You Need to Know About Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Cards
Medicare-approved drug discount cards offer
discount cards are offering you competitive prices for your
on brand-name drugs range from 16 to over 30 percent off
usual retail prices and 11½ to 17 percent off the average
retail prices (including the retail discounts that many
people with drug coverage receive), with significantly
larger discounts available on mail-order drugs. Savings for
generic drugs are even larger, ranging between 30 to 60
percent or more.
If you are enrolled in Medicare you are
eligible to enroll in a Medicare-approved drug discount
unless you receive outpatient prescription drugs through
Medicaid. If you are getting real help with your drug
costs from other sources - like retiree insurance,
Medigap coverage, or health plan benefits — you don't
need to do anything. If you are struggling with high
drug prices, it's worth finding out more.
If you have a limited income and you do not
have drug coverage, you can get even more help.
If your monthly income in 2004 is no more than $1,047 if
you are single or no more than $1,404 if you are
married, you might qualify for a $600 credit on the
Medicare-approved drug discount card. You can also get
another $600 credit for 2005. In addition, you might
qualify for additional, larger discounts from many drug
Signing up for a Medicare-approved drug
discount card is voluntary. You can sign up any time
this year and there's no deadline or late enrollment
penalty. Enrollment started on May 3, 2004. Sign up in
May 2004 to get the benefits when the program begins in
June 2004. If you have a limited income, you should
look into the program now. Enrolling before June means
that you can get the full benefit of the discounts and
the financial assistance with drug costs.
Enrollment forms for the Medicare-approved drug discount
cards are available on
www.medicare.gov or by calling1-800-MEDICARE. We
will mail you a Medicare-approved drug discount card
enrollment form, if you request it. If you qualify, we will
send you the enrollment form to apply for the $600 credit.
Card fees are low. The maximum card fee is $30 per year, but many cards have lower fees
or no fee.
choose a card, you can send your completed enrollment forms
to the company offering the Medicare-approved drug discount
card you want. You will usually get your drug discount card
within one week. You can start using your card on the first
day of the next month. If you want to change to another
Medicare-approved drug discount card for 2005, you can make
a different choice from mid-November until the end of
Simple Steps to Get A Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Card
people have different drug needs and prefer to get their
medicines in different ways. To compare cards and decide
which Medicare-approved drug discount card is best for you,
contact Medicare for help — either by calling 1-800-MEDICARE
www.medicare.gov or contacting your local State
Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). If you visit
www.medicare.gov, you can use our
Price Compare tool to help choose your card or you
can download our Guide to Choosing a Medicare-Approved
Drug Discount Card for more information.
always talk to a live person at 1-800-MEDICARE to get the
facts you need. To better serve you when you contact us,
have the following information ready:
Your ZIP code,
Your medicines and doses (you can find this
information on your pill bottles), and
Your total monthly income (if you are interested in
the additional financial help available for people with
Medicare who have lower incomes).
narrow your discount card choices, you can also tell us your
preferred pharmacy, whether you are interested in low-cost
or no-cost cards, and the names of any specific cards you
want more information about.
call 1-800-MEDICARE, we will send you a personalized
brochure that allows you to look at discount cards based on
your drug needs and your preferences about how to get your
medicines. You can use this personalized information to
Look at the prices being offered for all of your
Look at the annual enrollment fee charged by card
sponsors that provide the best prices on your drugs, and
Look at the pharmacies that accept the discount card
to make sure your preferred pharmacy is included.
also send you a simple enrollment form and tell you how to
contact the card sponsors directly for additional
information or to enroll.
for information about the Medicare-approved drug discount
cards are at an all-time high. We have increased the number
of customer service representatives from 1,200 to 1,800 at
the Medicare call centers to make sure we can respond to
every one of your calls. We are taking other steps to help
reduce your call time and to use our
web site more easily. The best times for you to call to
get the shortest waiting time are after 6:00 p.m. EST and
before 6:00 a.m. EST. The best days to call are Thursday,
Friday and Sunday.
GLF NOTE: There have
already been several "glitches" with this system; for
instance here in Charlottesville, Va., one of the authorized
handlers of the discount card has been closed for over 3
years. Stand by for more as we hear it!! Also,
feel free to write with any personal stories or information
YOU may have.
benefits shrinking and the price of medications constantly
rising (use any extra money to buy stock in pharmaceutical
companies!), the choice of eating or buying our medications
is no longer relegated to the elderly.
some places where you can find breaks on the prices of
prescription medications and over-the-counter needs. The
medications we have ordered have been identical the same as
those purchased at outrageously inflated pharmacy
are not available through these services yet, but at least
one of our members has gone from over $300 a month to less than $90 by using
these services and getting a 3-month supply rather than a
month's supply of my meds.
a prescription from your doctor to mail or have the doctor
fax in. It is then rewritten by the company's doctor,
filled, and shipped to you. The medications can usually have
refills built in, making reordering easy. Most require a
credit or debit card.
the information from the web site with you to your doctor
along with our recommendation so the doctor can see this is
on the up and up. Our single member who has used these
services has only used drugstore.com
and Canada Pharmacy, so can only personally vouch for those
two, but most operate the same.
Drugstore.com - a
United States facility, slightly higher than Canada Pharmacy
- the medications are the same as those sold in the U.S. and
prices are lower. They also have more variety and choice of
quantity and dosage.
Assistance - Alphabetical listing of pharmacies with
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