement program? You should check with your insurance provider. The benefit you already receive may be better than you would receive with the Medicare discount card. You also have to do the math to compare the benefits of the different approved cards. The AARP website has a good worksheet you can use for comparison.

When can I start using the card? The card providers say that you will be able to use them in the month following your registration. Thus, if you register now, you can begin getting discounts in June.

Is it worth the bother to get one of these cards? If you do not have coverage for drugs at this time, it will probably be well worth your while. You will save 15% or more on each prescription. Even with the cost of the card (and that price varies from $19 to $30) you will save money. If you take several drugs, the savings will be even greater.

Conclusion? Don't expect the card to pay the entire bill. It will save you a percentage of the bill. The Medicare drug discount card could save you some money during the next 18 months before the entire program kicks in.

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