"Seniors and people with disabilities with limited incomes will be able to see big savings of between 29 and 77 percent on brand drugs and up to 92 percent on generics when they combine the lower prices they will be paying for their medicines with the $1200 credit available to them over the next year and a half," Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said. "This means for low-income beneficiaries now is the time to sign up for a discount card to get the most out of the discounts available."
"It's especially important for beneficiaries with low incomes who are struggling with the costs of drugs and other basic necessities to find out about the Medicare-approved drug cards and enroll soon," said CMS Administrator Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D. "By combining the $600 credit with the drug discounts, plus additional drug discounts on many medications, seniors and people with disabilities who need help the most will see big savings. And enrollment is free."
All people with Medicare who do not receive prescription drug coverage through Medicaid are eligible for a Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Card. Medicare beneficiaries whose incomes are below 135 percent of the federal poverty limit ($12,569 for singles and $16,862 for married couples) are eligible for the $600 credit. The savings of 29 to 77 percent off the average retail price for name brand drugs can be realized when Medicare beneficiaries combine the lower cost.
By using both the drug discount cards and the $600 credit, seniors and people with disabilities can see savings of as much as 92 percent for generic drugs, which are generally less expensive.
The drug discount cards can be especially helpful to these beneficiaries who do not have drug coverage through Medicaid by:
Approximately 20 states have existing state programs that provide drug benefits to low-income beneficiaries and another 12 states have discount cards. Many of these beneficiaries will be eligible for the $600 credit. Four states provide drug coverage in partnership with CMS through Medicaid "Pharmacy Plus" programs, but because this is Medicaid coverage, these individuals will not be eligible for the drug card. Beneficiaries can obtain information on more than 100 such manufacturer programs through 1-800-MEDICARE or on the Web at http://www.medicare.gov/.