All Medicare beneficiaries, except those who have outpatient drug coverage through Medicaid, can now enroll in a Medicare-approved drug discount card program which became effective in June. Card sponsors may charge an annual enrollment fee of no more than $30, though many cards have lower fees and some have no fee. Those with lower incomes may be eligible for a $600 credit towards the costs of medications.
Although the process may be a little confusing, you can compare enrollment fees and other features offered by the drug cards at www.medicare.gov or by calling (800) MEDICARE (800-633-4277).
You can also compare the prices of drugs being charged at your local pharmacy and find out which cards the pharmacies honor. The card sponsors provide the pricing and pharmacy information to CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) and that information is updated weekly.
Call volume has been high, so be patient. Medicare advises that the best times to call are before 9:00 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m. See Clearinghouse for additional information on the new prescription drug coverage.
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