As early as May 2004, almost anyone with Medicare will be eligible to enroll in the new Medicare-approved drug discount card program. The discount cards will be good until at least December 31, 2005, when Medicares new comprehensive prescription drug benefit starts.
A Medicare-approved drug discount card offers a discount off the full retail price of prescriptions. These cards may save you 10 - 15% on your total outpatient prescription drug costs and as much as 25% on certain drugs.
Almost everyone with Medicare can get a Medicare-approved drug discount card. It doesnt matter whether you have Original Medicare (Part A and/or Part B), a Medigap policy, a Medicare managed care plan, or another kind of Medicare health plan. The only people who can't enroll in a Medicare-approved drug discount card are those who already have outpatient drug coverage through Medicaid.
Look for the Medicare Seal
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 display a seal stating "MEDICARE Approved."
Even More Savings Possible
Depending on your financial situation, Medicare may have even better news for you. 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.
The annual enrollment fee for a Medicare-approved drug discount card will typically be no more than $30. Persons who qualify for the $600 credit will not be charged an enrollment fee.
Is there only one Medicare-approved drug discount card?
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.
Participation is Not Mandatory
Medicare does not require participation in the Medicare-approved drug discount card program. Enrolling is completely voluntary. If you do 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: