Drug Discount Cards: 2005
WebMD Medical Reference
What is it?
Until the end of 2005, anyone enrolled in Medicare
can apply for an interim drug discount card.
- The discount card is intended to save you
10% to 25% on prescription drugs.
- Not all drugs will be covered, and savings on
each drug will vary.
- Where you can use the card will vary. They will
be valid only at certain pharmacies. Some will be limited to one or more
states. Others will be valid nationwide.
- The discount card program is temporary. It will
help you cover prescription costs until the new Medicare prescription drug
program starts in January
If you are not receiving Medicaid, you may qualify
for a yearly credit on the card to help pay for
prescriptions. Single people who make $12,919 a year or
less, and married couples with an annual income of
$17,320 or less are eligible.
If you applied by March 2005, you received the full
$600 credit. After that month, the later you apply, the
smaller the credit. People who applied between April 1
and June 30 received a $450 credit; those who apply
between July 1 and September 30 will get a $300 credit;
people who apply between October 1 and December 31 will
get a $150 credit.
- If you meet this condition, your enrollment fee
is also waived.
- The cost of the prescription, minus your
co-payment, is applied to the credit.
|Less than $9,570 (single) or $12,830 or
|Up to $12,920 (single) or $17,321 (married)
- You can use this credit either until May 15,
2006 or until you sign up for a Medicare
Prescription Drug Plan, whichever comes first..
After this point, any remaining credit you have
Discount Cards and Other Coverage
- You may get a discount card if you have a
Medicare managed-care plan, also known as Medicare Advantage (formerly
Medicare + Choice.) It may come to you through your plan. If you qualify for
the credit, you will get that through your plan, but you will need to ask your
plan for the application for that credit.
- You can use the Medicare-approved card in
addition to your state's pharmacy assistance program and any other drug
discount card. This includes cards being offered by drug makers, such as
Together Rx, GlaxoSmithKline Orange Card, and LillyAnswers. However, generally
you cannot combine discounts from these programs. You can use whichever card
or program offers you the best price on the medications you are buying. Also,
some of the pharmaceutical companies offering these cards may discontinue them
once the new Medicare drug benefit starts in 2006.
- You can get a discount card even if you already
have Medigap coverage.
- If you might qualify for the low-income
credit, you must enroll by December 31, 2005.
How Do I Get One?
If you want a discount card, you will buy it from a
private company authorized to sell it. The U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services has approved a
number of companies to sponsor the discount cards.
- The fee to enroll will be no more than $30.
- You can buy a card until Dec. 31, 2005.
To find out more, see the
Prescription Drug and Other Assistance Programs page
on the Medicare website.
Reviewed by Cynthia Haines, MD, August 2005.
SOURCES: Centers for Medicare and
Medicaid Services. Medicare.gov web site. National Council on the Aging web site.
© 2005 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.
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Last Editorial Review: 12/9/2005